Wake Forest-based TruStacks has a bold goal: solve problems with software delivery within the next five years. But it’s one that co-founders Gary Shaffer and Jared Patrick, who spun out the startup from their consulting firm Cornerstone, are confident they can achieve.
Says Patrick, “Our goal is to allow you to reduce your operational complexity, keep your intellectual property focused on the product, increase your hiring capability and really just ease the burden of delivering software without it having to be a new area of knowledge.”
As a DevOps orchestration platform, TruStacks helps companies stop wasting time configuring their own tools and integrations. The platform has built-in best practices based on well-known frameworks.
“We are getting developers to the point where they don’t feel like they always have to crack open the hood when something goes wrong,” Patrick said. “Just focus on your code, and if it breaks, we’ve got a procedure to solve it.”
A Church Connection Becomes The Start of A Company
Patrick and Shaffer met at their church years back when Shaffer was already running Cornerstone in Wake Forest. Once Patrick came onboard, the duo noticed some commonalities in the ways companies were solving problems with DevOps. So they wanted to figure out how to product-ize a solution.
Their first attempt was with a product called Zero, which they brought through the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) in 2020. The accelerator sparked them to make some changes, narrow their focus and ultimately begin TruStacks this year.
Patrick and Shaffer said TruStacks is different from its competitors because it standardizes the software delivery process so companies can save time and just run their code.
Entirely bootstrapped right now, TruStacks is creating an open-source version of their product that is pre-configured for any program. They plan to unveil the latest TruStacks version by the end of the year, but the process to get here has required the founders to stay patient.
“If you are impatient and you don’t have the ability to persevere, you’re probably just going to quit,” Patrick said. “As engineers, we want it to be perfect. We want it to just work. But you do have to be willing to say, start small.”
The ability to change course when you realize something is going in the wrong direction is also vital, he added.
“Tackling and identifying what is a minimally viable product is probably smaller than you think,” Patrick said. “Throughout the process, I had to be very willing to let go of what I thought was the right thing.”
When Zero turned into TruStacks and the pandemic happened to hit around the same time, Shaffer said they were reinvigorated to propel the company forward.
“We had this vision of ‘let’s put hands on the keyboard and actually make it happen,’” Shaffer said. “And we still have the same vision. It’s just that now we’ve finally been able to start with something small, that’s consumable, but also scalable.”
Because Covid dramatically impacted staffing as well, TruStacks has had an increasingly powerful selling point in that they work to maintain developers’ frameworks no matter which employees come and go.
“If they were built by some random architect or engineer and that person leaves, they possibly took all that knowledge with them,” Patrick said. “And then it can actually put an organization in a really dangerous position because today’s modern systems become tomorrow’s legacy systems.”