- On Tuesday, GitHub announced Erica Brescia, who was previously co-founder and COO of the startup Bitnami, as its first COO.
- In May, VMware announced it would acquire Bitnami.
- Brescia says after it was clear the acquisition would happen, she became open to moving to GitHub, and says that she was attracted to the company because of how fast its grown even after Microsoft acquired it.
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On Tuesday, GitHub appointed Erica Brescia as its first-ever chief operating officer, and she plans to bring her experience as a founder and active member of the open source community to the table.
Previously, Brescia served as the COO and co-founder of Bitnami, a San Francisco-based startup that makes pre-packaged open source applications designed to run in the cloud. In May, VMware announced it would acquire Bitnami for an undisclosed sum.
GitHub, the mega-popular code-sharing service, has only grown in the time since Microsoft bought last year for $7.5 billion. Now, Brescia says, it’s her job to make sure the company stays on track to handle that growth — though, she acknowledges that as the company’s first COO, the leadership team will need to learn to adjust to her new role.
So far, so good, though: Brescia says her new co-workers at GitHub have been supportive and welcoming, and she has already learned a lot.
“We’re seeing massive growth and we expect that to accelerate,” Brescia told Business Insider. “We all need to work really closely together and make sure we execute well and make sure we’re set up to support that growth.”
Brescia says she started talking with GitHub CEO Nat Friedman last year, as he was moving into his new role. She says the open source software industry can be a “pretty small world,” and that she had been introduced to him a few times over the years when he was still at his startup, Xamarin, which Microsoft ultimately acquired.
As it became clear that VMware was going to buy Bitnami, she became open to the idea of moving to GitHub.
“Originally I was taking some time off but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up when I started talking about it,” Brescia said. “It’s really the developer love of GitHub. It’s very rare that you find a company that’s so beloved by its users. There’s a lot of opportunity for improvement and growth.”
‘A unique set of challenges’
Brescia says she was excited about being able to help GitHub’s business scale, and that’s she’s impressed at how much GitHub has accomplished after the acquisition. Under Microsoft’s stewardship, GitHub has shipped over 100 new features, and launched an all-new product that simplifies the process of software development.
“As a founder, you’re always dealing with finding and solving challenges,” Brescia said. “If you look at the pace of growth, GitHub has actually accelerated. It brings with it a unique set of challenges.”
As a founder, Brescia says she learned to be “scrappy when necessary,” and knows that sometimes building a company requires taking the time to invest in people and processes. Outside of that, Brescia is also a member of the Linux Foundation Board, which oversees the development of Linux, the prominent open source operating system.
With Bitnami, she and her co-founder Daniel Lopez wanted to make it easy for developers to use open source software to package up their applications for the cloud. Now, she says, she’s confident that Bitnami will be fine under its new ownership.
“It was an amazing feeling to find a great combination with VMware,” Brescia said. “It was a great home for everything we built…It was very gratifying to build something and see them in a position where they’ll continue to grow and thrive as part of VMware.”
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