“I was curious and some people may consider curiosity to be notorious. I liked to experiment with everything. I liked to read a lot. My grandfather had a small library with thousands of books and I read everything including The Republic by Plato.” - Jyoti Bansal, Co-founder, and CEO at Harness (source)
Despite growing up in a small town in India, Jyoti’s entrepreneurial ambitions were strong since he was a kid. Jyoti landed himself in one of the top institutions in India, IIT Delhi. He was academically talented but never was inclined that way. Believed in self-learning and was always motivated to solve problems rather than do what’s been told. Startups excited him since college but what he lacked was the technological prowess to execute any ideas he had. So he started learning how to program.
The first chapter of Jyoti’s early career started in Silicon Valley where he worked for a couple of startups. As his knowledge of code and tech grew deeper, so did his ability to dig out the problems that came with it. As programmed his way into the next part of his career, a few things became clearer to him -
From this was born Jyoti’s first startup idea - AppDynamics - which focused on distributed tracing which was an idea that didn’t exist back then. He wanted to create a solution that could trace a user across systems and functions so it becomes easier to pin down where the problem was and save resources from wasting hours of critical work trying to figure out what broke.
With this started Jyoti’s entrepreneurial journey baked with technological innovations and a strong will to solve problems without worrying about the consequence. AppDynamics became his first successful venture into the startup and was later acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion.
After doing it once, Jyoti realized the market potential there was for making engineering more efficient. He thought, why can’t every company function like Google or Facebook in terms of efficiency? So the idea behind Harness was to build an arsenal of engineering tools that can not only make the processes more efficient but the engineers who deliver the code. In fact, one of the core values for building Harness was that engineering talent is rare and difficult to find, and most of them have to spend over 50% of their work doing things that are inefficient or unnecessary.
Since being founded in 2015, Harness has focused on becoming the go-to delivery-as-a-service platform and has expanded to provide the best-in-class dev tools that make engineering teams more organized. It started with providing Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tooling to make integrations and deployments much faster. Over the years they’ve expanded into Cloud cost management, feature flags, chaos engineering, and more. Some of these were built from scratch while others were acquired like the open-source continuous integration company Drone.io in 2020 and the acquisition of ChaosNative in 2022.
Harness raised Series A for $20 million in 2017. The revenue grew tremendously which peaked investor interest and rightfully so. After Series B, it tripled revenue in 2020 which led to Series C for $85 million that same year. Jyoti said they could’ve raised double that amount for the number of investors willing to put their bets on the company’s success but they decided not to since there wasn’t a need for it. Harness also recently announced their acquisition of Propelo - a software that will give enterprises actionable data to measure and optimize their software delivery.
In early 2022 they raised Series D for a staggering $230 million which brought their valuation to $3.7 billion - the same amount of money Jyoti sold his previous startup for. God does not play dice with the universe, indeed. The difference is, as he said, AppDynamics was sold because they’d reached the end of the road but with Harness being valued at $3.7 billion, it just felt like the beginning.
Building the right culture has been non-negotiable for Harness. Jyoti, as a founder and a centerpiece of the puzzle, always wanted people to be the driving force for what he was building. In fact, he believes in going out of your way to hire people from diverse backgrounds because it just doesn’t happen on its own. You have to proactively nurture the culture that you want for your company and in turn for your community. As a result of these efforts, Harness was named one of the best places to work by Glassdoor in 2021.
Tapping into a market of over 30 million engineers globally, Harness wanted to not just give them a platform to become better at what they do but also connect with others just like them through events, programs, and more.
Harness’ DevOps community forum on Discourse is home to over 4300 users and a place where people can get everything from support, FAQs, access to Harness experts for all their questions, support, announcement, new release, events, and more.
Harness’ user community is on Slack and currently is 2,700+ members strong and is a place where people ask questions, share events, and more
The go-to place for developers to learn intelligent software delivery at their own pace. These include step-by-step tutorials for all modules and all reference documentation required to become better at learning and deploying code. You can also do certification on Software delivery foundations.
Harness does everything it can to help developers build, advance, and certify their software delivery expertise. Harness University is divided into 50+ courses for self-paced learning, 6 instructor-led workshops, and 4 certifications based on exams.
Harness university is a complete guide to becoming better at code quality and delivery as an engineer.
Get access to on-demand webinars, ebooks, guides, blogs, reports, datasheets, and more on the resource hub to provide you with all the information you need.
ShipTalk is Harness’ official podcast talking about all things engineering and DevOps. The recent episode talks about the shifting complexities in DevOps lately.
Harness realizes the importance of community in building a brand and has seen first-hand the role it plays in leveraging community-based learning. For a company that prioritizes and values educating developers to deliver code faster and be more competent, community has been a key player in empowering and providing a platform for that.
Apart from resources, a forum, and a Slack community, Harness constantly organizes programs and events for its community. They recently started Harness Community Office Hours - a series of monthly online sessions, to engage with the community and also discuss the latest trends and topics in the Harness Open ecosystem. Then there are Harness user groups that organize community-led events to provide better support and use the spirit of community for growth. There are also Harness Power Users and Harness Experts that spread thought leadership and insights in the community.
Appsmith happened after multiple hands-on experiences of co-founding startups, learning from their failures for about 10 years and bouncing back stronger at it!
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