According to a new study, over 90% of the fastest growing open source companies were founded outside of the San Francisco Bay Area in 2020, and 12 of the top 20 are from Europe. The "ROSS Index" created by Runa Capital lists the fastest growing open source startups with public repositories on Github per quarter.
Interestingly, the company ranked fastest growing on the latest list is Plausible, an “open startup” (all metrics are published, including revenue), and states on its website that it is “not interested To raise funds or take investment. Not by individuals, not by institutions, and not by venture capitalists. Our business model has nothing to do with collecting and analyzing large amounts of personal information from web users and using this behavioral knowledge to sell advertising. “It is said to be a self-sustaining“ privacy friendly alternative to very popular and widely used web analytics tools for surveillance capitalism ”.
Admittedly, “Github stars” are not a perfect metric to measure the product market adaptation of open source companies. However, research shows one possible interesting trend away from VC-powered startups in the past decade.
There have already been attempts to create similar lists. In 2017 Battery Ventures published its own BOSS index, but the index was abandoned. In September 2020, Accel unveiled its Open100 market map, which featured many open source startups.
Due to the high churn rates on Github, the list of companies will change significantly every quarter. For example, this latest finding from ROOS only has four companies mentioned in the previous list (Q2 2020): Hugging Face, Meili, Prisma and Framer.
Of course, open source doesn't mean these companies will never make money or raise venture capital.
And Runa Capital clearly has an interest in publishing the list. The company has invested in several open source startups, including Nginx (acquired by F5 Networks for $ 670 million), MariaDB and N8N, and recently launched a $ 157 million fund for open source startups.