Github is an impressive company that has, so far, blown away its competition in many aspects. The fact that they have been self-bootstrapped up until this point and that they are profitable to boot is a testament to Tom's incredible leadership and their absolutely exceptional team.
Tom has made it abundantly clear that he is not against venture capital. He just thinks it is starting off on the wrong foot if you try to build your company with the expectation of relying on venture capital from the start.
So he's taken Github to profitability, and in four years they've all managed to transform the way most of us collaborate online. That is a profound achievement, but those responsible for such a radical change aren't generally the type to sit idly by on the backs of their previous accomplishments.
They want to do bigger and better things with Github. They're not quite done trying to change the world. Now they are not only profitable, but they have substantial capital to invest in further innovations.
With 0 dollars, a couple of guys built something amazing. I can't wait to see what they can do with 100 million.
Since substantial funding wasn't a contribution to their first success, nor apparently even their goal, there's no reason to expect that throwing money at them would lead to something even more amazing.
Cash is a tool. Disciplined companies CAN use cash intelligently.
There's a reasonable case to be made that they're either going to or already dominate the code hosting market anyways, depending on how big you define it. The only way $100M makes sense is if they're expanding into one or multiple other things.
And then, yes, there's expanding into adjacent verticals. They're already there with wikis and issue tracking, so it's not a virgin territory strategy.
[Edit - I guessed $1B-$10B valuation; WSJ says unnamed source cites $750M. If true, congratulations to A16Z, they got a steal.]
Most of github's mission is removing friction in collaboration around code.
Following this theme, likely expansions: removing transactional overhead to add liquidity to the development market ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coase_theorem ) which is badly inelastic in the face of great demand. Less audacious, they may just domainate the recruiting market.
Still on the theme, continuing to push on the need to colocate to be productive - online editing, tools in support of code review, user testing, in-app feedback, platform building/distribution.
Build farms, integration tooling, and support markets also seem plausible but more difficult to see (in the current market) how they could get sufficient uptake to justify the target valuation.
One more, less optimistic: IP/patent/code provenance - lots of money attached to those things.
2: GitHub >>> git
3: Enterprises very much love social in anything they do, they just call it collaboration. See Sharepoint. Also, the pressure from within to use something like GitHub is only going to increase as new hires have experience with it from the outside.
In any case the money believes in them. And they are already vetted.
Try the analogy where a startup is like a band (I'm not the first to use this). After the band sells out, do you expect better music? As the cliche goes, their artistic integrity is compromised, the members start in-fighting, and the lead singer grows increasingly strung-out on fame and drugs.
With funding comes expectations. Github has never had to answer to anyone but their community and customers (and their board, but the board had no real monetary stake in the company outside of stock). Now A16Z has some control over their operations. Not sure what their terms were in the deal, but investment and board members change how a company operates.
Hope for good things and more elaborate octocats
As some communities, e.g. the Ruby community, is approx. based 99% on github, I fully understand and have a strange feeling myself. Time will tell if TPW and AH can work together and make an even bigger success.
But how can we know that's even an issue? There are a hundred hypotheticals here (both positive and negative), and focusing on the ones that would only be the case were Andreessen Horowitz & GitHub unwise companies seems unnecessarily negative.
Now, if there were reason to think any of them, that'd be one thing. But we only know there was a huge investment in an awesome company from a great VC firm.
GitHub is essentially a web interface to a single open-source DVCS. The switching costs to using another DVCS such as Mercurial (which I personally prefer) or another Git hosting provider are minimal. There are no barriers to entry since Git is and always will be free. There are very few network effect benefits to using GitHub for paying customers who by definition want to keep their code private.
GitHub is a good service and I use it myself, but I'm now increasingly cautious about using it since GitHub are now under serious pressure to deliver pretty spectacular returns to their investors.
In the end I think this investment has less to do with GitHub and more to do with the fact that e.g. yields on 10-year Treasuries are currently under 2%. Investors are desperately looking for any decent returns on their money and throwing it a company like GitHub is just a Hail Mary pass.
I don't think GitHub is popular because it's just a web front-end over a DVCS.
I'm basically a mercurial user. Use it for work. Used it for all my personal projects. The commands and workflow seem much cleaner and make much more sense to me than git's. I switched to git for personal projects soley because of GitHub.
Partly because it has a very good user experience and is snappy (bitbucket is slow in comparison) but mostly because that's where everyone else is.
