Docker has acquired AtomicJar, a testing startup that secured $25 million in funding back in January.

Tue Dec 12, 2023 - 7:20am GMT+0000

AtomicJar appeared to be a thriving early-stage startup that made waves last January with an impressive $25 million Series A funding round, a substantial amount by today’s standards. The company’s primary focus was the development of a commercial container testing platform, which was built upon a popular open-source project – a promising combination. It seemed like the perfect time for AtomicJar to seek product-market fit and soar to new heights. However, instead of going solo, the startup opted to join forces with Docker, a company renowned for pioneering container technology.

In today’s announcement, Docker revealed its acquisition of AtomicJar, welcoming the 19 employees into its newly established testing division. Although the specific purchase price wasn’t disclosed, it was sufficient to remove a well-funded startup with immense potential from the market.

Docker’s CEO, Scott Johnston, explained that his company had been diligently constructing a comprehensive suite of build, test, and deployment services within the Docker platform, targeting developers working on projects before they reach the production stage. With the acquisition of AtomicJar, Docker effectively acquired the critical testing component of this equation.

AtomicJar had a few advantages that made it an attractive proposition for Docker. Firstly, it was built on top of Docker’s technology. Additionally, it ranked among the top 10 most popular applications in the Docker marketplace. Johnston highlighted the success of Testcontainers, a product by AtomicJar, stating that it consistently ranked in the top 10 based on the number of downloads, with millions of downloads each month and over 600,000 unique IP addresses accessing it regularly.

So, what precisely is Docker gaining from this acquisition? Sergei Egorov, co-founder of AtomicJar, had previously noted that a significant challenge for developers was the reliance on representations of testing components rather than the actual software, leading to a lack of confidence in the accuracy of their tests in a live environment. Testcontainers addressed this issue by enabling testing against real versions of dependent software components.

Egorov had not initially set out to sell the company, and his investors typically encouraged companies at his stage to continue building. However, the alignment between Docker and AtomicJar, combined with a compelling offer, led him to make the decision to move forward with the acquisition.

Ed Sim, managing partner at Boldstart, an early investor in AtomicJar, acknowledged that his firm usually encourages founders to stay the course for the long term. However, in this case, the decision to sell was ultimately up to the founders, and they believed that joining forces with another company was the right move. Boldstart, as an early investor, was pleased with the sale and anticipates positive outcomes for both the founders and the firm.

Sim expressed excitement about the acquisition, emphasizing that AtomicJar had operated efficiently with a lean team of only 19 people, despite having raised a modest amount in its A round. The startup had garnered significant open-source traction and had counted major companies like Uber, Netflix, Spotify, and Capital One among its users. In total, AtomicJar had secured $29 million in funding before its acquisition by Docker.

AtomicJar’s co-founder, Richard North, originally initiated the Testcontainers open-source project in 2015. In 2021, he joined forces with Sergei Egorov to establish the commercial entity based on the open-source project, attracting prominent users and investors along the way.