GGV有话说:
GGV投资笔记是GGV纪源资本关于投资、商业、科技的所见所闻所想,探讨关于世界的一切。
在这里,你可以收获:
全球优秀科技公司管理经验、一线调研;
顶级风险投资人&创业者经验分享;
大航海时代的世界人文历史、商业见闻……
以下是GGV投资笔记系列第九十七期。

作者:Glenn Solomon
过去一年里,我为大家介绍了很多开源公司和一批以开发人员为主导的软件公司,它们颠覆了传统的企业软件市场,其总体市值将很快超过1万亿美元。
而GitLab和Confluent的上市更是使得这一天离我们越来越近。
近期,这两家开源公司的IPO预示了一些更大的趋势,值得所有软件公司的创始人、CEO和投资人关注。
首先,开发者们在开源公司中处于主导地位(他们热爱开源)。其次,有了正确的商业模式,开源可以带来很高的利润。
为什么GitLab和Confluent的市值如今可以分别高达约200亿美元和300亿美元?
因为,它们正处在一场大规模社会变革的中心,在这场变革中,每家公司都在让自己也成为软件公司。此时,对于公司来说,仅仅部署最新版的企业服务软件是不够的。当今最成功的公司都创建了自己独有的软件系统,并以独特的方式将免费平台与商用平台结合起来,从而实现竞争优势。从运输和制药到教育、政务、金融、保险、娱乐、零售,每个行业中的机构都是如此。
上市开源软件公司市值高达数十亿美元,而且还有更多的公司正以类似估值准备上市,这主要源于以下五个主要原因。
原因一:开发者对开源的强烈热爱
随着每家公司都在成为“软件公司”,它们都需要聘用大量的软件开发人员。在这种环境下,开发者便掌握了主导地位,他们可以决定使用哪些平台进行编码和开发运维,而他们大多选择使用开源。开发人员喜欢开源工具,因为开源工具在本质上具有灵活性、创造性和协作性,能够让团队成员在世界各地协同工作并为社区项目做出贡献。
因此,像GitLab、Confluent,以及HashiCorp、MongoDB、Elastic、Databricks等开源软件公司在软件开发者中非常受欢迎,这些开发者会接下来将这些公司产品的企业版推荐给各自的老板。企业自下而上地采用开源技术为这些最大的开源公司带来了巨大的收入增长,这些开源公司均提供了商业版软件产品,并增加了软件的安全性、合规性、质量控制和协作等功能。
原因二:未来客户的大幅增长
更重要的是,开源是一台永续存在的增长机器,为开源公司带来可持续的长期价值。随着世界各地的开发者不断对开源工具进行标准化改进,这些开源平台像“病毒”一样在更多开发者之间快速传播,而他们对开源平台的信任也在不断增加,这使得开源产品企业版成为越来越多公司的标准选项。开源工具的病毒式传播为开源公司创造了不可阻挡的客户增长,而且客户数量如雪球般越滚越大。
原因三:难以置信的客户留存率
公司能够采用开源软件付费版,通常是因为它们的开发人员已经在相当长一段时间里成功使用了免费版。这意味着一旦客户开始为企业开源产品付费,他们很可能会坚持继续付费下去。
这使得开源公司往往拥有很高的收入留存率;换句话说,一旦开源公司获得了客户,这些客户就会留下来,随着客户公司不断发展并且更充分地使用产品,它们会以越来越大的合同金额续订。
原因四:云的崛起
许多开源公司现在成功地采用云模式来托管并管理自己的软件,并且将其作为服务提供给客户。五年前,大多数开源软件都是“本地部署”,用户先是下载免费的公共开源内核,然后再付费下载商业化企业版,并主要在自己的服务器上自行管理。
现在,云服务正在取代这一模式。例如,GitLab在其最近提交的S-1文件中指出,类似于SaaS的全托管云产品在2020财年至2021财年间的ARR占比从9%增长至16%,SaaS ARR同比增长202%。Confluent最近报告称其云收入年增长率为245%,MongoDB的云收入现在占其总收入一半以上。预计云托管产品将继续在开源公司中占据显著地位。
原因五:不断自我强化的产品开发
开源的本质是开放合作:开发人员将他们的专业知识(免费)回馈给作为商业开源产品底层框架的开放核心项目。对于开源公司来说,这种回馈令所有当前和未来的客户收益,因为这使得开源公司的产品变得更强大,更能符合开发人员的需求。在2020年,有大约1000名回馈者参与了GitLab的开放核心项目,2021年,这一数字翻了一番。每一位回馈者都为GitLab的基础技术平台增添了价值。
我们可能会看到更多开源公司上市。Databricks、Snyk、Grafana、Kong和Vercel等公司正在快速成长,这说明,未来几年里一系列令人瞩目的IPO正在酝酿之中。总的来说,属于他们的时代已经来临了,那些令开发者倾心与信任的开源公司已蓄势待发,准备迎接未来的发展和最终的上市成功。
*文中提到的HashiCorp, Kong和Vercel 都是GGV纪源资本所投资的公司。
以下为英文版:
Open Source IPO Boom: What GitLab And Confluent Show Us About The Future Of Software
For the last year, I’ve been writing about open-source companies and a wave of developer-centric software companies that are upending the traditional enterprise software market—and will soon collectively be worth more than $1 trillion in combined market capitalization. That day is getting closer ever since GitLab and Confluent went public. The recent IPOs of these two open-source companies portend some larger trends that all software founders and investors should pay attention to. Most importantly, developers are in the driver’s seat (and they love open source), and secondly, open source can be highly profitable with the right business models.
