The terminal often feels like an afterthought and there hasn’t been much innovation in this area for a long time. Warp, which is launching its public beta today and announcing $23 million in funding, is trying to change that by building a new command-line terminal designed to make developers more productive. For now, Warp’s public beta is only available on macOS, but the company promises Windows and Linux versions in the future.
As the company announced today, it has previously raised a $6 million seed round led by GV, with the participation of Neo and BoxGroup. It has now also raised a $17 million Series A round led by Dylan Field, the co-founder and CEO of Figma. Other participants in this (somewhat unusual) entrepreneur-led round are Elad Gil, former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and Salesforce co-founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff.
“I’ve been a developer for 20 years now,” Zach Lloyd, co-founder and CEO of Warp, who was previously a chief engineer at Google and Time’s interim CTO, told me. “I’ve always been a terminal user. I’ve always found it a bit of a weird app to be honest. […] But it is an interesting app in the sense that it is ubiquitous. You will walk past a developer’s desk and they will have a terminal open. There are only a few such apps: the terminal and the code editor. So I thought it was an interesting leverage point to do something that would impact all developers. And then, if you can get really good at it, you really get a lot of real productivity gains.”
Out of the box Warp works with shells such as zsh, fish and bash. In many ways, the user experience is reminiscent of a modern text editor, with autosuggestions for code completion and menus, for example. But there are also features like cursor positioning, the ability to go back through your terminal history command to command the output and then copy it with a single click, built-in documentation, and more. Those are features that may seem obvious at first glance, but aren’t really available in today’s terminals. Being able to move the cursor wherever you want shouldn’t be new to terminals in 2022, but it is.
The Warp terminal, of course, features standards such as tabs, split windows, keyboard shortcuts, and built-in SSH support. Warp also allows developers to share their workflows with the rest of their teams.
At Google, Lloyd worked on Google Docs and he noted that he took something away from that, which is that when you can take an existing desktop app and add collaboration and teamwork to it, you can unlock quite a bit of extra productivity.
It’s no surprise, then, that collaboration is part of what he hopes will make Warp stand out and part of the company’s monetization strategy. Currently, the collaboration features are mainly focused on the ability to easily share commands and their output, as well as workflows, but soon Warp will also introduce the ability to share.
It’s worth noting that for Warp, the terminal is just the beginning. As Lloyd noted, the company’s mission is to “increase developer productivity. It is not to build the best terminal that has ever existed.” The idea here is to build a platform, with the terminal in the middle, as well as something akin to a distribution point to do other things, which could be a code editor, an app building platform, or for cloud-based development.”But that’s not the focus to start with. I think these are opportunities that will arise if we run Warp really well,” Lloyd said.
Marc Benioff certainly seems excited about it. “We are delighted to be partnering again with a great entrepreneur, Zach Lloyd,” he said. “Developers will benefit immensely from the genius of warp.the V.” so is Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, who works in stealth at a new startup. “I have used” warp every day at work,” he said in a canned statement. “My favorite thing is the speed: both in terms of how fast it works and how fast you feel while using it, especially the excellent type-ahead and search. warp brings terminals into the modern age and can’t wait to see where they go warp†