Branch, a Docker-based continuous integration service for WordPress, has been selected for TinySeed’s startup accelerator. The company was founded by Peter Suhm who is also the creator of WP Pusher, a plugin that lets developers install and update WordPress themes and plugins directly from GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab.
TinySeed, founded by Rob Walling and Einar Vollset, is a remote accelerator that focuses on providing enough funding for early-stage SaaS founders to live for a year and focus full-time on their startups. It advertises itself as “the first startup accelerator designed for bootstrappers.” TinySeed is unique in that it does not have a bias against single founders. The website states that the majority of successful $1m-$30m SaaS companies that TinySeed is connected with were started by founders working alone.
Branch fits the bill as a SaaS company with a single founder and no employees. As part of the investment terms, TinySeed invests $120k for the first founder (plus $20k per additional founder) in exchange for 8-15% equity. If founders do not need the money for living expenses they are free to spend it on growing the business. Both Branch and WP Pusher are included in Suhm’s participation in TinySeed.
“WP Pusher was doing just enough to pay my bills living in a fairly cheap city (Glasgow), but not enough to pay a full time developer salary,” Suhm said. “However, I didn’t spend much time on WP Pusher in the past few years and was working part time for other companies – mainly Timekit as a backend developer.”
Suhm said the TinySeed investment will allow him to work full time on Branch and WP Pusher for at least a year or two without having to worry about making a salary.
“I may also decide to make a hire during the program, but I want the product to be a little bit more mature,” he said. “In terms of the roadmap, I’ll be able to focus more on building the best tool and less about making a lot of money in the beginning.”
Branch and WP Pusher are fairly unique products in the WordPress space. Suhm said he sees most of his competition coming from continuous integration services that are not tailored to WordPress.
“However, my biggest competitor at the moment is probably manual labor – WordPress developers testing and deploying everything manually,” Suhm said.
TinySeed received approximately 900 applications from which they will select 10-15 companies for participation in 2019. Co-founder Rob Walling has knowledge of the WordPress ecosystem, as he previously invested in WP Engine’s 2011 round of funding.
“Peter has a distinct advantage with Branch in that he’s building on the audience, customer base, and domain knowledge he’s developed with WP Pusher,” TinySeed co-founder Rob Walling said. “His methodical approach to shipping code and content every week has been a good signal for us that he’s pushing the product forward, as well as a key factor in building Branch’s traction in the space.”
Branch is joining a handful of other SaaS companies that have already been selected for 2019, including ClientSherpa, Gather, SimSaaS, Reimbi, and Castos.