Railway raises $20M to radically simplify building software

Avatar of Jake CooperJake Cooper
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Railway’s Origin Story

Building software should feel like magic. It used to. But over the years, we’ve introduced layers and layers of abstractions, mostly powered by yaml files, designed to make things “better”. Mostly, more configurable. The result is a complicated web of tooling, where developers are constantly playing “yaml battleship”, hoping their configs apply correctly, or navigating awful dashboards.

Today, you either need to choose between limited PaaS solutions, or diving head first into learning Terraform, Ansible, Kubernetes, and a myriad of tools just to get your REST API running.

We’ve come to a complexity impasse

So, in 2020, we started Railway to make it trivial for engineers to deploy code without thinking about servers. No PhD in Kubernetes, No AWS, No yaml.

The idea was simple: you tell us you want a Postgres instance, or to deploy some code from GitHub, or something else, and we did it. Config, when needed, should be provided as sane defaults with the option to tweak later.

Now, we sorta figured we weren’t the only one’s with this problem. Any engineer can tell you this. What we didn’t know was just how many people were as frustrated as we were.

Ever since 2021 when we released Railway, we have been on an absolute tear. Hobby Developers, Indie Hackers, Small Startups, Series A/B/C/etc Startups, Fortune 500 companies, random oil & gas companies in eastern europe; it didn’t seem to matter. They were all asking to simplify their infrastructure.

And then we released the canvas, and growth went from parabolic to exponential.

The canvas lets you spew into existence all your services. You can be as bombastic or as eloquent as you want; Railway will reconcile your infrastructure for you under the hood, deploying and connecting as needed based on your actions.

And so that leads us to where we are today, just over a year from release. We added more new users in the last month than we did in the first year we started working on the platform.

So, at this point, it’s pretty obvious a tool like Railway needs to exist. Developers need a platform that’s:

  • Simple and intuitive to use like Heroku
  • Powerful and flexible like Kubernetes
  • Reproducible like Terraform/Ansible/etc

But that’s just to start; it can be so much more

Where We’re Going

Our end goal is for Railway to be the single pane of glass for builders, shippers, and do-ers who want to spend less time wrangling yaml, and more time shipping world changing products.

It’s a noble goal right? Well, the reality of the situation is, by making these things trivial for you, our beloved end users, there are a ton of technical challenges involved. Some we’ve overcome, but many more await.

To make all this happen, we’re excited to announce that our team has raised a $20M Series A, led by Erica Brescia and Jordan Segall at Redpoint Ventures. In our mind, there’s nobody better than these lovely folks, and Redpoint has an unrivaled infrastructure portfolio, having been investors in Heroku, HashiCorp, Stripe, Twilio, and tons more.

This round also includes participation from our seed lead Unusual Ventures, and our pre-seed lead Lachy Groom (LGF). This brings out total raised to just shy of $25M

Throughout these rounds, we’ve also received support from amazing angels:

We’re going to use this capital to:

  • Power Up our Infrastructure Canvas: There’s an almost infinite amount of features we can build on top of the user experience we have now. So, we’re gonna get started on those.
  • Solve Build Reproducibility: We’re using Nix to power a fully zero config, no Dockerfile build experience from any codebase. Sound interesting? Checkout the Nixpacks on GitHub
  • Expand our Community: We have a growing community of thousands in Discord, providing feedback, opensource contributions and more. Sound interesting? Checkout our Discord
  • Hire More Smart People: We’re just at the tip of the iceberg here, and we have grand plans to make building and deploying software radically more simple. Sound interesting? Checkout our careers page

It’s cliché as hell, but we are indeed just getting started. In our ideal future, no code is written twice, all code and infrastructure is fully composable via packages, builds+infrastructure are fully reproducible all without writing a single line of yaml, and all of this runs on any hardware.

Finally, I want to thank our investors, our community, and finally our amazing team for making this possible. We’re only able to do this because of you. Thank you all.

Onwards && Upwards