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Keeping NGINX Focused on Technology, Culture, and Customers

Today we announced that NGINX, Inc. has raised $43M in Series C funding. The round was led by Goldman Sachs, with contribution from our long‑time investor, NEA. Total funding for NGINX is now $103M.

With this round we also welcome David Campbell, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, to our board. I couldn’t be more excited to have David lend his guidance and perspective. But don’t take my word for it! Watch this short video to hear David explain his background as an IT leader and why he believes in the NGINX opportunity.

Listening to David got me thinking, and reflecting on my five and a half year journey at NGINX. We have the largest VC in Silicon Valley and the most prominent investment bank on Wall Street as our anchor investors. This makes me think about what drives our success.

Obviously we’ve made mistakes along the way, as any company would – especially a startup. While we take learnings from the mistakes we’ve made, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some key elements we have done well.

So, what are those?

Our Technology

Building the right products that deliver value to our users and customers has been fundamental to NGINX from the beginning. Our engineering team has a maniacal focus on keeping NGINX light and free from bloat. They take pride in getting a feature from 100 lines of code down to 10. That’s who they are.

Staying true to our open source roots remains core to our being and propels the brand and the company forward. Back in 2011, when Igor Sysoev – the creator of the NGINX open source project – co‑founded the company, the project was almost 7 years old and there were nearly 24,000,000 sites running NGINX. Now, we have over:

  • 400,000,000 websites, or about a third of the known Internet
  • 6,400 of the 10,000 busiest, most successful websites
  • 1,500 commercial customers, located across 6 continents
  • 350 commercial customers running in AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure
  • 16, or roughly one-third, of the Fortune 50 companies
  • 5 of the 10 largest technology firms
  • 3 of the 5 largest global banks
  • 3 of the 5 largest US retailers

All of this is made possible by the fact that we continue to invest heavily in the NGINX open source project.

Our Culture

At NGINX, we’ve built a culture based on openness and trust. We’ve hired people who are passionate about our journey. We value missionaries rather than mercenaries.

Our people understand that being at a startup means we’re living in a world of change. We have goals that feel like mountains, yet they come to work everyday with a can‑do attitude. Startup life isn’t for everyone; not everyone wants to climb mountains on a daily basis. Our team does.

Our Customers

The most important element to get right is customers. Without them, NGINX doesn’t exist.

We are truly blessed to have customers who treat us as partners. We wouldn’t have been able to raise our Series B financing without early NGINX Plus customers sharing their experiences with potential investors.

I wish I could name names and thank them, but those testimonials were under NDA. The same was true for this round of financing. Many of our customers were interviewed extensively as part of the process, and we got the most amazing feedback from one of our prospective investors. His comment was simple: “You don’t have customers; you have disciples”.

Looking Forward

At this stage of our journey, the key elements of success, and the path forward, are clear: keep doing what we’re doing, but do it better. Keep the technology focused on delivering performance for our customers. Don’t bloat the code base. Maintain our culture at all costs. Constantly communicate with our customers and include them as partners in the journey – they want us to succeed.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t end this reflection with one last thought: thank you.

Thank you to our founders, to our community, and to our investors, employees, and customers. We’re incredibly excited about our future, and we appreciate everything you’ve done to get us here today.

Join NGINX on Our Journey

If you’re interested in joining the NGINX family, browse our Careers page. If you’re interested in trying out NGINX technologies, then start your free trial today.

In the meantime, leave comments below. I’d love to know where you’d like NGINX to focus.

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