I'd go as far as to say that GitHub has done more for git than git has done for GitHub.
There is no WAY that anybody ever loved Pets.com the way that I love GitHub.
And I'm not the only one! Not by a long shot.
That represents 476k 'micro' subscribers in one year, 277k 'small' subscribers, 151k 'medium' subscribers. Cheapest business plan (bronze) would require 133k; most expensive (platinum) would require 16.7k subscriptions. Github announced 1 million users on 21 September 2011. I can't find any details about current #s or the % of paying users.
Remember that all these numbers double if GitHub only has 20% net profit (bear in mind this would be 2.5% higher than the insurance industry, which is an extraordinarily predictable and profitable industry, and oil/gas, the most profitable industry, sits at 25%).
So while not 'spectacular' it's not at all obvious whether they can generate the sales required to generate the return necessary, and the optimistic attitude of people posting here without any numbers to support their conclusions is a bit disturbing (not a reflection on parent's comment, but in general).
Looking at the numbers I'll make the following observations:
- the total market size of potential GitHub users has a fairly low limit (somewhere in the 10s of millions I would guess)
- GitHub has some popularist advantages but ultimately competes on price as far as I can tell (I've started moving to Bitbucket because I see no point in paying for something I can get for free, and the recent hack shows GitHub doesn't offer better security AFAIT); as soon as they gain a larger market share there's no reason to believe competitors won't want in on the action, and as GP points out, switching repository hosts is really easy
- while it looks like they'll be able to generate that 2% return over the next few years I'm struggling to see them generating a much more interesting return based on the numbers I'm looking at
- I have a feeling people are confusing feelings of "GitHub is cool and I like it" for implying that "GitHub should do well as a profit generating business for its investors"; they are also probably fantasizing about having $100m invested in their own startups and taking criticism as personal attacks on this 'plan'
It should go without saying that Treasuries are risk-free since the government can print dollars to pay back its debts. But in this economy, investors are willing to get negative real returns (i.e., after inflation) on Treasuries since they're more concerned about the return of their money than returns on their money.
(For fairly approachable commentary on the current macro investment climate, I'd recommend reading Bill Gross' monthly columns at http://www.pimco.com/EN/Insights/Pages/InvestmentOutlookOver...)
It doesn't look to me like the people who love and use github have been using it because it looks like it will be stable, and stick around for a while. They seem to have been won over by popularity effects and performance/cool tech factors.
So, if github fails, it may not really be as big of an issue. Github could fail as an investment or company, and still leave a running system behind, up as a non-profit even; the risk to its customers doesn't seem that big. And the potential rewards, depending on how they invest the money, can be really big. There's lots of good work they can still do, that everyone will benefit from.
If anything, I suspect this investment is to make Github more competitive with Bitbucket -- remember, BB's parent company is Atlassian, which has pretty deep enterprise experience they can leverage. You may like GH's issue system better than BB's free one, but a paying BB customer can integrate it seamlessly with Jira and other Atlassian tools.
Does GitHub do some things better than Bitbucket? Sure, but I don't believe that those differences justify a valuation approaching a billion dollars.
Maybe I'm missing something, but does GitHub support something other than Git?
> The switching costs to using another [...] Git hosting provider are minimal.
$ git clone git://github.com/jbarham/stathat-line-counter.git
$ cd stathat-line-counter/
$ git remote add bitbucket ssh://email@example.com/jbarham/stathat-line-counter.git
$ git push -u bitbucket master
> There are no barriers to entry since Git is and always will be free.
> yields on 10-year Treasuries are currently under 2%
I've worked in investment management. I know that investors with $100 million to throw around don't have a lot of good places to put their money. No pressure. Good luck.
The wrong part of that sentence is the word essentially.
GitHub is essentially a social/collaboration app for people who spin code.
The fact that it uses the git distributed version control system is an implementation detail.
The essence of GitHub is in the network of people who use it and how easy it is to do so. Not in the fact that its a (really really) good front-end to a particular tool.
I'll admit that I'm unenthusiastic about social media in general, so this aspect of GitHub is the one I use the least. I've always found their slogan of "Social Coding" to be a bit of an oxymoron as programming for me is primarily a solitary activity.
Generally I find the design of GitHub to be more refined than Bitbucket (e.g., the README's look better) but it's not something I'd pay for.
