GitHub Takes $100M in Largest Investment by Andreessen Horowitz

Photograph by Robert Galbraith/Landov         

GitHub began talks with Marc Andreessen after reading his essay, "Why Software Is Eating the World."

(This post was updated to include the valuation and correct Tom Preston-Werner’s title.)

For years, GitHub has been courted by venture capitalists eager to invest in the online community for software programmers. For years, GitHub’s founders politely declined the offers, pointing out that the company has been profitable since its founding in 2008 and doesn’t need the extra cash.

Until now.

Today, Andreessen Horowitz announced it has invested $100 million in GitHub, in what is the single largest financing by the VC firm co-founded by Web pioneer Marc Andreessen. The investment values four-year-old GitHub at about $750 million, said a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be named because its terms were private.

Peter Levine, a general partner at the firm, will join GitHub’s board of directors. Ron Conway’s SV Angel investment firm also participated in the funding.

The San Francisco startup began discussions with Andreessen last November, after the co-founders took note of an essay the venture capitalist had penned in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Why Software Is Eating the World.” In it, Andreessen argued that software companies in Silicon Valley would transform a range of industries over the next decade.

“It’s uncanny how close that is to the vision we have,”  Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview today. “We want GitHub to be usable by everyone in the software ecosystem — everything from individuals to small teams and businesses to students at universities.”

GitHub charges users monthly subscriptions between $7 and $200 to store programming source code, and offers tools that make it easy for decentralized teams to contribute to a single project. GitHub is used by businesses including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Mozilla, LinkedIn and VMWare.

The injection of venture cash will help the company improve its clients for Mac and Windows computers, and develop tools that can be used on other platforms, like Linux and operating systems for mobile devices.

Part of the attraction to Andreessen Horowitz was the firm’s deep background in building enterprise software companies, Preston-Werner said. In addition to Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, who built data center automation startup Opsware and sold it to Hewlett-Packard in 2007, general partner Levine previously held executive roles at Veritas Software and XenSource, two business software startups that were acquired in the past decade.

Levine plans to help GitHub, which has about 100 employees, formulate a strategy for selling its service to businesses.

“Without any formal sales and marketing organization, it’s incredible the position they have been able to get themselves into,” he said. “One of the things we are looking to do is to accelerate the growth in revenue into the future.”

For Andreessen, the funding adds a hot enterprise startup to a portfolio that already includes Box, Asana and Nicira. Started in 2009, the firm has raised a total of $2.7 billion. Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz.

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