Why $2 billion startup GitHub is apparently in crisis, again
Matt Weinberger/Business Insider
Nine executives have jumped ship in recent months including, as we previously reported, VP of Engineering Susan Lally, who had been with the company 18 months.
The enterprise golden gooseGitHub is a hugely popular service that lets programmers store their software projects, share their projects publicly, and get others to collaborate with them on it. It's also increasingly the place where programmers show off their skills to prospective employers.
It's become so important to its 13 million users that if GitHub goes down, the software development world practically stops. In fact, on Wednesday, GitHub posted a lengthy and public apology to explain what happened during a well-publicized two-hour outage of the site two weeks ago.GitHub has raised $350 million, and was valued at about $2 billion with the $250 million investment is landed last year. It had previously raised $100 million in 2012 from Andreessen Horowitz, a record-breaking investment from that powerhouse VC at the time.
Owen Thomas, Business Insider
The company has reportedly always been cash-flow positive, and is expected to bring in more than $25 million this quarter, which puts it on track for more than $100 million annual revenue.
However, to grow into the multi-billion company its VCs dream of, it's been increasingly pursuing enterprise customers.It sells a service that allows corporate teams of software developers to privately work on their projects together, without sharing that code with the rest of the world.
This has apparently become the battle ground.
Enterprise sales are a completely different beast than consumer freebie sales.Big enterprise software contracts can take months or longer to secure and often require hand-holding, which is where hiring a sales force comes in. Enterprises often want assurances of uptime that carry legal or financial penalties, they need certain features for security and for accountability, and they often want the ability their suppliers to have met certain audits and standards for security, operations and so on.
The development community has recently noticed that GitHub had changed its focus. A bunch of active and influential users sent it an open letter in January called "Dear GitHub," in which they asked GitHub to work on its product for them, and add a bunch of features.GitHub promised to take notice and work on those features.
Owen Thomas, Business Insider
This isn't the first issue GitHub has had with its corporate culture. Co-founder Chris Wanstrath took over as CEO in 2014 after accusations of harassment by a female employee in the workplace led Tom Preston-Werner to resign.
GitHub later said an internal investigation did not find evidence of sexual harassment but of other missteps by Preston-Werner. Preston-Werner's wife later posted a public apology for making employees of GitHub feel pressured to help her with her nonprofit startup.
The market is also attracting little upstarts like GitLab who are trying to cash in on GitHub's missteps, and having some success with that, too.
GitHub declined comment for this article.
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