From one day to the next, he became one of the richest Dutchmen this week: 42-year-old Sid Sijbrandij. This native from Twente is still unknown in the Netherlands, but he has an established name in Silicon Valley.
In San Francisco, Sijbrandij has been running his software company Gitlab since 2012, which went public in New York last Thursday. And with great success: usually new stocks move slightly after their introduction, but the fresh Gitlab share was so popular that it shot up 35 percent on the first trading day. And that while the introductory price of the share was ultimately a lot higher than previously announced: 77 dollars (66 euros), instead of between 66 and 69 dollars.
The share price also increased the assets of co-founder and CEO Sijbrandij, who owns almost a fifth of the shares, to 2.6 billion dollars. Of the more than 25 million shares he owned, he sold almost 2 million during the IPO.
Project in Ukraine
Gitlab originated in Ukraine, where Dmitriy Zaporozhets worked on a project to make it easier for programmers to collaborate. Sijbrandij tracked him down in 2012. „When I got up Hacker News was looking around,” he told a Gitlab user meeting two years ago. He thought it was “super impressive” what Zaporozhets was doing. So he sent an e-mail (“this looks promising”) and asked the Ukrainian if he had a website of the open sourcesoftware could make. Zaporozhets was fine with it, and Gitlab.com saw the light.
Sijbrandij, who is actually called Sytse and changed his name to the more international sounding Sid, had already had a long career: after studying industrial engineering at the University of Twente, he started working for the Dutch submarine builder U-boat in 2003. BoatWorx. After four years, he thought it was time to set up his own, and became co-founder of Comcoaster, an app store. In addition, he took a job at the Ministry of Justice. Until Gitlab came across his path in 2012.
In just a few years, Gitlab grew into a major provider of software that allows programmers to collaborate. It works with a kind of paywall: the first part is free, after that users have to take out a subscription.
Because things were not going fast enough for him in the Netherlands, Sijbrandij moved to Silicon Valley in 2015, where everything revolves around growth. “I like fast, that’s more interesting,” he says in the podcast deal makers.
In Silicon Valley, he also participated in Y Combinator, a famous accelerator in Silicon Valley. In other words: a ‘growth accelerator’, a program in which start-ups learn from experienced entrepreneurs.
Sijbrandij also mentions Y Combinator under the heading ‘Training’ on his LinkedIn page. „Not a formal education, best startup incubator in the world.” Sijbrandij is also lyrical about his new living environment. In Dealmakers: “There is so much ambition here. I never want to leave here.”
Also read this story feed Y Combinator: Growth course for start-ups: ‘Describe in fifty letters what you do’
Gitlab now has about 3,600 customers. It advertises on its site with big names such as investment bank Goldman Sachs, electronics company Siemens and chip maker Nvidia. Revenue has grown to $152 million (over the broken fiscal year 2020-2021) – nearly doubling from the previous year. However, as befits a tech startup, Gitlab isn’t making a profit yet.
Company without an office
The strategic disadvantage of Gitlab, writes the American business magazine Forbes, is that its main competitor GitHub is part of tech giant Microsoft. Such a large company has a lot of money available, while Gitlab has to rake it all together independently.
Although Sijbrandij has been successful in raising money so far: in recent years with various private investors, and this week with the IPO. Gitlab raised $650 million from investors there.
By the way, Gitlab is better known to the general public for something other than its software: from the start, the company has worked ‘remotely’. The company does not have a physical office where all employees come together. Telling detail: there is no address in the prospectus, a large document with information for investors. „Address not applicable” is on the first page.
With the collaboration of Stijn Bronzwaer
Gitlab stock market debut makes Dutchman billionaire
Source link Gitlab stock market debut makes Dutchman billionaire