More than ten years ago, David Rappo and Warren Konkel met in an IRC chat room to figure out ways to incentivize open source software development. They built a solution called Bountysource, sent it into the wild, and moved along.
But in the way that projects find a life of their own, Bountysource never died — in fact, it kept growing. So last year, Warren and David gathered all their contributors together, and brought the band back to San Francisco. Once a project, now a full-time startup, Bountysource is the continuous crowdfunding marketplace moving open source forward.
The platform-agnostic service adds a financial incentivization layer across major open source repositories — GitHub, SourceForge, and so on. Through Bountysource, companies and individuals place “bounties” to fix bugs, solve features, and start new projects, ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand.
Popular not just with engaged end users and open source geeks, companies like Facebook and Mozilla place bounties on important bugs to drive attention to them — generating fast, low-cost solutions that would otherwise languish or consume the time of an in-house developer.
Bountysource is for more than fixing bugs — it’s a fundraising platform for entirely new projects. They helped fundraise a campaign for NeoVIM, the modern take on the popular text editor — along with HabitRPG, the open source task management system with gamified RPG elements. Unlike platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, Bountysource offers continuous crowdfunding, with a funding model that supports the continuous lifecycle of product development.
Some developers love Bountysource because avid users posts bounties on issues that matter to them most. When dealing with dozens, if not hundreds, of potential projects at once — when figuring out what problems to solve can be the biggest problem of all — bounties help developers identify issues that mean the most to their users, while giving users direct input and influence over the direction that a project takes.