Paul Biggar got started as a computer engineer early in life. He became a specialist in the field of compilers (software engineers use compilers to test code to see if it works or not). He liked compilers so much he completed a PhD on the topic.
Paul had a few false starts as an entrepreneur, including a stint in the Y-Combinator program, but nothing really took off.
Eventually in his late twenties, while working at Mozilla, Paul foresaw that the process of compiling and testing software will move to the cloud. He had the skillset and experience to understand the need, so decided to launch another startup — and CircleCi.com was born.
Paul, along with his co-founder, built the first version of CircleCi, charging a monthly fee for access. They were able to acquire early clients thanks to a strategic investor who introduced them to 20+ companies who needed what CircleCI offered.
The Road To A Billion Dollar Valuation
During the interview Paul said he didn’t expect CircleCI to one day crack unicorn status. At the time of this recording, during the most recent round of funding, CircleCI was valued at $1.7 billion dollars.
Paul stayed on as CEO all the way up to their A round of funding, raising $6 million at a $20+ million valuation. He left after this, when he realized he was more of a product guy than a CEO who has to focus on culture and hiring.
Paul today remains on the board of directors of CircleCI, but is focussed on DarkLang.com, an ambitious project aimed to take out the layers of complexity that software developers have to deal with when coding applications.
I appreciate Paul taking the time during the interview to break down some of the more technical aspects of what he has built and what he is still working on.
As a technical co-founder, this podcast will especially be of interest because Paul offers his advice on how to succeed as a technical founder.
Enjoy the episode.