The Business of Open Source

Birthe Lindenthal is the Co-founder and CMO of OpenProject, a web-based project management system. On this episode, Birthe and I discuss the inception of the company, how being open source directly benefits both the business and its customers, and why the connection to their community is so strong. Plus, Birthe talks about the motivation she feels when contributing to something larger than herself, including the joy of knowing NGOs use her product for free. We also discuss the unique challenges of marketing an open-source product. 

  • Intro (00:00)
  • I introduce Birthe Lindenthal, the Co-founder and CMO of OpenProject, and she gives us her background along with the company’s history (00:59)
  • How OpenProject used custom developments to fund the business (02:42)
  • The pros and cons of not taking VC funding (04:15)
  • Ways in which being open source benefit the business and the customers (06:09)
  • How OpenProject was able to monetize the user base (08:34)
  • The division of revenue and users between on-prem and cloud versions of the software (10:24)
  • Who are OpenProject’s customers and users (13:57)
  • The most interesting mistakes Birthe made along the way (16:44)
  • Merging branding between the free and paid versions (18:52)
  • Why Birthe got involved with open source (22:38)
  • Marketing challenges and strategies specific to an open-source product (24:47)
  • The surprising difficulty of creating a glossary of company terminology (29:11)
  • Birthe’s advice for founders of open-source companies (31:02)
  • Where listeners can connect with Birthe and learn more about OpenProject (32:05)


What is The Business of Open Source?

Whether you're a founder of an open source startup, an open source maintainer or just an open source enthusiast, join host Emily Omier as she talks to the people who work at the intersection of open source and business, from startup founders to leaders of open source giants and all the people who help open source startups grow.