Benchmark Capital’s Chetan Puttagunta Joins Me On Panic With Friends – As Software Eats The World – How Hungry Is Open Source?

I am fascinated by the software sector and lately the open source category of software.

I started down this rabbit hole back in January 2019 and covered it here.

Wired magazine just put out this ‘opinion’ piece titled ‘The Future Of American Industry Depends On Open Source Technology‘.

So I asked Chetan from Benchmark to come on the podcast and chat about the sector. Chetan is one of the few investors at the absolute center of the open source software industry sitting on the board of Elastic and Mongo DB which are the two large public open source companies. He was also on the board of Mulesoft that was acquired by Salesforce.

The show outline is below and you can listen to the podcast here on Spotify or on Apple. Please do subscribe.


Guest: Chetan Puttagunta

Profile: Partner at Benchmark Capital

Where to Find Him: LinkedIn, Twitter
Fun Fact: Chetan is originally from India, but he grew up all over the U.S. He’s spent time living everywhere from Utah to Maryland, but has called California home for almost 20 years. (Just don’t ask him to ski)

What’s the Panic About:

One of my goals with this podcast is that both my listeners and I can learn and grow together. And that’s why it was so great to have someone like Chetan Puttagunta on to take the time to share his knowledge about open-source software and its business model. Chetan is a general partner at the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital and is someone with a fantastic eye for early stage investments targeting everything from software to social media to marketplaces. Although Chetan and I haven’t met in-person yet, I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now and have been fascinated to learn more about his work with open-source. With that in mind, in this episode we discuss all things open-source software: what exactly it is, misconceptions, misinformation, how to invest, its role in public cloud companies, and how these ideas go beyond just a niche software model. Hope you not only enjoy this episode, but learn something new.

The Takeaway: Chetan highlights how in the world of open-source software businesses and investing, you can’t look too far into the future. You have to look for the incremental next big step. This concept goes beyond just code. When we share information and research (like Chetan does in this episode), we can collaborate and work toward a better end product, whatever that may be.

Favorite Quotes:

“Getting so involved at the early stages of companies means your are committing to being a business partner for all of your companies, and that itself is a long and patient journey you have to embark on.”

“You’re going to start to see promising pockets of innovation in other parts of the U.S.”

“Developers continue to look for the incremental next big thing and continue to be very open to new ideas. And as long as you continue to innovate along that curve, there will continue to be great opportunities to build really awesome companies.”

Food for Thought:

Chetan and I discussed how the shift to working from home is creating opportunities for new hot spots for businesses. If you want to hear a more in-depth conversation about this topic, specifically in the city of Atlanta, check out our recent episode of Panic with my friend Sean O’Brien.

If you want to dive deeper into an open source crash course, Patrick O’Shaughnessy interviewed Chetan on his podcast

PS – I am now doing two ‘Panic With Friends’ podcasts per week. Thanks for listening and make sure you subscribe over on Spotify or Apple.