Power

Move fast, break nothing: Why investors like JFrog’s approach to modern software development

If every company is now a software company, that means a lot of companies have to figure out how to be software companies. JFrog's tools help those companies ship stable software at a quick pace.

Move fast, break nothing: Why investors like JFrog’s approach to modern software development

"Every company is now a software company," says Shlomi Ben Haim, co-founder and CEO of JFrog.

Photo: JFrog

Velocity is one of the major driving forces behind modern software development, and JFrog quickly showed the public markets Wednesday why companies are interested in tools that help them go fast.

Shares in JFrog rose 47% Wednesday during its first day of trading on the Nasdaq, closing at $64.79, compared to the listing price of $44 per share. That values it at more than $6 billion, a pretty good return for the 12-year-old Israeli company's investors, who poured $226 million in the company as it grew.

"Every company is now a software company," said Shlomi Ben Haim, co-founder and CEO of JFrog, in an interview with Protocol on Wednesday. However, "every company was not created as a software company," and those scrambling to modernize their approach to software development need help making that transition, he said.

JFrog offers a series of software development tools that help companies manage the process of getting software from the idea stage to production. These tools allow companies to manage their code repositories, monitor the entire development pipeline for potential issues or problems, and deploy that code to self-managed servers or cloud services.

This entire process has grown more complex in the cloud era. Software construction used to proceed at a relatively plodding pace through various stages of development, with predetermined release cycles that introduced relatively large changes to the code base. However, the modern approach to software development involves making lots of smaller changes to the code on a more frequent basis, which helps stamp out bugs, introduce new features, and shift priorities according to market forces much more quickly than older processes allowed.

JFrog's software can be consumed as a service on all three major cloud providers or managed on a company's own servers, and customers also pay for support services. JFrog recorded $94 million in revenue during 2019, a 69% jump compared to the previous year.

The company and its investors are betting that the massive number of companies that have yet to contemplate modernizing older tech investments are starting to realize they have no choice, lest they be swept away by newer, more-nimble competitors. Tools like JFrog's are an extension of the DevOps movement, which is as much a cultural shift in thinking inside software factories as a technical one toward faster and more flexible software development.

Over the long term, emerging concepts like serverless computing and low-code development could upend the way companies think about building and shipping software, but JFrog's tools seem well-adapted for companies that built software around virtual machines — the basic processing unit of cloud computing — and are starting to embrace containers.

And as rings true for any company operating on the cloud in 2020, the cloud providers themselves are increasingly interested in providing similar tools to help big clients make the leap onto their platforms. But JFrog executives believe they can operate as a neutral party among cloud vendors and on-premises hardware vendors starting to get into application management services.

Protocol | Fintech

How European fintech startup N26 is preparing for U.S. regulations

"There's a lot more scrutiny being placed on fintech. We are definitely mindful of it."

In an interview with Protocol, Stephanie Balint, N26's U.S. general manager, discussed the company's approach to regulations in the U.S.

Photo: N26

N26's monster $900 million funding round announced Monday underlined the German startup's momentum in the digital banking market.

Stephanie Balint, N26's U.S. general manager, said the funding will be used for expansion and also to improve "our core offering to make this the most reliable bank that our customers can trust," she told Protocol.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

The way we work has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 upended business dealings and office work processes, putting into hyperdrive a move towards digital collaboration platforms that allow teams to streamline processes and communicate from anywhere. According to the International Data Corporation, the revenue for worldwide collaboration applications increased 32.9 percent from 2019 to 2020, reaching $22.6 billion; it's expected to become a $50.7 billion industry by 2025.

"While consumers and early adopter businesses had widely embraced collaborative applications prior to the pandemic, the market saw five years' worth of new users in the first six months of 2020," said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and collaboration at IDC. "This has cemented collaboration, at least to some extent, for every business, large and small."

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Silver

Kate Silver is an award-winning reporter and editor with 15-plus years of journalism experience. Based in Chicago, she specializes in feature and business reporting. Kate's reporting has appeared in the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic's CityLab, Atlas Obscura, The Telegraph and many other outlets.

Apple’s new MacBooks are the future — and the past

After years of reinventing the wheel, Apple's back to just building really good ones.

Apple brought back the ports.

Photo: Apple

The 2015 Pro was, by most accounts, one of the best laptops Apple ever made. It was fast and functional, and it had a great screen, a MagSafe charger, plenty of ports, a great keyboard and solid battery life. If you walked around practically any office in Silicon Valley, you'd see Pros everywhere.

Many of those users have been holding on to their increasingly old and dusty 2015 Pros, too, because right about when that computer came out was when Apple seemed to lose its way in the laptop market. It released the 12-inch MacBook, an incredibly thin and light computer that made a bunch of changes — a new keyboard and trackpad design chief among them — that eventually made their way around the rest of the MacBook lineup. Then came the Touch Bar, Apple's attempt to build an entirely new user interface into a laptop.

Keep Reading Show less
David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editorial director. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Image: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Imagine a company where there are no meetings — just time for deep, focused work punctuated by short conversations on Slack and project updates on Trello.

Now imagine a company where the no-meeting ethos is so ingrained that it's possible to work there for 10 years without ever speaking face-to-face with a single coworker, and for your boss to not even recognize the sound of your voice.

Keep Reading Show less
Michelle Ma
Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol, where she writes about management, leadership and workplace issues in tech. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at mma@protocol.com.
Protocol | Workplace

#AppleToo activist says Apple fired her for deleting apps from her devices

Janneke Parrish says she was dismissed after deleting Robinhood, Pokemon Go and Google Drive from her work devices during an investigation inside the company.

The Apple Too movement is trying to organize Apple workers into a collective movement.
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty

Unlike most other companies, Apple asks that its employees use their work phones like personal ones — and for five years, Apple program manager Janneke Parrish did as she was told. But last week, when Apple asked Parrish for her devices in an internal investigation, she was afraid Apple would see her personal and private information. She disobeyed orders and deleted apps like Robinhood, Pokemon Go and Google Drive. Then Apple fired her.

Keep Reading Show less
Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

Latest Stories