I’ve been sitting on this one for a while (more on that below) but now that TechCrunch and Mashable have let the cat out of the bag I can finally share it here as well: Portland-based PHP Fog has just raised $1.8MM in a Series A led by Madrona Venture Group with support from First Round Capital, Founders Co-op and a fantastic list of angels.
This started out as a seed / angel raise back in September, but as word spread about what CEO + founder Lucas Carlson was up to the round morphed into a more traditional Series A, giving Lucas plenty of running room to tackle what all of his investors believe is a huge opportunity: turning the wildly popular PHP scripting language into a cloud-based web development platform — with effortless framework deployment, code management, hosting and N-tier scaling built in. More than 75% of all websites use PHP as their server-side programming language, including at least one site you may have heard of: Facebook.com. PHP is also the technology behind popular open-source content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.
Lucas has played an instrumental role in building several other great products and companies but this is first swing at running his own show. When I was first introduced to him Lucas was also a solo founder, which is usually a non-starter for us as investors (he’s since built a killer engineering team and has an equally strong business hire in the wings). But I liked him so much personally, and his understanding of the developer market was so strong (in addition to his in-house product work Lucas is a seasoned hired gun, open-source contributor and author of O’Reilly’s Ruby Cookbook), that I knew we needed to invest. With this round now closed — and an incredible roster of investors and advisors arrayed behind him — Lucas can finally get back to doing what he loves most — making the world a better place for developers.
As a side-note, PHP Fog is Founders Co-op’s second Portland-based bet (Urban Airship was the first), and only reinforces our view that Portland is a fantastically rich and under-appreciated hotbed of technical talent and creativity. I’ll be spending even more time in Portland now, so if you’re a PDX-based entrepreneur and want to connect next time I’m in town, just give a shout…