News / Enterprise

HashiCorp IPO – A Playbook to Building a Platform Company

We first met Armon and Mitchell in 2014. They were twenty-something, open source superstars whose products had been downloaded by millions of developers. They had made the decision to found a company to realize their mission of making enterprise infrastructure delightful in the cloud era. We led their $10 million Series A that year and as we have watched their journey to build HashiCorp into the platform company for the multi-cloud age, I was struck by our reasons for partnering with them, which hold true until today.

EQ is an elusive concept but you know it when you see it

As co-founders, Armon and Mitchell have always been self-aware, authentic in their relationships, and 100% focused on elevating the practitioner. We were struck by their forthright style, healthy co-founder dynamic, and their *eyes on the prize* clarity. So when they decided to bring in Dave McJannet as a business leader CEO, and transition into the co-CTO roles, a rare move for founders, it followed naturally from their thinking. Under his leadership, HashiCorp has grown exponentially, while allowing each core player to focus on their superpower. Their people-first approach, which mirrors our philosophy at Mayfield, has scaled as they grew into 1000s of employees spread out over many locations over the world.

Diversity cannot be an afterthought

As young founders with non-traditional backgrounds of being Iranian-American and Japanese-American, Armon and Mitchell had lived the *being different* experience. From day 1, they built diversity into the DNA of the culture, establishing HashiCorp as a remote-first company before it became a mainstream model, and codifying an inclusive culture so employees could bring their whole selves to work, which Armon discusses in this podcast with me. This commitment to DEI has powered their ability to attract world-class talent from all over the globe.

Rise of the Individual is a powerful movement

HashiCorp recognized that the mind-numbing way infrastructure software and services were being deployed had to change to accommodate the creativity of the practitioner doing it. They stayed true to their mission by building products that both delighted the developer and elevated them to a strategic role in their company. Building on that movement, which I call the Rise of the Individual, they ignited a loyal community which numbers in the millions today.

The PLG era is a force multiplier

By building open source software with many contributors and products that *sell themselves*, i.e. they are downloaded and deployed by practitioners and then paid for by buyers who have budgets in those same companies, now referred to commonly as COSS (commercial open source model), HashiCorp has gained a huge GTM advantage as a result. They have built on this foundation to innovate on the business model further by having a cloud offering now which is a subscription service.

Company building is a marathon, not a sprint

This is our core belief and observation at Mayfield having worked with 100s of inception-stage founders, including those at Lyft, Poshmark, Outreach, Mammoth, Tonal and others. HashiCorp was founded almost 10 years ago, and over the last decade, they have methodically innovated on product lines, GTM models, geographic expansion, and more, all while staying true to their core mission and values. Today’s public offering is just the latest milestone in their journey from inception to iconic company and one in which it has been an honor to have been along for the ride. Congrats to Dave, Armon, Mitchell and the entire HashiCorp team.

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