Vancouver’s Tasktop making push deeper into data integration market

The Tasktop Integration Hub, focused on software development, provides integration services between large numbers of lifecycle and dev/ops tools – but the company is planning to expand its capabilities.

Neelan Choksi, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tasktop Technologies

It has been a big year for Tasktop Technologies. The Vancouver-based company announced a major revamp of their product in January and a second round of funding in April. It’s all part of an initiative in which the company is looking to expand the services it provides, and which its channel will play a more important part.

Tasktop is a ten year-old company, whose CEO was a UBC PhD who created and led the Eclipse Mylyn open source project for task management. It gets 1.5 million downloads a month and makes developers more productive. When he graduated, he and others started Tasktop, which now has 70 employees. They bootstrapped themselves for seven years and have since raised two rounds of funding.

“Everyone does transformations to improve software delivery, and they buy tools to implement transformation,” said Neelan Choksi, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tasktop Technologies. “These tools, however, have to be connected and automated, and that was the hole begging to be filled. We try to be a Toyota production system for building software – a lean production system for how software is built. We take different tools from different vendors that don’t talk together, and we connect the whole.”

Choksi said that the big opportunity here has been created by a perfect storm of changes in industry best practices.

“Ten years ago, software release cycles were all 12-24 months, but now everyone is trying to get much faster because of the impact of B2C,” he said. “Back then, it was fairly easy to choose best of breed tools that came from different vendors and work with them, with developers writing to the APIs. Now, though, releases are so quick that APIs change and manual changes break.”

Tasktop’s Integration Hub facilitates the automatic flow of the required information to the dev team’s Agile planning tool, and to the tester’s test management tool, so everyone gets up-to-date and complete information on their tool of choice.

“We have relationships with all these vendors, so we know about API changes ahead of time,” Choksi said. These include about 50 two-way vendor relationships and 100 1-way relationships.

Wesley Coelho, Director, Business Development at Tasktop

“Vendors don’t have these connections in-house because of the competitive aspect,” said Wesley Coelho, Director, Business Development at Tasktop. “They need to be able to integrate with competitors though, and it also makes no sense for every vendor to build out an integration strategy to every other vendor. We can build relationships with these competing vendors and supply the IP back to all of them.” This also provides much greater visibility than the fragmented data from individual lifecycle and Dev/Ops tools.

Tasktop has about a dozen OEM partners who license their Integration Hub for software distribution. These include IBM, CA and HPE, whose Discover attend Tasktop recently attended.

“There are VAR and SI strategies as well, that help organizations with their dev/ops transformation journey,” Coelho said. About two-thirds of their sales are direct and a third are channel, with the channel component having been around for years, within a year and a half of launching the company.

“So far though, we haven’t been working with the big SIs, the big VARs, or the big distributors,” Choksi said.

The latest round of funding is designed largely to improve the go-to-market development, marketing and sales activities for the Tasktop IntegrationHub.

“We think we are really just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of solving this huge problem,” Choksi said. “The new funding is to do a lot more of what we have been doing. The visibility that we provide lets companies find and overcome bottlenecks in their process. The next big step is helping companies be more efficient. Today, we do the integration piece, but there’s so much more we can do with the aggregated data, including providing, for the first time, an end-to-end view of their full lifecycle.”