Why Stackshare is quietly becoming a secret weapon for developers and Silicon Valley CTOs
On Stackshare, Airbnb lists over 50 services in its “stack,” Slack lists 24, and Spotify lists more than 31; these stacks are collections of different pieces of software that each company is using to run their operations, and range from infrastructure tools to communications tools to container tools to email service tools.
Why are companies beginning to share the specific mix of apps that’s enabling their businesses to grow? According to Yonas Beshawred, a Maryland native and former Accenture consultant, because they know it’s the missing piece of the puzzle for developers, who’ve long yearned to understand which tools top companies are using and why in order to help inform their own decisions.
It’s a win for a number of players in the startup ecosystem, argues Beshawred.
For developers, “If you’re trying to build a new on-demand delivery service, you can come to Stackshare and see all the tools that Instacart uses.” For companies like Instacart that are willing to volunteer what tools they are using (or, at least, in some cases, to confirm the findings of Stackshare), the platform gives them a better shot at attracting developers who are well-versed in the technologies they’re using. (Stackshare is also an avenue for engineers to identify new startups that are using their favored programming languages and other tools.)
Not last, Stackshare is interesting to SaaS vendors, a small but growing number of which are beginning to sponsor sections of the platform and which now have a new place for their communities to evangelize their products.
Certainly, something seems to be clicking. Stackshare, founded in San Francisco in 2015, claims that more than 150,000 developers are now using the service, where they not only see which companies are using what but also comment on the tools, helping their peers understand what they should be using (and avoiding). Stackshare also currently features the “verified” tech stacks of 7,000 companies.
Investors like it, too. At least, today, Stackshare is announcing that it quietly raised $1.5 million in seed funding late last year, led by Cervin Ventures. Other participants include Precursor Ventures, Square exec Gokul Rajaman, and former VMWare and Facebook exec Jocelyn Goldfein among others. The round follows $300,000 million in earlier seed funding from 500 Startups (it participated in its 14th batch); MicroVentures; Airbnb’s first employee, Nick Grandy; Heroku’s former engineering manager Glenn Gillen, and others.
Beshawred has some competition, as you might guess, including another young startup, TechStacks. Developers can also drill into some of the tech used by startups on the popular AngelList platform, which seems well-positioned to begin featuring even more of this information, thanks to its acquisition late last year of the app discovery engine Product Hunt.
Still, do a quick scan for companies’ tech stacks and you quickly discern the largely unaddressed opportunity that Stackshare is chasing.
Indeed, Beshawred says the idea came to him when, after leaving Accenture, he joined a Y Combinator-backed startup, Cube, to work on product design.
As is the case at plenty of scrappy startups, Cube’s engineering team found themselves using particular technologies — Microsoft’s Azure, AWS, Heroku — based on free credits. “I thought, ‘This is bad,’” says Beshawred. So he created a static directory that he describes as “just WordPress site,” but he launched it on Hacker News and it attracted attention, including from Grandy. “People though it was like a candy store for developers,” says Beshawred.
Today, Stackshare is starting to feel more like a full-fledged marketplace, thanks in part to the burgeoning network effects it’s beginning to enjoy. Word of mouth is helping. So are the startup’s community-building efforts, which including sitting down with companies and profiling how they built their tech stacks. The venture-backed real estate agency Opendoor, for example, recently explained to Stackshare users how it scaled its infrastructure.
If Beshawred has its way, Stackshare will grow beyond its growing community of developers and help everyone from marketers to teachers understand which tools they should be using and why.
“Software really is eating the world,” he says, echoing the famous (and now six-year-old) prediction of investor Marc Andreessen.
Only time will answer whether Stackshare can capture more of those being impacted by the ubertrend. In the meantime, the four-person company will begin raising its Series A round this year.