When developers build new features into software, they must ensure that the new features do not break what is already there. So they will often deploy it slowly and see what happens using the method of applying feature flags to the code. This is a proven way to control deployment, but it requires a different level of control. This is where Analish from Oslo comes in.
“Unleash is an object management solution. This allows you to define rules for user segmentation, so you have complete control over how you enable new functionality,” explains Ivar Oostus, co-founder and CTO. He added that this approach allows for a lot of experimentation while minimizing the risk of adding something to the production codebase that will create huge problems for users.
In 2014, Stus faced this work management challenge at Finn, the company he worked for. So in his spare time, he started working on a solution. The following year, he released Unleashed open source on GitHub and continued to work at his day job as an engineer to develop the project for years to come.
They found that over time, companies started asking for commercial items for equipment, and they saw an opportunity for a commercial venture. In 2019, Ivar and his brother Egil decided to start a company together to create a commercial layer on top of the open source product developed by Ivar.
“By the end of 2018, I started to see a big momentum in open source adoption and people were reaching out to us to ask about commercial functionality. I also received an email from the company asking if I could host it for them so they don’t have to. So for me it was clearly an early sign, and it was also when I got Egil. brought in [to start the company],” he said.
The company launched its first commercial offering, a hosted version of Unleashed, in the spring of 2019, and operations have begun to take shape. Two men quit their main job and devoted themselves entirely to the company.
Egil, who became CEO, has experience in management and business, and the two brothers began discussing with companies how viable the idea could be as a commercial company. “I think we spent 90% of our time talking to customers to better understand our competitors and the needs of our users,” said Egil.
Today, the company has gradually moved from an open-source model to an open-core model, in which enterprise features such as single sign-on are available for a fee to customers who require an extra layer of security.
Egil said diversity is key to building a business for him and his brother and one of their key performance indicators. He sees this as a challenge to leadership, and to hold them accountable, they report to the board on a monthly basis on how well they are doing in terms of preparing candidates.
“So we’ve decided to do what’s really important, report back to the board on a monthly basis about the diversity of our roster. So that’s one of the metrics that we’re going to be reporting to them, and that means we need to report those numbers as the candidate pipeline fills up, and whether we’re going to report those numbers of diversity inside or outside,” he said. .
The company has 120 paying customers, of which about 40% are in the US and Canada, the remaining 40% are in the European Union, and the rest are worldwide. They have 16 employees and plan to double that number by the end of the year.
With the $14 million Series A announced today, the startup should have capital to invest in if the company starts to grow. Today’s investment is led by Spark Capital, with contributions from Frontline Ventures, FirstMinute Capital, Alliance Venture and Arkwright X.