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Behind the Software Q&A with Typesafe CTO Jonas Bonér

Behind the Software Q&A with Typesafe CTO Jonas Bonér

If you’re a developer, you’re probably aware of the schism between developer platforms. European and US-based Typesafe seeks to provide the next generation of developers with the tools to build reactive applications. We conducted a Q&A with Typesafe CTO and creator of Akka Jonas Bonér to learn how Typesafe sees the future of enterprise development.

About the Company


LOCATION: San Francisco, CA

CUSTOMERS: CSC, Gilt Groupe, LinkedIn, Lucidchart, The Guardian


What is your company’s mission?

To provide developers with the technologies, tools and experience to build reactive applications. While leveraging existing skill sets, tools and infrastructure software on the JVM, Typesafe enables enterprise developers to build next generation applications.

How was your company founded?

Typesafe was founded by the creators of the Scala programming language and the Akka Actor based middleware. Greylock Partners funded the company in early 2011 and brought together the two teams developing Scala and Akka.

What do you do differently from the competition?

Typesafe’s competition are other new developer platforms (like Node.JS) for building reactive applications. The approach from Typesafe is to help the developers build these applications while continuing to use tools, the Java language, and the JVM platform. Meaning, they don’t have to start over or violate any platform standards that are in place for the company they work for.

How is your company set up: office locations, size of team, customer base?

Typesafe has three primary office locations – Uppsala, Sweden, Lausanne, Switzerland, and San Francisco, CA. The Uppsala office is where the Akka project is developed, the Lausanne office is where much of the Scala language and tools (Scala IDE and Slick) are developed, and the San Francisco office houses most of the other functions for the company – Sales, Marketing, Services, G & A and the core Scala compiler team. Typesafe also has a number of engineers and services personnel dispersed throughout Europe, Pacific Rim and the United States. Typesafe’s customers are global, with 60% of them being in North America.

What does your ideal customer look like?

Typesafe’s technologies are used by small startups, large web businesses (LinkedIn, Twitter, and others) and enterprise corporations (GE, AXA Financial, Cisco, Juniper, the Guardian, Comcast, Nurun, UBS, and many others). The ideal customer is any developer or team of developers who are looking to build reactive – even driven, interactive, resilient, and/or scalable – applications.

Where is the segment you operate in headed? Where do you see it in 5 years?

We believe that the future of enterprise development is in reactive applications. What we mean by reactive is applications that are interactive, scalable, event-driven and resilient. The last couple of years we have seen some of the hot companies in our industry creating applications like this using custom-built platforms and libraries. Our mission in Typesafe is to create a platform that makes it easy for any company to enter this new world of reactive applications. Another trend, that is very much the enabler of these new kind of applications the move towards multicore and cloud computing architectures. This is a fundamentally new architecture to build applications on top of, that requires new tools and techniques, and in many ways a new way of thinking.

Who are the most interesting people/companies in your market segment right now and why (besides yourself)?

I think a lot of innovation happens in the JavaScript community with projects like Node.js, Meteor, Angular.js, Ember.js etc. Strong reactive JavaScript libraries like these will play a key role in future of modern web applications. There’s also a lot of innovation happening in the database/data management space. In particularly in the NOSQL community with projects like Riak, MongoDB, HyperDex, Datomic etc. but also in the DDD community with architectural patterns like CQRS and Event Sourcing. Exciting times.

Want to find more exclusive Q&As with CEOs and company founders? Head over to the Behind the Software Q&A section of the blog to browse the complete collection.

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N. Rowan

Director, Program Research,
Program Research, Editor, Expert in ERP, Cloud, Financial Automation