Docker raises $95m in series D funding: Analyst describes “huge gamble” ahead

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.


Open container platform Docker has announced $95m (£64.3m) in series D funding, in a move to “address the needs of the millions of ecosystem users and thousands of enterprises that have standardised on Docker’s technology.”

The funding round was led by Insight Venture Partners, with eight other firms putting their change in the bowl, including new investors Coatue, Goldman Sachs and Northern Trust. Docker’s last funding round, in September 2014, was $40m (£27.1m), led by Sequoia. Overall, the company has raised around $160m (£108.2m).

Jeff Horing, co-founder of Insight, said in a statement: “This financing is a strong vote of confidence in Docker management, and strengthens the company’s ability to fulfil the needs of the millions of developers who have made the commitment to utilising its breakthrough products and services in their daily work.” Solomon Hykes, Docker founder and CTO, said: “Our responsibility is to give people the tools they need to create applications that weren’t possible before. We will continue to honour that commitment to developers and enterprises.”

With all this VC cash knocking around, it’s easy to forget that two years ago, Docker was simply an offshoot of dotCloud, which was sold to CloudControl in August 2014 to focus squarely on the container business. As fashionable tech startups go it’s certainly up there right now; partnerships with Microsoft, Google, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace among others have helped, with Docker being described as “the next big thing in cloud computing.”

Yet questions are being raised over how Docker will best utilise this latest cash injection. Benjamin Golub, Docker chief executive, told the New York Times the company hadn’t yet spent all the money raised from its second round of financing.

It’s not uncommon for companies to exit, or go public, with little to show in the way of profitability. Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at Finspreads, tells CloudTech: “[Docker’s] technology is already extremely popular with software engineers and its effects are profound. This, in addition to its huge ambition and desire to expand at such a rate that it pushes all other competition out of the way, is meaning that it is having a huge impact on the marketplace and attracting plenty of attention.”

She adds: “The extra funding will be directed towards building Docker’s products out [and] making the technology work more efficiently. However it is a huge gamble, and we have seen on many occasions that massive amounts of funding don’t necessarily translate to a successful technology business.”

As businesses are beginning to discover, cloud computing is simply a consumption model for them to buy and build their applications and improve business efficiency. Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, told this publication in March how Docker, in combination with scalable network MPLS, is a viable model as Docker “does a brilliant job of abstracting the way to understand the VM, so you don’t really care what’s happening below.”

Cincotta adds: “The bet here is clearly that the market will continue to grow.”

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