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Linear raises $13M in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital

Karri Saarinen
Dec 8, 2020 · 6 min read

At Linear our focus has been on empowering builders to focus on their work of creating software. In the past year, we have come a long way and we are excited to share the latest milestones in our journey.

Today, we’re announcing that we’ve raised $13M in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital and a slew of new product updates aimed at re-envisioning the principles and practices of building and continue developing the best in class tool for teams to create software.

Hundreds of startups today–from early teams to growth stage companies–use Linear to develop software and build magical products and customer experiences. Linear’s tool and product development methodology is becoming the standard for high-performing teams and the 1,000 people strong Linear Slack community is a hub of builders. Startups especially mention how Linear helps keep up momentum and find product-market fit faster.

“I think that one of the things that really high performing teams do is go from product feedback and into an execution plan of how we are going to get this delivered to that customer today, this week or this month. You err towards speed of execution because that’s how you find product market fit and that’s ultimately what “make something people want” means. Linear, in my opinion, is optimized for this and where it’s best in class.”

— Troy Goode, Founder & CEO @ Courier

Tools like Linear have become even more critical as companies operate remotely. The tools are the new office and the way of making decisions and communicating ideas:

Linear has been super helpful in transitioning to remote. Beforehand a lot of our conversations in person would ensure that nobody was doing the same work twice but now we need to have everything in Linear. Just to keep track of what’s going on. I can’t just roll my chair over and ask my coworker, “Hey, did you take a look at this.”

— Danielle Schugars, Software Engineer @ Render

The Linear team itself is fully remote and distributed across North America and Europe (we’re hiring!), and we think making a product that excels in a remote environment, means it will excel anywhere.

It’s our mission to help the next generation of startups build their companies and we’ve been especially honored to see the vast majority of our users become paying customers as we launched pricing plans this summer. This is fantastic validation of the product we have built and of course means a healthy and sustainable business for Linear.

Following this progress, to accelerate and to continue taking Linear to the next level we’ve partnered again with Sequoia Capital for our Series A. Stephanie Zhan who led our seed round last year will join our board. We admire and resonate with Sequoia’s and Stephanie’s long-term approach to company building and respect their exceptional track record of backing category-defining companies.

In addition, several industry leaders are participating in this round and bringing on their insights and networks: Dick Costolo (ex-CEO Twitter), Adam Bain (ex-COO Twitter), Patrick Collison (CEO, Stripe), Lenny Rachitsky (Lenny’s Newsletter, Airbnb), Harry Stebbings (20min VC) and Aston Motes (dev/color, Dropbox #1 engineer).

They will join our existing investors including Dylan Field (CEO, Figma), Emilie Choi (COO, Coinbase), Gustaf Alströmer (Partner, YC), Bobby Goodlatte (Form), Jude Gomila (CEO, Golden), Julia DeWahl (SpaceX).

The additional $13M in Series A funding brings our total funding to $17.2M. The funding and the support from our new and existing investors, give us the resources really acclerate and go after defining the new standard for software development.

Issue tracking lies at the heart of any software team’s workflow which is why we focused on solving this core pain point first. However, we know that building magical products and successful companies requires a lot more than fast and easy issue tracking. To build well, teams need a meaningful direction, clear communication and seamless coordination. Solving the human side of product management which includes implementing effective processes and then scaling them as their company grows in size as well as through different stages in the product development lifecycle.

As move to towards building product building, today we launch a few of our biggest features yet:

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One of the most important aspects when building any product or company is to set the direction. An effective roadmap shares a unified vision and aligns teams to build toward that. Without a clear direction, it’s hard for any company to make meaningful progress, especially startups who have finite product cycles available to test product-market fit before runway runs out.

Despite how critical roadmaps are to success, in many companies they’re not visible for everyone, up to date or connected to the execution of product and company deliverables. The Linear Roadmap solves this by generating a project-based roadmap–always up-to-date, accessible to all teammates and with clearly defined milestones–to encourage best practices in roadmap planning and execution.

Enable roadmaps for your workspace in settings and read more about our roadmaps in the Linear Method.

When Linear opened for everyone six months ago, we quickly started seeing companies and developers building integrations and add-ons for Linear. We see Linear as a critical tool for company building and we don’t want to lock it down. Linear should be a platform that connects with more of your external and internal tools. With this launch, we’ve added OAuth in addition to our GraphQL API, to make it easier and more secure for developers to build and use integrations with Linear.

At Linear we like to build in public. We publish a weekly changelog to celebrate our progress and share it with our customers.

To help give a holistic picture of what is new in Linear, we created a new Linear Release page which highlights new features as well as major improvements developed in the last six months. The theme for the second half of 2020 was to improve the core experience of Linear:

  • Made the interface more tactile by allowing easy list selection, drag&drop, supporting global undo with cmd+z, and having right click context menus.
  • View options that let you quickly change sorting, hide and show attributes, and switch between list and board views
  • Reworked our notification system to include granular controls
  • Views which let you create and save custom filtered views for yourself or shared with the team or the whole company
  • Made creating sub-issues more flexible
  • Added SAML SSO option for more secure and controlled authentication
  • Enabled themes to allow everyone to customize how Linear looks

See all the new features by heading to the Linear Release page.

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We started Linear 20 months ago with a simple insight: building software is becoming increasingly complicated. The current approach is to layer more processes and cumbersome tools. We want to see a world where we unwind all of this by providing the practices and tools fit to the builder workflow and letting the team focus on the act of building.

Here’s to the next 20 months. We are grateful for all the support we have received from our customers, partners and investors. Let’s make software as a craft feel magical again.

Linear

The issue tracking tool you’ll enjoy to use.

Thanks to Erin Frey

Karri Saarinen

Written by

Cofounder, CEO Linear. Past: Principal Designer & co-creator design systems Airbnb. Founding design Coinbase . Cofounded Kippt, Rails Girls. YC Alumn

Linear

Linear

The issue tracking tool you’ll enjoy to use.

Karri Saarinen

Written by

Cofounder, CEO Linear. Past: Principal Designer & co-creator design systems Airbnb. Founding design Coinbase . Cofounded Kippt, Rails Girls. YC Alumn

Linear

Linear

The issue tracking tool you’ll enjoy to use.

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