I'd argue that the real action for "social collaboration" on open source projects is where it's always been: on mailing lists. The project I've followed most actively the past couple of years has been Go, which is hosted on Google Code, but I very rarely need to go there since I'm on the mailing list.
I don't really see how this is a bad thing. They were very much profitable, and were likely able to dictate the terms of the deal. Also, the money came from one of the most, if not THE most, reputable and respected VC firms.
Yes, founders maybe took some money off he table, that's good for them, no question. But the company is now troubled.
GitHub has 102 employees. Which means they're already paying around $10M wage in a year and they're profitable. I bet they're at least making $20M per year right now. They're going after the enterprise market which would make them much much more cash.
Do the math. Is it really hard to pay that money back in a company like this ? Is AirBnB, Dropbox, Evernote in trouble ?
Github is not troubled.
You're correct that they haven't lost control, but now they have somebody to answer to. Somebody who just gave them $100m. Somebody with more equity than all but a few of the people involved. Somebody who's powerful and respected and whose job is to push tech companies in the direction of maximum return.
It changes things.
The founders (probably) achieve some liquidity, the company gets to expand up and out in the market, with the guidance of some of the most experienced investors in the business, the customers get see more resources put towards what is now a very large product, and the investors get to ride the wave that I think will see GitHub reach a few billion dollars valuation.
That helps explain why the founders sold the equity, but not why the VCs bought it.
Company with a proven modal, proven team, proven management and a massive growth opportunity (company hosted Github).
(I considered deleting my comment, but my hand was stayed by its having gotten an upvote.)
Github has always been against taking money. Actually, TPW has used some very harsh words criticizing startups that choose to take VC money.
Now, Github raises 100 gazillion dollars? How the f*ck do they plan on spending that wisely? Sure, it's nice to have that sum in the bank. But, in all honesty, someone has to explain how this is a reasonable move, because I simply don't get it.
> The ironic thing about bootstrapping and venture capital is that once you demonstrate some success, investors will come to YOU. When this happens you will be in a much better place to make a more reasoned choice about taking on additional capital and all the complexities that come with it. Talking to VCs with some leverage in your back pocket is an entirely different game from throwing yourself in front of a conference table full of general partners and trying to persuade them that you're worth their time and money. Power is happiness.
Update: This post (Above for the moment) says it better.
1) Burn the ships
By committing so strongly to an anti-VC ideology, they forced themselves to focus on profitability. They required themselves to make a sustainable company without the expectations that eventually someone would expand their runway. In the process, they created a very attractive investment opportunity for the trillions of dollars out there sitting on the sidelines looking for the next big thing.
2) Everything has a price
Don't consider this a strike against the github folks, I'm sure they are strong and ethical people, but everything has its price. $100 Million is a lot of money and I'm sure it left the founders with a lot of peace-of-mind that will allow them to focus on building an IPO worthy company.
They haven't done anything immoral and no one gets hurt, rather many people may greatly benefit from this move. They changed their mind like everyone in the world does in the face of smaller sums of money than this.
Good luck Github.
"They (AH) clearly have no interest in the status quo of venture capital."
"we're excited to partner with Andreessen Horowitz to help us make it happen"
"They want to help founders build great companies."
Whether they could make a return on it would be another thing though.
Although it also seems to be more of a cultural issue. There are already pretty good tools from companies like Perforce and Alienbrain, the problem is to convince the artists that there is value in using them. Every time I've suggested it, there has been imitiate pushback and outright rejection from the artists. Even in the places I've seen that use Perforce, most artists seem to see checking in and out as a pointless chore, rather than a vital and helpful part of their workflow
In that case it really doesn't benefit them at all and is a chore. You'll only get them to use version control if it's hard mandate (good luck) or figure out a way to make it completely transparent to them (something like Time Machine).
I was kindof assuming that it would be the same for mid to smaller sized movie/tv studios as well, but at the same time I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you can get a plugin for Premier or whatever that does it.
I know for a fact that there are many largish advertising agencies out there who have fileservers with hundreds of ProjectName01, ProjectName02 etc style directories.
Why do you think apple brought "Versions" or whatever its called in with lion?
Versions (and Time Machine history) are good steps to part of this, in that they are easily available and understandable, but they don't solve the collaboration aspect. How do you diff and merge your local changes into the NEW_final_v2_UPDATED.xls that was emailed to you? I'd summarize the problems as:
- identfying & organizing versions of the same document in ways manageable by normal humans (i.e. not a set of variably-named files spanning email attachments and shared folders, nor a graph of nodes identified by 20-byte hashes, nor a rigid interface to a versioned-file server)
- diffying & merging non-text document types (images, audio, spreadsheets)
I agree this would be a valuable problem to solve well!
