Dries Buytaert

A breakout year for Open Source businesses

The FUD around Open Source companies is officially over.

I was talking to Chetan Puttagunta yesterday, and we both agreed that 2018 has been an incredible year for Open Source businesses so far. (Chetan helped lead NEA's investment in Acquia, but is also an investor in Mulesoft, MongoDB and Elastic.)

Between a series of acquisitions and IPOs, Open Source companies have shown incredible financial returns this year. Just look at this year-to-date list:

Company Acquirer Date Value
CoreOS RedHat January 2018 $250 million
Mulesoft Saleforce May 2018 $6,5 billion
Magento Adobe June 2018 $1,7 billion
GitHub Microsoft June 2018 $7,5 billion
Suse EQT partners July 2018 $2,5 billion
Elastic IPO September 2018 $4,9 billion

For me, the success of Open Source companies is not a surprise. In 2016, I explained how open source crossed the chasm in 2016, and predicted that proprietary software giants would soon need to incorporate Open Source into their own offerings to remain competitive:

The FUD-era where proprietary software giants campaigned aggressively against open source and cloud computing by sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt is over. Ironically, those same critics are now scrambling to paint themselves as committed to open source and cloud architectures.

Adobe's acquisition of Magento, Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub, the $5,2 billion merger of Hortonworks and Cloudera, or SalesForce's acquisition of Mulesoft endorse this prediction. The FUD around Open Source businesses is officially over.

— Dries Buytaert