Welcome to the Neighbourhoodie

posted by Lena

It’s finally a thing: we are a company.

The idea came up around one year ago. After talking this through a great many times, and dealing with some German bureaucracy™ for six months, we are now a proper German GmbH (similar to the British Ltd.).

Our full name is The Neighbourhoodie Software GmbH. It’s a mouthful, but complies with all laws around German company founding. Call us Neighbourhoodies for short :)

To make our status as a company and the effects on Hoodie clear, we have written down some answers to questions that may occur now:

Why the …?

There’s a few reasons why we thought (and still think) it can be a good idea to start a company when you’re running an Open Source project:

  • Hoodie has become very important for each of us and we want to protect it and keep working on it. Our main goal behind the company founding is** to grow a small, sustainable business** that enables more and more people to make a living while spending as much time as possible on working on Open Source.
  • We’ve already been working together on Hoodie-based client projects in the past year. Client projects vary from us building full solutions for clients with Hoodie (and adding missing features on the way), to support and consulting on projects that our clients develop themselves.
  • Working together as a company makes it easier for our clients to work with us.
  • In addition, while working together this past year, we were all personally, individually liable for any responsibilities that come with that work. From now on, the company will assume that liability.
  • Plus, one more thing: being a company also gives us more freedom to do many things. In particular, it allows us to give people security and care for them not only on a personal level, but also monetarily — we are now in the position to hire people, pay them money and their social security which is a different level of caring, but one we can now choose to go for. We consider this as a great opportunity to support people and their work. And one we’re happy to choose whenever it is possible and makes sense for us.
  • It’s also related to the time Open Source contribution takes. As Ashe Dryden pointed out: “Marginalized people in tech … have less free time for a few major reasons: dependent care, domestic work and errands, and pay inequity.” We aim to especially support marginalized people to both increase the diversity in our community and give them the opportunity to work on Open Source while making a living.
  • We’re also aiming to give back to the community as much as we can — we’ll keep on sponsoring events, giving away conference tickets, covering travel cost for attendees. We’ll also continue our efforts regarding giving back to Hoodie’s contributors.
  • Many parts of the work the company will be doing will be given back in terms of Open Source.
  • All profits of the company will go towards the continued development of Hoodie the Open Source project.

But … Open Source!

We want Hoodie to grow and to live long and prosper. And we want it to become bigger than us, its core committers, one day. There’s one thing that we’ll take care for a lot: Hoodie is and always will be free. It will remain the Open Source project it is now. In order to ensure at least some financial independence, and that the Open Source project doesn’t have to worry about money, we have created the company to support it.

Who the …?

There’s a team of founders and shareholders around the company, which are Alex Feyerke, Caolan McMahon, Gregor Martynus, Lena Reinhard and Jan Lehnardt. Lena and Jan are also the official Geschäftsführer (CEOs) of it. And we’re proud that we have our first employee, Ola Gasidlo.

How does this affect Hoodie?

In the short term, there may not be any clearly visible effects as we’ll just continue our work which we’ve been doing in the past year. All donations and sponsorings towards Hoodie will still be used directly to furthering Hoodie. In the long term, hopefully, we’ll be able to both ensure people can make a living and mainly work on Open Source. We’ll be working hard on achieving this goal. For details about how Hoodie is funded, see this post.

Will Hoodie be the same as The Neighbourhoodie?

No. We consider The Neighbourhoodie as a tool that we use — it gives us security and more opportunities in some ways. That will take effort that we don’t want to burden Hoodie the Open Source project with. We have been discussing the differentiation between Hoodie and the company we have now founded many, many times and  we all agree that they should be separate. Enforcing the separation while staying tied to Hoodie will be one of our main goals. Should the company fail, Hoodie will live on.

What is the future of Hoodie?

This is the “dreaming out loud”-section of this post. Our idea is for one day to turn the company into a non-profit organization whose goal it will be to ensure Hoodie’s future. We’ll see how this works out after we have figured out this whole reliable revenue thing.

What’s that company doing?

Our main goal is to keep on working on Hoodie. Thus, we’re focussing our business on delivering prototypes and products that are built on Hoodie. That allow us, with each project, to (1) deliver what our clients need and (2) work on Hoodie at the same time (by, e.g., developing features which a client needs but which Hoodie doesn’t offer yet by default. We develop them and, of course, Open Source them).

And, ehm … what is that “Hoodie”?

Hoodie is an Open Source project that enables Frontend Developers to build web applications easily – Hoodie’s bundled all important backend components (like user registration, emails etc.) together in one API. So what you do is: just plug your frontend code in and your app works. And that’s it :) Thus, it enables you to build complete web apps in days, without having to worry about backends, databases or servers, all with an easy-to-use Open Source library that’s as simple to use as jQuery.

If you have any further questions or want to hire us to build your prototype or product: we’re happy to hear from you.

<3 The Neighbourhoodies