That doesn't mean there isn't huge room for improvement in this arena. An approach like this (or OSX's versions) doesn't allow you to do anything like 'git diff' to see what's changed from version to version. I can imagine this is a very difficult problem for binary data, however. Also, distributed version control on media production software could allow for multiple users to be editing a project simultaneously.
Unfortunately, I don't really see GitHub being able to help much here. For example, any work done to make ProTools files git-friendly wouldn't also work on Photoshop files. I'd love to be wrong about this, but I suspect seeing version control in media production software would require redesigning the application's file format from the ground up, and would be a task for each software company to do on their own.
So everyone. Or at least everyone who works in an office.
My own erstwhile field of small business accounting is all about version control. An enormous amount of energy goes into keeping tabs on which file is most current and ensuring that work isn't done in a non-current file.
Same thing for anyone who regularly collaborates on documents or spreadsheets or images: lawyers, advertisers, my friend the outdoor school counselor, journalists, etc.
The state of the art here isn't very good. For all the products out there, I'd guess 90% of actual version control happens via emails. Case in point:
A journalist friend of mine is currently attempting a small intra-office coup to switch from Email/Excel to Asana for scheduling and managing the editing process. It is not going well. Email/Excel will probably win.
But the old people won't be around forever. The opportunities to improve on the state of the art are vast. The amount of energy people spend on keeping current could be dramatically reduced.
Github has plenty of potential.
Getting these people to use github would be awesome!
I don't have any experience in enterprise sales. But, from what I know, enterprise isn't a market that the best product always wins. Yes, Github definitely has one of the best products out there. But, they definitely don't have the required experience to push their enterprise product to the market(look at the developers heavy team). The VC will definitely help in this case.
Now, look at another similar product in the market, Atlassion, which raised about 60 millions almost two years ago from Accel. That was also after years of bootstrapping from Atlassian itself. 2 years ago, the funding market was definitely not as good as the funding market today. Yet, Atlassian managed to raise 60 millions. So, the 100 millions Github raised today seems reasonable to me.
The difference is (literally and metaphorically) there is are suits involved.
A few key thoughts which are likely to apply:
- Per-customer customizations
- $100K+ per sale per customer
- 3 month to 3 year sales cycles
- Usable on Windows XP and IE6 (most likely).
- Certifications/audits (e.g., ISO9001).
I can easily see hiring 20-30 guys to sell/consult/customize for the enterprise market.
Github has quite a bit of work ahead of them to be on par with say IBM/Rational ClearCase/ClearQuest or CA Software Change Manager (aka Harvest). Definitely wish them luck.
But what's built on top of it are definite wins in comparison to git and Github: UCM and lifecycle integration with ClearQuest.
Most developers don't know how/when to branch. UCM at least sets up a structure and process for that. There's also enough out-of-the-box security to control access to everything that most enterprises would care about. This is supported, documented, etc.
Managing an application's lifecycle is probably far more important in a large organization than most people experience in a small project or startup. Integration with ClearQuest allows everything to be tracked.
Since all of this are essentially "add-ons" to a core versioning tool, there's nothing to say something similar can't be done with git/by Github. It's just that they're not available _now_.
While I don't like Clearcase/clearquest, large companies like them because it allows them to define their own rigid ideas of control within their company. Large companies have a team of people who's job it is to create, manage, and train to that process. Tools like clearcase allow them to create these custom workflows and processes within the company in such a way that they must be follow.
this allow for some pretty complex controls on who can do what, what signoffs must happen for certain code commits, and such.
Git and Github do not offer that fine-grain control that managers of large organizations like. So until you see that type of functionality, don't expect to see Lockheed Martin deploy Github throughout their company.
I'd imagine a company that needs VCS can handle multiple installed browsers or even virtualized OS:s.
Clicking on the current page link should still allow you to read the page too, at least it works for me.
Sounds to me like a great heuristic for whether a person would be a good investor.
But it feels a bit trite.
That being said, I wish them all the best. The truth is, if there is anyone that I think would be an awesome partner for Github it is AH. So I hope they do awesome stuff together.
In my mind the $750M valuation is still actually pretty consevative. GitHub has a long long way to go and I see so many great things ahead for the team, but I don't understand why they would raise $100M?
