GitLab founder Sid Sijbrandij sets up $100m VC fund to invest in Asia, other markets

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that OpenBook Ventures was set up by GitLab. It was established by GitLab founder Sid Sijbrandij.

Sid Sijbrandij, the founder of GitLab — a Silicon Valley-based DevOps platform, whose source code management tools help companies write software rapidly — established a $100 million VC fund in 2020, sources close to the development told DealStreetAsia.

The fund, called OpenBook Ventures, will be targeting investments in Asia, besides other markets across the globe. In terms of sectors, the sources indicated that the fund will look for investments in deep tech — technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain etc.

OpenBook Ventures has already set the ball rolling on investments by leading a “Series Seed-2 financing round, with expected new investments totaling $9.6 million” in the California-based solar technology company Swift Solar in December last year, according to the investee’s website.

GitLab declined to comment on DealStreetAsia’s queries regarding the fund.

The startup had raised $268 million in 2019, when it was valued at $2.75 billion. The funding round was led by existing investors Goldman Sachs and the privately-held US investment firm ICONIQ Capital, with participation from Tiger Management Corporation, Light Speed Capital, and Capital Group.

GitLab’s global clientele includes Delta Air Lines, Ticketmaster Entertainment, Goldman Sachs, Nvidia, and Siemens. The company’s software enables product, development, security, quality assurance, and operations teams of organisations to work concurrently on the same project.

Founded by Sijbrandij in 2011, GitLab established its presence in Singapore in 2019, with new hires, partners, and a mandate to revolutionise software development in Southeast Asia, local media had reported at the time.

Anu Shah to be venture partner

To manage OpenBook Ventures, GitLab has appointed Anu Shah as its venture partner, according to her profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

GitLab, however, did not confirm her appointment to DealStreetAsia.

Shah, a serial entrepreneur whose three startups were acquired in the past, was also the former managing director of Southeast Asia at the German incubator and investor Rocket Internet.

Her first venture EFI Hub — an Africa-focussed tech accelerator offering mentorship and a platform to raise capital for startups in fintech, edtech, and health tech — was acquired by the UK-based investment company Acorn Capital in 2018.

Shah’s second startup was the Rocket Internet-backed Ushift, a Singapore-based HR tech platform connecting gig workers with employers in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, which was also acquired.

Her most recent startup, an AI-based HR tech startup called Resume Ranks based in New York City, was acquired in early 2020.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.