Morteza Heidarpour Morteza Heidarpour

Gatsby Raises $15M, Plans to Invest More Heavily in WordPress and CMS Integrations

Gatsby Inc. CEO Kyle Mathews announced a $15M Series A funding round today, just one year after creating the company with GatsbyJS core contributors. The open source Gatsby project started in 2015 to provide a framework for developers to quickly build websites with React. As the project soared in popularity, Mathews formed a company to fund its ongoing development and further invest in the growing Gatsby ecosystem of products.

This round of funding will enable Gatsby to grow its 35-person team while investing in open source and cloud services that complement the company’s products.

“With Gatsby, we’re striving to create a business model that will drive many millions of dollars of investment in open-source tools and enable people to build the next generation of web experiences,” Mathews said.

At the forefront of the company’s vision is the idea of “reinventing website development.” Gatsby has popularized the concept of a “content mesh,” a platform that provides the infrastructure layer for a decoupled website and reimagines the role of a CMS within this architecture.

Gatsby’s goal of creating more integrations for CMS’s was a big part of Mathews’ funding announcement. Instead of writing off LAMP stack architecture as slow and obsolete, Gatsby is creating bridges to the CMS’s that power a large portion of the web:

Instead of a monolithic CMS powering everything, Gatsby ties together specialized services with a modern development experience and optimized website delivery.

This content mesh empowers developers while preserving content creators’ workflows. It gives developers access to great cloud services without the pain of manual integration.

Web developers from dozens of web CMS communities like WordPress and Drupal are going “headless” and using Gatsby as the presentation layer for their CMS.

We’re forming partnerships with these communities to create seamless integrations between their solutions and Gatsby.

Gatsby will be using some of its funding to invest more heavily in the WordPress ecosystem. The company hired hiring Jason Bahl, creator of the GraphQL for WordPress project, in June, and plans to add more WordPress developers.

“We recently hired someone else to work alongside Jason in developing WPGraphQL (announcement coming soon!) and are currently hiring for several roles on the team,” Mathews told the Tavern.

WordPress powers 34.6% of the top 10 million websites and Matt Mullenweg has previously estimated its ecosystem to be a $10 billion industry. The CMS is showing no signs of decline, and is a market that Gatsby product developers are strategically targeting.

WordPress adopted React as its JavaScript framework in 2017, and built its new Gutenberg editor on top of it. Although some early adopters began digging deeper into React and creating their own products with it, the majority of PHP developers have been slow to move in that direction. Gatsby provides a bridge for those who are just getting started.

“We think that for many web developers, a Gatsby project may be the first time they are using React, GraphQL, webpack or even Node.js,” Mathews said. “And that’s not just the case for WordPress developers – the same can be true for professionals in the Drupal, Rails, or .NET ecosystems.

“It’s our goal to make a framework that empowers developers to use these technologies easily, then dive deeper as they gain more experience. So, instead of taking days to configure webpack for the first time, you can use a Gatsby Theme that connects to WordPress as a data source, and automatically get a blazing fast site. Later, you can learn the innards of the system, and begin customizing Gatsby yourself.”

While Gatsby as a framework enables developers to bypass a lot of the technical and tooling jargon that has made modern development so complex, it is still a framework geared almost exclusively towards developers. Mathews said the company’s vision will continue to focus on enabling developers, not on creating solutions to make Gatsby more accessible to the non-technical crowd.

“We are focused on making Gatsby the best choice for WordPress developers who want a flexible and powerful presentation layer for their headless WordPress sites,” he said. “Non-technical team members or clients will still use WordPress to create and manage content, while the web developers on their team or at the agency they hired get to be productive using the best development tools available.”

Gatsby plans to use the funding to invest $3 million per year in open source, including the core Gatsby project, official plugins, and more learning materials. The funding is also good news for the future of the WPGraphQL project, which should see deeper integration with Gatsby in the near future.

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