Docker nets $40 million in funding, hopes to hook bigger fish: Enterprises

Developers and admins are already onboard; now Docker wants to lure enterprises with training and new features


Docker's been enjoying plenty of uptake in the enterprise, but now there's a new symbol of its success: dollar signs.

Specifically, it's getting around $40 million via a round of series-C funding led by Sequoia Capital. Docker raised $15 million in series-B funding back in January, with the money used to "push toward the general availability of the Docker environment, develop commercial services that pair with the open source technology, and build a team to support the growing community," as TechCrunch noted.

When asked what this new round of funding would represent for Docker, VP of marketing David Messina outlined several goals for the company, all revolving around one key concept: "To effectively deal with the overall demand within the Docker ecosystem."

"The idea is that given the size of the organization up to this point, we want to really maximize our ability to further prosper and grow the ecosystem that we have among the development community and the administrative community, our partners, and an increasing number of enterprise organizations that are interested in leveraging Docker," Messina explained in a phone interview. "The funding is ultimately to help the company scale to address all those constituents who are part of our ecosystem and make sure they're getting everything they need."

While Docker is a company of "less than 50 people," according to Messina (Crunchbase lists 10 team members, along with 11 board members and advisers), the Docker community "has been growing exponentially." Messina attributes this to the way Docker has helped enterprises reform their code processes; in fact, many enterprises are now contacting Docker and looking for ways to extend their use of the platform. "Organizationally, we need to have the resources to support them, and provide training, support, and so on," Messina said.

When asked about specific future improvements to Docker, Messina cautioned that while he didn't "run the product road map," he noted that at least one item on the agenda was a variant on the the Docker Hub Registry, the public repository of Docker containers. The current version of that platform is a cloud-based SaaS solution, but the company's working to create a product enterprises can use privately. No timetable for this has been announced yet, but Messina did say that it would be "something we will be investing in heavily."

With regard to the fundraising, Messina claimed it hasn't been hard for Docker to find people willing to invest. "The interest in the progression and evolution of Docker platform and ecosystem drew a lot of attention from the investment community," he stated, "and the company and the board made the decision that it made sense to take advantage of the interest."

Investors are interested in Docker, he said, because it's "part of this larger trend of taking technologies that were developed at some level within cloud-scale companies, and democratizing them so they can be used by all." While he couldn't comment specifically on the mechanics of the investment itself, he noted, "We had plenty more [investor] interest than was necessary."

"We want the opportunity to work with that ecosystem and foster it, whether it's human resources or extending the platform, in terms of the evolution and growth of the ecosystem."

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.