Github has announced a Series A round of venture funding today. They are taking 100 million USD from Andreessen Horowitz – and at least the first part of the name should be familiar to software developers.
The announcement is a surprise as Github has always refrained from taking venture money. No surprise is their goal of making Github an essential infrastructure component for all software development. I have heard that sentence a couple of times already. But I haven’t seen it working out for anybody taking venture funding so far.
JBoss was innovative and disruptive and they claim they had commercial success (see how they have done it). When they took venture capital they started defending their trademark in a way that drove away the ecosystem they built before. Luckily RedHat’s acquisition brought things to a happy ending for both the founders and the community.
SpringSource was innovative and disruptive and the technology broadly adopted. When they took venture money they made a couple of very smart acquisitions, but also tried to sell maintenance they previously offered for free. The community didn’t like this at all. Then they became acquired themselves by VMWare and their business model changed completely. It seems the negative vibrations around the technology have gone away with that acquisition.
Github is innovative and disruptive and very broadly adopted. Lets hope that they do not have to change their business model to fulfill the ROI expectations of their investors. I don’t mean to be negative, Github is an excellent company and they have gotten very far already in becoming an essential pillar of software development. And an investment of 100 million into a development tools company is a great signal for the tools industry. The software revolution can only be accomplished with the right set of tools, and the Eclipse ecosystem is a great place for tools that complement Github. So I am looking forward to them to succeed.