At Accel we’ve backed a long list of start-ups whose mission is to improve the developer experience, from those that have grown into public companies – notably Atlassian, PagerDuty or Slack – to more recent investments including Snyk, Rasa, Sentry, Humio, Vercel, or Split. As the developers’ role in organizations becomes paramount, products that help them work faster, more collaboratively, and more securely will continue to find a growing market.
But there is a flipside to this story. As more tools have been placed at the developer’s disposal, fragmentation has started to become a problem. Moving between a handful of different platforms may be manageable, but as that number grows, repeated context-switching becomes a burden. Too many tools designed to help developers work better can have the opposite effect – reducing rather than boosting productivity. Functionality in theory becomes friction in practice.
This is where we believe Raycast, a young company we’re backing out of Y Combinator, can make an important difference. Through a delightful command line interface, Raycast provides the search functionality of macOS Spotlight, paired with deep API connections that allow developers to work seamlessly across different platforms, develop custom integrations, and automate their workflows. It provides one-stop access to the growing suite of developer tools as well as the functionality to use and integrate these services more intelligently. Without leaving Raycast a developer can, for example, create an issue in Jira, review pull requests in GitHub, or join a Zoom call.
Raycast directly addresses a problem that was begging to be solved – the growing burden on developer time, one of the most valuable resources of any company. Raycast reduces the time developers spend on non-coding tasks, estimated to take up to 50% of an average day. Importantly, it doesn’t seek to replace existing systems, instead acting as a productivity add-on that helps developers work better with the software tools they have.
Co-founders Thomas and Petr, both former Facebook engineers, have a clear product vision and a compelling design approach. While first-time founders, they’re also a proven team who’ve demonstrated their ability to drive product adoption at Facebook, where they helped build a 100,000-strong developer community around their work with Spark AR. The clarity of their vision and early evidence of execution shone through in our remote-only conversations and convinced us they’re a team we’d love to back.
While focused for the time being on developers, their fundamental insight – that people need a better way to manage the growing roster of software we all use at work – is one with a wide relevance for all users. Developer or not, everyone’s working life is going to involve more and more software tools in the future. Products such as Raycast, which offer a beautifully simple way of interacting with your entire application suite, could play an important role in shaping that landscape.