avatar for Jesse Robbins

Jesse Robbins

Founder Chef, DevOps, etc. Now a founder-aligned VC.
San Francisco, CA

I am General Partner at Heavybit, the leading early stage investor and program for developer tools and infrastructure startups. I currently serve on the boards of Sanity.io and Mobot, and work closely with most of the companies in our portfolio. 

I am perhaps best known for founding Chef, the early pioneer of Cloud Infrastructure Automation. Chef became the market leader used by customers like Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, and thousands of other organizations with hundreds of thousands of developers. Chef was acquired by Progress Software for $220m in 2020. 

While building Chef, also was founding chair of the Velocity Web Performance, & Operations Conference, editor of the Web Operations book, and a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar. These efforts became in what we now call the DevOps movement.

Prior to O’Reilly, I served for 5 years as Amazon.com’s “Master of Disaster” where I was responsible for Website Availability for every website bearing the Amazon brand. I created the GameDay Program, which has been widely adopted by many other leading websites. The knowledge, experiences, and opportunities to make big changes at Amazon set the direction & trajectory of my career.

I was honored to recieve MIT Technology Review’s prestigious TR35 award for having “transformed the way companies design and manage complex networks of servers and software”. 

My career and education in building high-growth technology startups began when I was 16, starting as an early employee of a bay area ISP through acquisition and international expansion. I was self-taught, starting with writing software for managing dial-up modem banks and quickly rising to responsibility for deploying the network backbone for many of the first home broadband connections in the US.

After a different startup IPO in 1999, I took a detour to complete a professional Firefighter/EMT certification program at Mission College and intern with the Palo Alto Fire Department. I continue to serve as Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Manager. I continue to volunteer, including having led a task force deployed in Operation Hurricane Katrina. 

My experiences in the fire service profoundly influence my work in technology, and I strive to distill my knowledge from these two worlds and apply it in service of both.