PullRequest, a five year old startup that came out of Y Combinator in 2017, helps software developers by providing an external code review team. This not only helps find bugs in code that might have been missed, it also helps identify security vulnerabilities before the software hits production.
Perhaps that's why HackerOne, a bug bounty company, acquired PullRequest today.
If you look at what HackerOne has done traditionally, it hires security professionals to find bugs in programs that could have a big impact if left undetected. PullRequest expands that capability by having a group of qualified code reviewers on call, who can detect a bug even before it gets into production.
HackerOne CTO Alex Rice sees a shift toward developers when it comes to security, and acquiring PullRequest gives him and his customers direct access to the development part of the cycle.
"A trend that we've been seeing across a lot of our customers is this real shift toward developers taking far more responsibility for security than they have in the past, which is a trend I'm really excited about. I fundamentally believe that developer-first security practices are the future of building trustworthy technology," Rice told me.
He said that the vast majority of bugs HackerOne has found have come after the software is already in production, and even though developers want to create more secure software, it's not always easy to have the bodies to do that. That's where PulRequest could help.
"We've got this intent for developers to start taking more responsibility for security, but this gap between what they would like to find and what they're capable of finding, so the role of PullRequests here is to bring the security expertise into the developer workflow where they need it most," he said.
Rice says he wasn't aware originally that PullRequest was looking at security vulnerabilities as part of the service when he approached PullRequest founder and CEO Lyal Avery about a possible partnership in September last year before realizing they were actually competing. But shortly after that the two companies began a discussion that culminated in the acquisition.
PullRequest launched in 2017 and raised almost $13 million, according to Crunchbase data. The last raise was an $8 million Series A in 2018. Avery says he has a network of 10,000 vetted reviewers of whom, about 1000 are active. All 12 employees have moved to HackerOne.
The deal closed last week. Neither company is disclosing the purchase price.