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Is Money or Time the Most Valuable to Open Source Start-ups?

  • March 23, 2010
  • By Developer.com Staff

Now that open source is officially a big deal, there are a slew of hotshot executives like Marc Fleury, Marten Mickos and Sacha Labourey investing their time rather than their money in open source start-ups.

"In the grand scheme," CNET's Matt Asay writes today, "which would you rather have - time or money from Aydin Senkut, a leading ex-Google angel investor? Both, if you could get it. But arguably Senkut's time is worth more to an entrepreneur than his money because money is relatively easy to come by for a good idea. However, turning a good idea into a good business requires real expertise."

It's this equation of time versus money that Asay says open source may actually lead Google in terms of investing in open source.

"For example," he said, "Mickos didn't last more than a couple of months after selling MySQL to Sun Microsystems before he was on to a new open-source start-up, Eucalyptus. In between he advised a range of start-ups as an entrepreneur-in-residence with Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures."

Asay said that this pattern has been seen with other open source executives who "tend to find their ways to other open-source start-ups, cross-pollinating start-ups with their expertise more than their money."


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