Nodejitsu Takes on Heroku and Joyent as Node.js Goes Mainstream

WHAT: Cloud hosting for Node.js applications and websites, individuals to enterprises. Because Nodejitsu's platform is open-source, customers can use any cloud computing provider or their own hardware. Also, Nodejitsu focuses on the "user-land" part of Node.js, meaning everything outside the language's core functionality.

Coming soon: marketplace for Node.js apps so people can customize their Node.js sites.

LAUNCHERS:  Charlie Robbins (CEO), Marak Squires (chief evangelist), Paolo Fragomeni (CTO). All are developers.

WHY: The Node.js community is growing rapidly (see the LAUNCH Node.js profile). Heroku proved the platform-as-a-service model works (sold to Salesforce for more than $200M). App stores benefit developers and consumers.

WHEN/WHERE: Founded 2010, in private beta / New York. Recently opened San Francisco office.

BACKSTORY: Marak (front-end specialist, Node.js contributor since 2009) and Charlie (initially enterprise focused, interned and worked at Microsoft) have been friends since high school. They had been thinking about starting a company that did platform hosting for awhile, says Marak. Both immediately saw the value of Node.js, and the timing was right to build a hosting company around the new language.

BUSINESS MODEL: Selling hosting services and taking a percentage of sales from the Node.js app store.

ON NODE.JS: "The web page has gone from being a dynamically generated static page to a living, breathing entity receiving data in real time," says Charlie, adding, "Node makes that real-time interaction easier than anything out there. That's what we look to as a leading indicator of Node being an important technology for years to come."

JOYENT'S INVOLVEMENT WITH NODE: "Joyent has provided critical funding and corporate backing for the node.js project that we at Nodejitsu are very thankful for," says Marak.

COMPETITION: Heroku and Joyent. "We genuinely feel there's no legitimate competitors to our full offering right now," says Marak.

ON JOYENT AS A COMPETITOR: "Joyent's offering is a bit technical to use (even for seasoned developers) and it doesn't provide any additional add-ons or features that most developers need when hosting an application," notes Marak.

CUSTOMERS/GROWTH: Charlie says they "kept the beta purposefully small." About 4K people are on the waiting list.

GOAL: "Enable developers and people who aren't developers yet to deploy robust, rich, customized applications in an easy way," says Marak.

WHO BACKED IT: General Catalyst Partners, First Round Capital, RRE Ventures.

TOTAL RAISED: $750K (seed) in April 2011. In discussions for Series A, not saying how much they're looking to raise.

WHAT AN INVESTOR SAYS: Phin Barnes of First Round Capital says, "I was really impressed with the team and have continued to be blown away by their pure focus on supporting the Node community with their platform and their passion."

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 12-15 "on any given day with contractors," says Charlie.


1. "Nodejitsu Has Competition from Y Combinator Darling Heroku" (Betabeat, June 28, 2011)

2. "Judo strategy and our investment in Nodejitsu" (Sneakerhead VC, May 12, 2011)


Charlie Robbins
Email: charlie at nodejitsu dot com
Twitter: @indexzero

Marak Squires
Email: marak at nodejitsu dot com
Twitter: @maraksquires

Paolo Fragomeni
Email: paolo at nodejitsu dot com
Twitter: @hij1nx

Phineas Barnes, First Round Capital
Twitter: @phineasb

Jobs: hiring at nodejitsu dot com