Is this a deal for the founders to take some money off of the table? I don't see what benefits $100M will have for them.
(Don't shoot me for my opinions on this one), but I think it's also really only a matter of time before the legacy systems move from SVN/Mercurial/CVS onto GitHub. Some people use BitBucket (I guess because Atlassian makes some other great software). SourceForge (past it's sell-by-date), and Google Code isn't really suitable for anything other than hosting specific release candidates or tags..
Got to love the WSJ.
Pick any non-consumer-facing industry where the average person doesn't know the players, and everybody is "little known". That doesn't really tell you anything about their actual businesses or reputations.
Something like "Social coding startup GitHub, hugely popular in the coding world, ...." would be a whole lot clearer.
Little-known, though technically correct, implies that they are not well known in any circle.
WSJ is supposed to provide good reporting with strong bias towards informing potential investors (as a financial/business news paper). The wording choice doesn't make a strong case for value associated with the company and sounds like some no-name co. just got a pile of money that they are like to lose. (An exaggeration on my part for illustration purposes only.)
Wasn't that temporary during the kernel.org debacle?
On one hand I feel like my favorite indie band just got signed by a major record label. I will lose the intimacy, or cool factor, I felt as I first enjoyed them. However, isn't it better for all to enjoy them? Especially if they have been signed by the best record company of the bunch? I really have no reason to find this analogy a bad thing.
On the other hand I think, why does every company feel the need to take over the world? Can't you be satisfied? At what point have you done enough? I already see Github as a success, and I fear for the founders that true satisfaction will never come. For the most ambitious it probably never does. I do not see this as a good sign for the future of Internet businesses in general. I would rather see more small businesses than fewer large. I think many aspiring hackers have lost a role model today, and VC's everywhere are cheering as a big game trophy has been reeled in.
Edit: $800M/yr in 2007 http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2007/jul07/07-26SP...
I'm a bit surprised given their previous stance on VC...
this "little-known" probably has more revenue than a lot of "well-knowns" out there, and the "bet" here is probably a lot safer too...
"web applications for different operating systems"?
I guess they didn't think they were able to build the best products without outside investors.
goes without saying, I hope it doesn't change github for the worse; eventhough history has plenty of counter examples. good luck github.
Keyword: "starting". GitHub has long moved out of the "starting" phase, which has always been bootstrapped for them.
I personally know at least one company that has been profitable from the very beginning and took 3 rounds of VC already, always on the same terms: "we don't need your money, so we'll sell you a very small piece for a large sum and run with it the way we do today". In the end, it's a great way to either cash-out, put some money in the bank to avoid future surprises or launch new experiments/products with minimal risk...
is it possible the maximal risk they encountered when building github with their own cash helped make the great product github is today? history has shown time and time again if you give someone a long enough rope they will hang themselves, doesn't mean that's githubs fate of course, but they're certainly opening a door of influence that wasn't around through the initial building of a great product.
If you give someone a short enough rope, they'll never be able to get out of the hole...
> "Little-known social coding start-up GitHub..."
The Gigaom is a much better read.
GitHub has 1,784,455 members. That alone is probably 5% of coders.
There are still many millions more people out there that have heard of GitHub, or downloaded code via GitHub, but don't have an account.
They are a great blueprint on how to spend money wisely and develop features people care about.
Off the top of my head: Company Github accounts, many desktop Github redesigns and performance tweaks, Github for Mac, Github for Windows, and a Github Android App.
And this is only in the past 12 months or so. Amazing company.
"Github" and "money" in the same thought here triggered me wondering about maybe buying a monthly plan from them, and letting them host all of my code for work, play, etc. (stuff I'm too embarrassed to release, ha)
Maybe I'm just naive, but how large are most git repos?
You can get a full pizza box, in a rack, with power and data, and plenty of storage for $50/mo.
You could get two redundant linodes for $40/mo.
What are people getting out of github that they are willing to spend as much money as some of these plans cost?
(What I mean is: if this was $5/mo for unlimited repos, I'd have a plan now. But $7/mo for 5? That seems steep)
People pay for products that save them time and money. That's it. Yes, I could buy a VPS, figure out how to setup the hosted thing that ships with git, and uh - store git repositories. But that would really suck.
Or I could do what I do now, and pay Github a few hundred a month to manage the dozens of private client repositories my company manages, see who on my team is committing what, and so on.
