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VMware is buying Bitnami, a hot developer startup that raised almost no venture capital investment, to boost its cloud strategy (VMW)

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  • VMware is buying Bitnami, a San Francisco-based startup that makes pre-packaged software apps. The price of the deal was not disclosed.
  • The Bitnami founders said they decided to sell after realizing that they would have had to raise venture capital cash to keep growing — the company had only raised a scant $1.1 million in seed funding, and thought that going after more investment capital would be risky. 
  • Buying Bitnami boosts VMware’s pursuit of a multi-cloud strategy.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

VMware is buying Bitnami, the maker of pre-packaged applications for the cloud, after the startup’s founders decided that it was risky to keep going without raising more money.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The San Francisco-based Bitnami makes software app packages that make it easier for developers to build services in different cloud formats. It got started with help from angel investors and the famed Y Combinator startup accelerator, and grew to become a profitable business. All told, Bitnami only raised $1.1 million — practically nothing compared to the hundreds of millions and billions of venture capital dollars invested in companies like Uber or WeWork.

However, founders Daniel Lopez and Erica Brescia knew they needed more money to keep moving forward.

"We primarily bootstrapped the business, having raised just $1.1M from Y Combinator and a handful of great angels, when we were already profitable," they wrote in a blog post announcing the sale.

But "we realized that, if we wanted to continue to grow, we would have to raise money, as building an enterprise salesforce is not easy to do when you are bootstrapped," they wrote. "This was a decision we didn’t take lightly, but not raising money had its own risks, including potentially missing a window of opportunity in the industry."

Buying Bitnami is expected to help VMware pursue a multi-cloud strategy, which allows companies to create and manage computing infrastructures that run across any combination of platforms, including their own data centers, as well as mega-clouds like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. 

Software application packages are key to this effort, said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who called Bitnami a "small but well-respected player in the space among customers and partners."

"App packaging tools are becoming increasingly important for enterprises and this acquisition is a smart one for VMware," he told Business Insider.

Referring to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, he added: "VMware is in a position of strength in the cloud and this deal is another feather in the cap for Gelsinger & Co.  This will further court developers and customers which is the name of the game for VMware going forward."

In a blog post, Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president for VMware’s strategy and corporate development, "Bitnami’s packaged application catalog enables developers to quickly and easily deploy open and closed source software to the world’s leading cloud providers as well as on their own servers."

VMware has been betting big on multi-cloud: Back in November, it acquired Heptio, one of the key startups in the market for Kubernetes — a hot developer technology that makes it easy to write software and deploy it across multiple clouds and servers. It’s also cozied up to both Amazon Web Services, and, more recently, Microsoft

Got a tip about VMware or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at bpimentel@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @benpimentel, or send him a secure message through Signal at 510.731.8429. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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