Why do GitLab and Confluent today have fully-diluted market caps of approximately $20 billion and $30 billion, respectively? They both sit at the center of a massive societal shift where every company is becoming a software company. It’s not enough to deploy the latest enterprise software; the most successful companies today create their own unique software and combine free and commercially-available platforms in unique ways to achieve competitive advantage. And this is the case for organizations in every industry, from transportation and pharma, to education, government, finance, insurance, entertainment, retail, and beyond. 
There are five main reasons public open-source software companies are worth billions of dollars and that more are poised to go public at similar valuations. 
Strong developer love
With every company becoming a software company, they all need to hire armies of software developers. And in this environment, developers are in the driver's seat. They dictate which platforms they want to use for coding and DevOps, and they mostly want to use open source. Developers love open-source tools because they are nimble, creative, and collaborative in nature, allowing teams to work together around the world and contribute back to community projects. Thus, open-source software companies like GitLab and Confluent, as well as HashiCorp, MongoDB, Elastic, Databricks, and others, are very popular among software developers, who in turn recommend the enterprise versions of these companies’ products to their bosses. This bottoms-up adoption of open source in the enterprise has driven huge revenue gains for the largest open-source companies—which all offer commercial versions of their software with added functionality such as security, compliance, quality control, and collaboration. 
Huge future customer growth
What’s more, open source is a self-perpetuating growth machine, driving sustainable long-term value for open source companies. As developers worldwide continue to standardize on open-source tools, viral use of these platforms among other developers grows—and trust in them increases—making it standard practice for more and more companies to adopt the enterprise versions of open source products. Viral uptake of open-source tools has created unstoppable customer growth for open-source companies, and it will only continue to snowball.
Incredible customer retention
When companies adopt paid versions of open-source software, it’s usually because their developers have been successfully using the free version for quite some time. That means once customers start paying for an enterprise open-source product, they are likely to stick with it. This dynamic causes open-source companies to have high net dollar retention; in other words, once they get customers, those customers stay, and they renew at larger and larger amounts as their own companies grow and engage more fully.
Rise of the cloud
Many open-source companies are now succeeding with a cloud model where they host and manage their own software and provide it as a service to customers. Five years ago, most open-source software was “on premise” with users first downloading the free public open core, and then later paying to download and largely self-manage a commercial enterprise offering on their own servers. Now, the cloud service model is taking over. GitLab, for example, recently reported in its most recent S-1 that it’s fully-hosted cloud offering, which they call SaaS, grew from 9% of ARR to 16% between fiscal 2020 and 2021, representing year-over-year SaaS ARR growth of 202%. Confluent has recently reported annual cloud revenue growth of 245% and MongoDB’s cloud revenue now represents over half of total revenue. Expect cloud to continue to grow in prominence for open-source companies.  
Self-reinforcing product development
The very nature of open source is that it invites collaboration. Developers contribute their expertise (for free) back to the open-core projects that serve as the underlying frameworks for commercial open-source products. For open-source companies, these contributions benefit all current and future customers because their products get stronger and more closely aligned with developer needs. GitLab had about 1,000 contributors to its open core project in 2020 and doubled that number in 2021; each of these contributors adds value to GitLab’s foundational technology platform.
We’ll likely see more open-source companies go public. Companies such as Databricks, Snyk, Grafana, Kong, and Vercel are growing rapidly and represent an intriguing IPO pipeline over the coming years. All in all, with the headwinds behind them, open-source companies that can win the hearts and minds of developers should be well-positioned for growth and eventual public-company success.
*HashiCorp, Kong, and Vercel are GGV Capital portfolio companies.
*作者简介:Glenn Solomon是GGV Capital的管理合伙人之一。GGV是一家专注于本地创业者的国际创业投资公司。Glenn Solomon关注从种子期到成熟期的企业技术初创公司,涵盖多个关键领域,包括开源、云服务、基础架构和网络安全。Glenn Solomon有20多年的创投经验,过去十年里帮助9家公司完成了IPO上市。Glenn Solomon也是播客“Founder Real Talk”的主理人,在节目中采访了多位创始人和初创公司高管,交流创始人们所面临的挑战以及如何在重重困难中成长。
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*向上滑动查看往期投资笔记

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