I pay Github not because they store files for me, but because they've built some really nice software that makes my life easier.
Finally, the issue of cost. If you need a private repository, you probably are writing some code that you (or someone else) deems as proprietary and valuable. Me, and plenty of other people, will gladly pay monthly what equates to less than the cost of a slice of pizza and a drink for what we get in return.
Especially collaborating with people, that was a pain in the ass.
Feels expensive at first. It is not.
Also it backups to your S3 account.
However, the original goal of GitHub was to build a tool that allowed collaboration easier. You pay for the experience and the tools and the network IMO.
But I have to wonder: if you're hosting that many private repos...how much does "social" play into it?
For me, the private repos are more about having them where I have my other code.
GitHub is what you might choose if you need to work on projects with a team, and want best-of-breed collaboration and code review.
I use BitBucket to host all my solo side projects, and Github for all my open source code. I work with a startup, and we use GitHub for all of our private repos. I love using Github, it's awesome.
If I was starting my own startup, I would definitely choose Github. Bitbucket might provide all the important features, and you can host unlimited private code, for a team of up to 5 users, for free... But in the end, $7 or $12 a month is worth it for the beautiful service that Github provides.
Exactly. We are forced to split our code base because of the lack of free private repos on GitHub. Free private repos for 1 or 2 users would allow us to post ALL of our code on GitHub and give us the ability to sort it out and clean it up It will then be extremely easy to open-source it from there. Until they offer something free, all of our projects will remain locally stored or split between GitHub and Bitbucket and that code will NEVER get promoted to open source.
Free 'limited collaboration' private repos are the key to GitHub dominating the DVCS world.
Private repositories are a limited resource on Github for most of us due to the pricing. This encourages people to open up their stuff. Small projects that would be otherwise kept under cover are shown to the world, because we feel more comfortable in showing up unfinished code than putting up another $$/month.
And this same applies especially to cloning. If private repositories were free, quite many would probably tinker with the cloned things in private. "Forcing" us to do it in public has made Github what it is.
http://bitbucket.org $0/mo for unlimited repos, you got an even better plan now
Github: $7/mo for 5 repos, unlimited collaborators.
Bitbucket: $0/mo for unlimited repos, 5 collaborators max. Then, it starts at $10/mo for 10 collaborators and continues at a tiered rate of $1/mo per collaborator until you hit $200/month. Only then is it unlimited on collaborators.
I have lots of private projects I'd like to host there, but the cost per repo is just too high - especially when they are all pretty small repos. $50/month is a lot to be paying for source control, so I'll probably be looking into bit bucket instead - that is probably a decent option for you to look into also.
The last 2 private repos I created grew to ~800mb each. And those were rather small projects. (We put PSDs and raw audio into the repo.)
To expand you need cash, take this as a sign that Github is going to expand heavily in every direction. As an avid Githubber I am ecstatic about this, it's a testament to the product and a good sign Github is never going anywhere.
Right. Because we've never seen a company take a huge VC investment then disappear.
Who knows, they could be working on their own flavor of git.
However a burn rate of 25m$/year — The VC wants 100 times the return of his investment. That's imho not doable with the current "monolitic" github business model.
The article is otherwise fairly flat about why it might be valued so high. I'm not saying it's fully justified, but the writer clearly did not seem to understand what he was actually writing about.
What exactly would the individuals complaining about this action do differently?
In these situations, I'd really love to know the details-- did they go shopping for investment (love to see that deck!) or did A19Z pursue them and talk them into it?
Probably perfect timing, too, because I think things are going to cool down in 2013.
Anyway, couldn't happen to a nicer company, but I do lament the loss of a bootstrapped example to point to.
FWIW, can't read the wsj article because it is already behind the paywall.
Sure they can be like any startup and get some nieve devs to join up with the whole "We're doing big things and can become huge, you can be a part of this, and be millionaires!". But they'd probably rather give their devs what their worth.
Congrats to the fine folks at GitHub!
By raising this round privately instead of going public now, they (a) get a financing partner (us) that completely understands what they're about, wants them to realize their vision, will do anything we can to help them get there, and is in the investment for the long run (10+ years), while (b) avoiding all the pressures and issues that come from being public, which are substantial in the modern era.
The exit could be M&A (although it would have to be $3-5b to be on-target, and in that range, you need to be able to IPO as a credible alternative when negotiating the M&A).