A Q&A with Wercker co-founder and CEO Micha Hernandez van Leuffen. The Amsterdam–based company was founded in early 2012 and closed a $1 million Seed funding round in late January. Investors include Shamrock Ventures, Greylock Partners and micro-VC Vitulum Ventures.
SUB: Please describe Wercker and your value proposition.
Hernandez van Leuffen: Wercker is a collaborative continuous delivery platform that helps developers reduce risk and eliminate waste in their software development process by enabling them to test and deploy their code often in a hassle-free way. In short, we’re building an integral platform for how software gets delivered on the Internet and cloud.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Hernandez van Leuffen: Our target market consists of developers working either alone, at startups or large enterprises. Our mission is to make all of their lives easier.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Hernandez van Leuffen: There are several open source solutions out there like Jenkins and Travis. Then there are some smaller startups working on continuous integration.
SUB: What differentiates Wercker from the competition?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We focus on the end goal of testing your code, which is deployment. Apart from that we also emphasize on the social and collaborative elements of software development.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We started Wercker around January of last year, and quickly incorporated afterwards and made our first hire. The initial focus was on creating the prototype.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Wercker? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Hernandez van Leuffen: I built the underlying engine as my thesis project at the University of San Francisco. Coming back to Amsterdam, I got back in touch with my current co-founder, Wouter [co-founder Wouter Mooij], and we decided on leveraging the engine to tackle a problem we had at a previous employer of ours, which is continuous delivery. The rest is, as they say, history.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We were struggling with the name for a while and initially were trying to compose the name of two words, but nothing really stuck and all the domain names were already taken. One day, when I was on my way to my co-founder’s place, I got fed up with the name search and asked myself: ‘what do we actually do?’ We help people make software ‘work.’ Add some European sauce to the mix, and you end up with ‘wercker.’
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Hernandez van Leuffen: Raising our round was definitely a time-consuming process and required my full attention for several months. I am lucky enough that I have a strong team who continued building out the product.
SUB: Speaking of that process, you just raised $1 million in Seed funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We will use the funds to expand our operations and team and work towards a GA [general availability] version of Wercker.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise outside funding?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We had a working prototype that solved a complex, but very current problem. Investors saw the opportunity in accelerating our growth.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We currently do not charge for Wercker, but an obvious business model would be subscriptions. However, we’re exploring other forms of revenue as well.
SUB: What are your goals for Wercker over the next year or so?
Hernandez van Leuffen: We are working on a GA version and want to establish traction leading up to the Series A investment.
Wercker – www.wercker.com