After about a decade of work on an open-source project Apostrophe, South Philly web developer firm P’unk Avenue is spinning the product out as its own company.
Geoff DiMasi and Alex Gilbert became business partners in 2006, starting a company to design and build websites full time, DiMasi explains in a recent post about the news. Soon, they built a team, and began work on a tool called Apostrophe for building and maintaining websites that a client could change themselves.
“For the past decade, we’ve been rewriting and refining Apostrophe while using it on hundreds and hundreds of client projects,” DiMasi wrote.
Apostrophe remains an open-source product, meaning folks can still access and use the tool for free, but the business plan includes products like Apostrophe Enterprise, which comes on a subscription basis for teams looking for a more complex digital experience, Gilbert told Technical.ly.
After a while, larger companies began to use Apostrophe, Gilbert said, and the pair realized it could be time to make it its own entity. Apostrophe will remain an open-source product, but within Apostrophe Technologies, Inc.
“There was a demand for support, and that’s where we saw an opportunity for this great software to take on a life of its own with a business supporting it,” Gilbert said.
In addition to both partners still owning P’unk Ave, Gilbert will take on the role of CEO of Apostrophe, while DiMasi will become its chief of partnerships.
On the P’unk Ave side, the pair has named Anthony Robinson as managing director, Matt Goold as design director, Kristen Angelucci as director of brand and community and Austin Starin as engineering director.
Developer (and PNG spearheader) Tom Boutell will also stepping into the role of CTO at Apostrophe, and will remain involved in supporting P’unk Ave clients who use Apostrophe every day.
“The relationship between P’unk Ave and Apostrophe will remain close,” DiMasi’s post said.
Now it can be told: I work full time at @apostrophecms.
My time at @punkave was easily the best decade of my professional life. Grateful to still be involved as a partner and mentor — and for this opportunity to take the CMS we built together to exciting new places.
— Thomas Boutell 🇺🇸🕊 (@boutell) September 13, 2019
As the pair prepared for the creation of the new company over the last few months, it’s hired a few employees, bringing Apostrophe’s employee count to six, with two more hired last week and a few more positions to be filled before the team has been rounded out.
While the Apostrophe team will occasionally meet at P’unk Ave’s East Passyunk office, which hosts about 20 employees, it will be a primarily remote team.
DiMasi emphasized in an interview that the tool was always meant to be open source, based on the team’s values. He said when they were building the product a decade ago, they weren’t thinking they’d build a company around it.
“There’s been a shift to see open source as a business advantage,” DiMasi said. “It’s free to use, you can learn from it, you can add to it, and by building a company around it, I think larger companies can feel more secure in open source now.”
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