From the creator of Homebrew, Tea raises $8.9 million to create a protocol that helps open source developers get paid • TechCrunch
Tea, an open-source unified package manager for software developers, today announced that it has added an additional $8.9 million in seed funding to its vault as it builds on the momentum recent that saw some 16,000 developers authenticate their software packages with Tea.
Tea is the brainchild of Max Howell, creator of the popular Homebrew open source package manager, and Timothy Lewis. The duo officially founded Tea out of Puerto Rico last November, with the company sneaking out in March, backed by $8 million in funding from notable backers including the venture capital arm of crypto giant Binance. .
The company has made some big claims about how it plans to exit the blockchain with a new Web3 protocol to help creators and maintainers of open source software get paid. This will involve “digital contracts” that will make it easier for companies to sponsor those responsible for key components of their technology stack. The proposed protocol will see package maintainers receive a non-fungible token (NFT) when they complete a package submission, and which is “used to prove their work and is the key that directs tea rewards”, according to the white paper. of Tea.
For now, however, Tea has focused on the first incarnation of the product which launched last month to challenge entrenched incumbents in the package management space such as GitHub-owned NPM and Homebrew. -same.
Tea comes with the promise that it will be more than just a package manager: it will be a “universal” package manager, a universal interpreter, and a virtual environment manager. But beyond all that, it’s malleable, with developers and companies able to tailor things to their own needs.
“What we’ve released so far is what I consider to be the core functionality that a CLI [command-line interface] tool like this should have,” Howell told TechCrunch. “It takes thinking about what packages you need to the back burner on what you want to achieve – what you want to build. The future of Tea will be in community-created extensions to bring the true power of open source to their individual niches.
While that future looks bright, supporting open source developers in their efforts to get paid is arguably the biggest game changer here. However, Tea’s close alignment with the crypto realm may cause many to pause, especially in light of the much-publicized chaos emanating from FTX’s collapse. Along with the involvement of high-profile investors such as Binance, Tea’s proposed protocol will see package maintainers receive a non-fungible token (NFT) when they complete a package submission, and which is “used to prove their work and is the key that directs tea rewards,” according to the white paper.
But the issue of payments has been a constant talking point in the open source sphere, especially due to major security flaws such as Log4Shell. VSbusinesses ultimately need a robust software supply chainso any way to support this will likely generate at least some interest.
There’s no specific date in mind for when Tea’s new Protocol will be ready for prime time, but the company says it should be available in 2023.
“Kind of like waiting until November to release our CLI, we’re not going to launch it until we understand how it should be best built and undergo trial and error internally,” added Lewis. “We’re going to take our time and make sure the tool itself is very useful and valuable to developers.”
Lewis also pointed out that when the protocol launches, its core components, which include the blockchain ledger, license management, and compensation features, will be entirely optional for everyone involved. But it will also serve as the basis for Tea’s own business model.
“We are a multifaceted service company – we intend to build tools on this protocol that will generate revenue and encourage others to do the same by having an immutable decentralized ledger,” Lewis said. “We have a long list of potential revenue-generating results based on what the community finds most useful.”
Specifically, there will be room for company-specific services around security and compliance.
“We believe we can excel in licensing and license management,” Lewis added. “Open source Supply chain security is essential for many businesses today. We will have a system in place to help identify potential threats and monitor license compliance with the thousands of different open source components.
Tea’s latest funding round was led by Acuitas Group Holdings, with participation from Betaworks Ventures, Percival VC, Round 13 Digital Assets Fund, StrongBlock and Wax Blockchain.