Railroad raises $20 million to streamline apps and services deployment process – gotechbusiness.com

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Railway, a startup building a custom software implementation platform for engineers, today announced it has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by Redpoint Ventures and angel investors including Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch and GitHub co-founder Tom Preston Werner. The capital brings Railway’s total raised amount to $24 million, which founder and CEO Jake Cooper says is being done to further expand Railway’s product with a focus on corporate customers.

Speaking to gotechbusiness.com, Cooper said he and the Railway founding team were inspired to launch the platform due to the lack of support tools for deploying apps. Cooper was previously a software engineer at Wolfram Alpha, Bloomberg and Uber before launching with Railway in 2020.

“When I first learned to code, building software was a magical experience. Fast forward ten years later, and every current iteration of infrastructure tooling requires deep infrastructure knowledge… and a fleet of DevOps engineers to push a simple app to production,” Cooper told gotechbusiness.com via email. “In our minds, both users and businesses will need better, more accessible tools for their engineering teams to act quickly and build category-defining products. Railway today empowers engineers to…automagically receive industry best practices for building and deploying apps.”

Traditional app development may require building architectural diagrams and merging services across public clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. In contrast, Cooper said, Railway provides a dashboard for building, deploying and monitoring apps and services, from a bird’s eye view or down to an individual level.

Image Credits: Railway

“In our minds, the biggest challenge the industry currently faces is ‘computing accessibility’. Compute is one of, if not the, most powerful tools available to humans. Current iterations of cloud infrastructure tooling trap this experience behind complicated yaml or unintuitive dashboards,” said Cooper. “Railway is building an engine to unleash the full potential of computing and make it accessible to any user, anywhere in the world. We see ourselves as a ‘next-generation cloud’ that works with the user rather than against it.”

Recently, Railway launched what it calls the “infinite shipping canvas”, which allows users to say what they want in natural language (e.g. “Give me a PostgreSQL database”, “Deploy this GitHub repo”) and get an active version of that infrastructure. Railway keeps track of the services and configurations under the hood and rearranges them based on infrastructure changes.

“Often it’s not even a question of ‘How expensive is it?’ but a question of ‘How many quarters does it take?’ Time is the currency of engineering teams and leaders, and so when it comes to ‘Why should your CTO/VP/Director care about this?’ our response is that Railway can cut your architectural implementation time from months to minutes,” said Cooper: “Railroad as a lifecycle management engine bridging the gap between development and production. In our ideal future, builders have the time to focus on their core products without worrying about their implementation.”

The traction of the railways is impressive to be sure. Cooper claimed Railway has been used by more than 50,000 developers, including AI-powered fire prevention service Fion Technologies, to launch more than 900,000 projects. User growth has increased by 30x in the past year and by 90% in the last month alone. And while Cooper didn’t disclose exact numbers, he said sales are growing 20% ​​to 50% each month.

Railway

Image Credits: Railway

“The platform now has more than 1,000 people on its developer and team plans, ranging from high-growth companies to indie developer hobby projects,” Cooper continued. “The pandemic has been a huge accelerator for companies looking for highly leveraged tools to increase the efficiency of managing their infrastructure. Collaboration and automation, things Railway excels at are key and so things like sample environments, linking directly to cloud logs and fully reproducible local experience using the command line are all things that have been hugely helpful in selling our business value as organizations move to going the cloud natively… Railroad is an incredibly powerful tool these days and we have only just scratched the surface of what we want to do.”

The San Francisco, California-based Railway has just eight people on its payroll. But with funding, the company plans to grow the team to 12 to 15 members by the end of the year, with an emphasis on technical roles.

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