Back in 2003, when the world was recovering from the dot com crash, and there was no interest in businesses that had only eyeballs and no real revenue, I made an investment in a company called JBoss. People thought I was crazy, and the common question I was asked was “how are you going to make money if you are giving away the product for free?”. JBoss went on to become the first successful Open Source investment since Red Hat, and it spurred a whole host of other investments after it showed how the model could work. At JBoss, we pioneered a new growth model, that today would become known as Product Led Growth. By giving away the software for free, the company had created viral adoption with over 5 million downloads. They had a tiny amount of monetization through training and selling documentation, but then Bob Bickel joined, and he got me involved. Together with the founder, Marc Fleury, and the rest of his team, we figured out a monetization strategy, and a powerful new sales model that was copied by every other Open Source company since then. Within two and a half years, we reached $67m in ARR. Red Hat liked what we had done and purchased JBoss in 2006.
The following articles provide insight into how to build a successful Open Source business: