If you’ve ever hailed a ride on Uber or sent an email in Gmail, then you’ve probably interacted with a feature flag — whether you knew it or not. While feature flags aren’t new, they’ve gained more popularity in recent years as every company becomes a software company. In a world where user expectations are constantly evolving and the demand for new features is at an all-time high, engineering velocity has become critical for organizations to stay competitive. But developing and deploying new features quickly and safely can be risky — especially while trying to prevent downtime for customers.
Enter Unleash. I’m thrilled to announce our Series A investment in Unleash, an open-source feature management platform, and join their board. Unleash’s open-source APIs and SDKs give developers greater flexibility than off-the-shelf feature management solutions, allowing developers to integrate more closely with their tech stack and retain full control of their data through self-hosting. By not performing server-side evaluation, Unleash is incredibly performant (we’re talking nanoseconds) and an ideal solution for privacy-conscious companies that are concerned with exposing end-user data.
When we first met Unleash founders Egil and Ivar, we were struck by both the depth of their vision and the love from their rapidly growing open source community. Downloads of Unleash open source grew by more than 6x in 2021, touching millions of developers looking for a more flexible, performant, and privacy-focused feature management solution. Over the past year, Unleash has built a stellar team (they’re 17 employees and hiring!), as well as earned the trust of developers at a number of enterprise customers like Capital One, Medidata, and more.
At Spark Capital, we’ve long believed in the power of communities, whether it’s developer communities like those on Stack Overflow, investing communities on eToro, or interest-led communities on Twitter. We believe Unleash’s growing open source community will continue to propel its product forward, especially in a world where developers are choosing their favorite tools and data privacy is critical to business success.
We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Egil, Ivar, and the entire Unleash team, and an awesome group of co-investors, including Frontline, Firstminute Capital, and more. Welcome, Unleash!