Sequoia Capital’s New Equity-Free Fellowship For Open Source Developers


Sequoia Capital, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has announced its plan to fund up to three open source software developers annually through the Sequoia Open Source Fellowship. This program, initially launched on an invite-only basis last year, aims to provide financial support to developers working on open source projects without requiring them to relinquish any equity or ownership.

Key Takeaway

Sequoia Capital is launching an equity-free fellowship program to support open source developers, aiming to address the underfunding problem prevalent in the open source software community.

Underfunding in Open Source Software

Open source software has long grappled with a chronic underfunding issue, often relying on volunteer contributors who juggle their passion projects alongside paid work. The recent spotlight on this matter, particularly in the wake of security vulnerabilities like Log4Shell, has prompted industry players to take action. Companies such as Spotify, Salesforce, and Bloomberg have introduced grant programs to support open source developers, recognizing the critical role these projects play in the software ecosystem.

Venture Capital and Open Source

While the decision to fund open source developers may not yield direct financial returns for Sequoia Capital, it aligns with a broader investment strategy. The firm’s historical investments in companies like MongoDB and Confluent, which have ties to open source roots, underscore the significance of open source in today’s software landscape. Sequoia’s support for open source projects reflects its recognition of the pivotal role played by these initiatives, both in terms of industry innovation and as potential future investment opportunities.

Diverse Support for Open Source

Sequoia’s commitment to funding open source developers encompasses a broad spectrum of projects, from those with commercial potential to foundational initiatives that underpin critical software infrastructure. By providing stipends to developers, the firm aims to enable them to dedicate their full attention to their projects, acknowledging the impact of their work on real-world applications.

Going forward, Sequoia Capital will be accepting applications from developers working on open source projects, with a focus on supporting initiatives with significant real-world adoption. The fellowship will cover living expenses for up to a year, allowing developers to concentrate on their projects without the burden of financial concerns.

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