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That's not how venture capital funds work. By definition they make high-risk investments which means there is a high variance of returns from the invested companies. Most of the investments will in all probability lose money, which means that those that do make money at all will need to make very good money for the overall fund to break even and beat guaranteed investments like Treasuries.

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...)

So, this investments signals a shift in focus. Up until now, github was a long term growth company, a much more stable (if slower growing) setup? Ie, they've shifted gears, more towards a hit or flop kind of scenario, where they have to get fairly big fairly quickly, even if the process means they're at a higher risk of permanently failing.

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.

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