You could be forgiven for not knowing the name until today, but the oddly-named Octopus Deploy may soon be lauded alongside the likes of Canva and Atlassian as one of Australia’s coveted tech unicorns.
On Wednesday, the company revealed it has raised $223.4 million ($US172.5 million), one of the largest venture capital raises in Australia to date and Octopus Deploy’s very first.
Started in 2011 by husband-wife founders Paul and Sonia Stovell as a ‘nights and weekends project’, the startup has managed to be profitable and self-funded since its inception.
Part of the company’s anonymity among the Australian public stems from the fact that it serves businesses, helping them speed up and automate software development. That might mean little to the man on the street, but the startup’s customers count NASA, Microsoft, Disney and Xero among them.
“When I started Octopus, I was obsessed with deployments and making software releases easier for teams,” Paul, who also serves as the company’s CEO, said.
Frustrated by problems he’d experienced with the software deployment process, Paul began working on what would eventually become Octopus Deploy.
“In the last couple of years as our product has evolved, enterprises have become our fastest-growing segment. On the product side, we found we have a compelling solution,” he said.
Acquiring a minority stake as part of the deal, global investment firm Insight Partners said it was an opportunity it couldn’t pass up.
“We routinely talk to our portfolio companies about the products they use or that their customers are using and Octopus Deploy came up over and over,” managing director Michael Triplett said.
“The company has flown under the radar, but when you talk to their customers, they are huge fans.
“It is clear to us that Octopus is the leader in enterprise deployment automation.”
While the Stovells did not disclose exact figures, Insight Partners’ stake is understood to be in the realm of 20-30 per cent.
It would likely value the company at upwards of $850 million, well on the way to minting it as Australia’s next unicorn, designating a billion-dollar private startup.
With the war chest to be used to grow and scale the company, it seems only a matter of time before that status is officially bestowed.
This article was originally published on Business Insider Australia.