EngFlow, the well-funded build acceleration startup, today announced that it has invested in tipi.build. With this, EngFlow is teaming up with tipi to extend its services beyond support for build tools like Bazel, Goma and Soong to create a remote build service for CMake, the de facto standard for building C++ code. The two companies did not disclose the size of the investment.
EngFlow co-founder and CEO Helen Altshuler told me that she and her co-founder and CTO Ulf Adams (who were both instrumental in creating Bazel and the community around it) and EngFlow Chief Strategy Officer Rob Khedouri flew to Switzerland last year to meet with the tipi team, which is based in Switzerland.
“We have just discovered each other’s companies and instantly knew we should be working together, but not yet how,” Altshuler said. “The founders of Tipi, Damien [Buhl] and Yannic [Staudt], were a bit wary of us at first, ‘are they competitors or partners?’ We had a few sessions on tech and product, sharing — carefully — each company’s goals, product and tech — and after that, they decided to treat us to a walking tour of Zurich. So, Ulf, Rob and I spent the afternoon learning about the Swiss history and connecting with each other.”
Since it’s quite unusual for a startup at EngFlow’s stage to invest in other startups, I asked Adams, who noted that the teams actually met multiple times, if they had made that trip to see if they could potentially acquire tipi. The answer was a hearty laugh and no further comment, with tipi’s Buhl quickly jumping in to explain how the two companies quickly discovered how they could complement each other.
“We were raising a round with VCs,” Buhl said. “And at some point, Ulf came and say ‘yeah, what you’re doing is very cool.’ They came here when we were checking which term sheet to choose and we saw that there was true synergy. We are focused on CMake, C++ and native compile technology. We want to bring the parallelization of build forward and having a partner that can do the actual remoting in a very efficient way, that is going to be key to the success that we are seeking.”
Today, EngFlow and tipi are launching the first beta of a remote build execution service for CMake, CMake RE, that takes tipi’s advanced caching and code parsing service with automated dependency analysis and combines it with EngFlow’s expertise in cloud-based, distributed builds. On an individual developer’s laptop, compiling a large codebase can often take hours, slowing down the overall development process and wasting a developer’s time. CMake RE promises to speed up the process by around 10x.
“We’re really amazed by what EngFlow and tipi.build have accomplished with this beta, and as it matures, it has the promise of dramatically improving the productivity of teams building C and C++ code,” said Hursh Agrawal, co-founder of The Browser Company, the team behind the Arc browser. “CMake is an older build system with a large community of millions of developers, and remote execution with CMake is an important step to making these teams as productive as those using existing, world-class remote execution-based build systems.”