Social Coding Platform GitHub Gets $100m Investment

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Having become a central resource for software developers, GitHub has now accepted its first outside investment, with plans to make the platform ‘an awesome experience’

The business of software development continues to attract attention from top flight investors, as GitHub announced its acceptance of a $100 million (£64m) round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz. The $100 million the venture capital firm invested in GitHub is the venture capital firm’s single largest investment to date.

GitHub is a rapidly growing collaborative software development platform and the leader in public and private code sharing and hosting. It is a web-based hosting service for software development projects that use the Git revision control system.

Success

GitHub offers both paid plans for private repositories, and free accounts for open source projects. It is the most popular Git hosting site, and the most popular open source hosting site.

In less than five years, GitHub has become the world’s largest and most trusted code sharing and hosting community with over 1.7 million users and over 3 million Git repositories. Its collaborative environment, which includes GitHub.com, desktop and mobile apps, and GitHub Enterprise, enables developers and companies across a broad spectrum.

Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Peter Levine said the $100 million is the first and only outside investment GitHub has ever taken. GitHub has up to now been satisfied with bootstrapping. The company had been approached before, but turned down investment as it has been profitable practically from day one, according to its founders.

In a post on 9 July Levine explained that GitHub had taken an established technology category and “turned it on its head”.

“Source Code Management (SCM) is the second most fundamental tool for a programmer after compiler and development tools,” Levine wrote. “It stores, versions and branches source code being developed by teams of programmers. At scale, these systems become highly complex and often difficult to manage. In addition, historically SCMs have been anti-social. The No. 1 conversation they generate is referred to as: ‘Who broke the build?’ GitHub solves these two problems.”

People vs. code

GitHub “organises projects around people rather than code”, and simplifies management issues by running one SCM in the cloud, rather than forcing every development team to run its own, Levine wrote.

He added that “because modern programming tends to be about assembling code – in the form of libraries, open source work, etc. – as well as writing it, code tends to belong in one place where it’s easy to access. That place has become GitHub with over 3 million Git repositories.”

Levine will join GitHub’s board of directors.

GitHub co-founder Tom Preston-Werner, in a separate 9 July post, said the investment will allow the company to do more, faster.

“We want to be better,” Preston-Werner wrote. “We want to build the best products. We want to solve harder problems. We want to make life easier for more people. The experience and resources of Andreessen Horowitz can help us do that.”

Preston-Werner noted that in the past four years GitHub has shipped for Mac and Windows, improved its operations on Eclipse, contributed to open source projects such as libgit2 and git, sponsored conferences and engaged in other activities.

‘Awesome experience’

He said the next step is to make GitHub “an awesome experience”.

“We want to make it easier to work together than alone,” he wrote. “We want to keep changing the way software is developed for the better by making collaborating easier and sharing a no-brainer.”

In August 2011, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen penned an essay in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Software Is Eating The World”, that described how software in integral to just about everything in that matters in the world today. GitHub, as a social hub for hosting software development projects, plays a key role in the creation of much of that software.

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