flox, a startup making Nix easier for developers, has secured $16.5 million in a Series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates. This brings the total funding for the company to $27 million.
flox simplifies Nix, the popular open-source tool for reproducible builds and deployments, by providing the necessary tooling and adding enterprise-level features such as collaboration. This makes it easier for developers to access Nix’s extensive repository of curated packages, making Nix more accessible to the enterprise.
DESCOvery, the venture studio of the multinational hedge fund D.E. Shaw, incubated flox. Addition and Hetz are among the other backers, as are angel investors such as GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke, Snyk founder Guy Podjarny, and former Docker VP and Microsoft for Startups CTO and now Sotheby’s CTO James Turnbull.
Ron Efroni and Michael Brantley co-founded the company. Efroni began his career in the Israeli Defense Forces’ Unit 8200, then founded two Chicago-based startups before joining Facebook, where he led the company’s developer products arm. Brantley, on the other hand, comes from an academic background, having worked at Rice and Princeton, where he managed the Unix interoperability lab before joining D.E. Shaw in the mid-1990s.
Brantley openly admitted that Nix presented a challenge, but they were able to overcome it by adding a layer around it. The potential commercial opportunity was noticed by D.E. Shaw’s own venture arm, which spun it into flox.
“The aim was to make Nix, an incredibly powerful technology, accessible to more developers on a global scale,” said Efroni, who is also a member of the NixOS Foundation board. “Our mission is two-fold and both are difficult to achieve with Nix. First, we aim to reduce the barriers to adopting Nix technology and second, bridge the gap to the enterprise by making Nix work with the necessary tools and processes for an enterprise to even consider using it,” he added.
According to the team, the way enterprises build software is changing, with larger code bases and more complex software dependencies, all while cloud-native technologies have changed how these applications are deployed. Nix promises to simplify the build and development process by making it easily reproducible and allowing developers to declaratively share their development and build environments.