Clean-code provider SonarSource raises $412M, focuses on helping devs maximize value

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Geneva-based SonarSource, which provides open-source and commercial code analyzers to help developers manage code quality, today revealed it has raised $412 million from new and existing investors, at a valuation of $4.7 billion. 

SonarSource said in a media advisory that it will use the investment to grow its go-to-market team globally as the company drives toward $1 billion in revenue.

Used by more than five million developers (largely due to its freemium usage model), SonarSource said its cloud and on-premises platforms enable enterprises to maximize the value of their software by helping development teams write high-standard code, keep it free of bugs and security vulnerabilities, and maintain consistent quality. 

Clean code embedded directly into development process

As software gets updated continuously using a devops approach, SonarSource automatically embeds clean code directly into the development process, improving the overall health of the code base and reducing tech debt (the result of prioritizing speedy delivery over perfect code). This unlocks significant resource and time savings so developers can focus on delivering better products and improving customer experience, thereby boosting key business metrics, CEO Olivier Gaudin said in a media advisory.

“We enable companies to make this source code an asset rather than a liability. This delivers huge value, especially when you know this is done as part of the development process and requires no extra effort,” Gaudin said. “With the market recognizing the importance of code, we have a clear path to $1 billion in revenue. Having the right people and partners around the table will help us to move swiftly toward that goal and prepare for public markets.”

The company said it will use this investment to double its sales force in 2022 and grow its marketing team across existing offices in Geneva, Switzerland; Annecy, France; Bochum, Germany; and Austin, Texas.

Key company milestones include the following:

  • Over five million developers at more than 300,000 organizations use SonarSource’s commercial and community products to improve their code quality.
  • In the last four years, SonarSource grew its commercial customer base by more than 2,000%.
  • 80 Fortune 100 companies use the platform. IBM, Microsoft, Barclays, Alphabet and NASA are among the major organizations using SonarSource.

The funding round was led by new investors Advent International and General Catalyst, with existing investor Insight Partners participating. Permira also participated in the round. 

Q&A with General Catalyst on SonarSource

VentureBeat nabbed Deep Nishar, managing director of General Catalyst, for a question-and-answer session.

VentureBeat: Why was General Catalyst interested in SonarSource?

Nishar: Increasingly, software technology is becoming the key differentiator and competitive edge for the leading company in every market segment — be it healthcare, finance, retail or industrial products. Software engineers are already in short supply and stretched thin. Technical debt continues to pile up. SonarSource addresses these challenges by providing a solution that enables developers to create secure, reliable and error-free code so they can focus on building new and innovative solutions for their customers and not become saddled with poor quality code and increasing technical debt. Five million developers are testament to the power and value of the SonarSource solutions.

VentureBeat: How does SonarSource’s clean-code process work alongside — or is it integrated — into data governance apps?

Nishar: SonarSource’s clean code process is by default integrated into development pipelines. This enables developers and development teams to not leave their existing toolset to clean code. It is possible, on top of this, to integrate with existing governance apps.

VentureBeat: What sets SonarSource apart from its competitors?

Nishar: Many competitors focus on just one part of delivering clean code, such as the security aspect. That’s a promise to the risk or compliance department. SonarSource has a different approach — they help the engineering team do a better job delivering higher quality code and enable them to invest time actually writing new code, as opposed to debugging old code. SonarSource provides a solution that allows these departments to raise their game and deliver better code. More time is spent on innovation and solving difficult problems for the organization.

VentureBeat: Describe the market and where SonarSource plays in it.

Nishar: This market has a lot of vendors building solutions around security. Their primary value proposition is to help customers secure apps, which is clearly important. SonarSource has a much larger value proposition: they help developers write clean code. It doesn’t matter if it’s existing code or legacy code. They address all aspects: security, reliability, technical debt, changeability and sustainability.

Better quality of the code will mean better code security; for example, many vulnerabilities are caused by coding errors. But it also means better product quality in general. Because SonarSource supports clean and safe code, they have a unique advantage in the market.

VentureBeat: What are the best vertical markets for this service? 

Nishar: SonarSource has a diverse roster of large enterprise customers. There’s a real demand for SonarSource technology across nearly every vertical: tech, banking, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, etc. All enterprises today understand that software is essential to accelerate their business. Now, they’re beginning to realize that high-quality source code is the key component of their software and must be stewarded as such. Any organization that’s investing heavily in software needs a faster, better way to improve their code quality and more importantly write good quality code.

VentureBeat: SaaS, on-premises, or both?

Nishar: SonarSource offers both SaaS-based clean code solutions (SonarCloud) and on-prem solutions (SonarQube). The company’s vision is to enable developers at every organization, regardless of their IT environment, programming language or industry, to write clean code and remediate existing code organically so they can focus on delivering real business value.

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