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Acquisitions Handbook

Acquisition strategy

GitLab's key goal in pursuing acquisitions is to accelerate our roadmap and offer better tools to customers more quickly. We are seeking to introduce new product categories and mature early categories faster than by building everything internally. We want to acquire strong teams that have already built great tools and products relevant for GitLab customers and have them integrate their tech into GitLab.

Benefits to GitLab:

  1. Strengthen value prop in product categories with high growth and expected future profits
  2. Improve market perception and create a PR opportunity
  3. Win new customers and gain access to new accounts

Acquisition approach

We are looking for companies interested in helping deliver on our vision to create a single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle.

We offer an accelerated process (described below) for exits with a total deal consideration of less than $1M. This includes both early start-ups as well as more mature companies with limited business success. We value strong teams and technology that will help us accelerate our roadmap.

Acquisition target profile

Below is a set of general, yet not strict, characteristics of companies that are a potential fit for our accelerated acquisition process:

  1. Located in a country without GitLab hiring restrictions with a particular focus on EMEA
  2. Team size under 10 people
  3. Engineers that meet our standard hiring guidelines
  4. Have built features or functionalities which are aligned with GitLab's long term strategy
  5. Ideally bring a solution which accelerates our maturity in a product category according to our category maturity or fits into the new categories on our roadmap:

    New Categories

  6. Built a great product but is missing distribution
  7. Willing to reimplement products into GitLab in Ruby and Go
  8. Willing to sunset old customers within 90 days or less with an option to transition to GitLab. GitLab follows an open-core model
  9. Aligned to ship on the first month and iterate quickly
  10. Strong founders looking to join GitLab

Considering joining forces with GitLab

  1. Please review our handbook; it is the central repository for how we run the company.
  2. Spend time understanding if a remote culture is right for you and your team.

Why join GitLab?

  1. Quick transaction - We move fast and aim to close the deal in 1-2 months, money wired in 30 days
  2. We take care of people who won't work at GitLab - Every employee will have a soft landing. We will either make them an offer or we will pay up to 3 months or until they find a new job.
  3. Reach millions of users - did you build a great product but are missing distribution? We can ensure what you made will be used by more than 100,000 organizations and millions of users.
  4. Upside - Financial outcome if GitLab is successful (GitLab stock)
  5. Your team is in good company - GitLab is a unique place to work at with a leading product and a fascinating culture

What we offer

  1. The total purchase price of an acquisition will be up to $1M (all cash) plus attractive equity for founders, comprised of:
    1. Retention bonuses - We believe talent follows leadership they trust. GitLab will offer cash retention bonuses for founders, and engineers, to help in the transition and is conditional on employee interviews and offer acceptance:
      1. Each founder with more than 10% ownership of the company will receive up to $250,000 paid as follows: 20% at closing, 40% on the first anniversary of the closing and 40% on the second anniversary of the closing
      2. Each engineer will receive up to $60,000 paid as follows: 20% at closing, 40% on the first anniversary of the closing and 40% on the second anniversary of the closing.
    2. Assets payout - Where relevant, an all-cash payout for the assets in the deal may be included. GitLab stock will not be offered for the assets in the deal.
    3. Triple our normal stock option grants for founders
  2. Normal cash and stock option grants for non-founders
  3. Cash bonus on achieving milestones for customer transition to paid GitLab agreements, where relevant

What happens to your current company?

  1. We follow an asset purchase and not a stock purchase in order to limit unexpected liabilities. Please review our Term Sheet for additional details.

Hear from the founders of our previous acquisitions

Andrew Newdigate, “Throughout Gitter's acquisition process, GitLab was an excellent partner. We started the process in mid-December, and by mid-January, the team were onboard and had joined GitLab's summit in Cancún, Mexico. Compared to previous acquisition attempts that we had been through with other companies, the professionalism and focus of the GitLab team was refreshing. It quickly became apparent to me that Sid, Paul and the team at GitLab were interested in striking a fair deal, and were as concerned about the outcome for the Gitter team as my co-founder and I were. In the year-and-half since, GitLab has continued to be a great home for Gitter and I'm incredibly proud to be part of the team.”

Philippe Lafoucrière, "When GitHub announced they would provide a Security graph and alerts, we knew we would not be able to compete with them. That meant the end of the story for us and our product. It was time to find a new home for the team. We started discussions with GitLab in November 2017 and officially joined the company in mid-January 2018. The whole process was seamless, with a particular care for the team. Expectations from both sides were discussed, with mutual respect and understanding. The founders made themselves available for us at anytime, and we had regular meetings for several months until we all estimated the situation stable enough. Onboarding a whole team at once is a challenge: the peopleops team did everything they could to help and to make them feel comfortable with their new positions. They were happy to continue on the foundations we’ve built over the years while being able to contribute to a greater goal. We managed to identify with the management where we could have the best impact, and provide results as soon as possible. I don’t see anything GitLab could have done differently to make this acquisition smoother. The most important value to follow in this kind of event is Trust (because you can only lose it once). GitLab, and especially its CEO, was incredibly clear and respectful during all the process and beyond."

Gemnasium: Our GitLab journey

Keys to successful acquisitions

  1. Managing people’s expectations and concerns
  2. Successful integration execution
  3. Maintain a non-biased view on target companies’ value

Starting an acquisition discussion with GitLab

If you are interested in starting acquisition discussions with GitLab, please send an email to Corporate Development to connect and start the process. It's important to add that we're open to other types of acquisitions, aside from softlandings, and would be happy to engage in those conversations.

Acquisition process

Learn more about our internal acquisition process and how you can prepare for an efficient process.

Performance indicators

See our performance indicators.

Contact us

For additional information contact Corporate Development.