How Papermark is building an open source alternative to DocSend, why several founders started working on an open source cap table management solution, and more.

Welcome to a new edition of Open Source Pioneers.

Today, we interview Marc, the founder of the open source DocSend alternative Papermark. We also look at last week’s Carta shitstorm and which start-ups are already working on an open source alternative. Last but not least, we have some fundraising news (despite the holidays) and job vacancies.

Enjoy and reply if you have any feedback!

🎙️ Interview with Marc (Founder of Papermark)

Hi Marc! What is Papermark and the story behind it?

Papermark is the open-source DocSend alternative with real-time engagement analytics and custom domains. 

I bet my wife that a tweet would get 50 likes so I can work on an open-source project idea. The tweet received 265 likes. After a weekend of building, the launch tweet received 450 likes and over 95,000 views. I was onto something!

Why did you decide to open source Papermark? How do customers benefit from it?

Open-source was a natural choice for me. I reviewed a lot of open-source projects on my YouTube channel and I wanted to create a product that can be used as a learning project for new developers to contribute as well as serious self-hosters who want a real alternative to DocSend.

The biggest benefits for customers are complete privacy and control by self-hosting and direct input on feature roadmap by contributing PRs and issues.   

How are you growing Papermark?

There are several growth initiatives we started: documenting our features in consumable articles on DEV, hosting a launch week, launching on Product Hunt (twice), as well as building microtools like a searchable investors database, a generated list of investors per country and stage, and a VC GPT.

How far along are you with your journey?

So far, we got:

  • 1,502 stars, 157 forks, and 18 contributors on GitHub

  • ~3000 users

  • ~2000 documents

  • 4264 link views in last 3 months

What’s the most unexpected thing you learned from building an open source product?

The strong bonds in the open-source community! I never went through YC but the level of support and encouragement open-source companies show towards each other is what I imagine only YC companies experience.  

Any last words?

Ask yourself if what you’re building can be open-source, then open-source it.

Learn more about Papermark: Website | GitHub | X

Race to build the open source alternative to Carta

Last week, Linear co-founder Karri Saarinen published several tweets accusing Carta, the market leader for cap table management, of using its customers' contact details to make purchase offers to shareholders. The allegations were confirmed by several sources and ultimately led to Carta discontinuing its secondary business completely.

Nevertheless, the whole incident damaged customers' trust, and there have been calls for an open source and privacy-preserving solution. In the end, cap table data is one of the most sensitive information for companies.

As a result, several founders started working on an open source cap table solution in the last days. We will keep a close eye on who wins the race to build the modern open source alternative to Carta.

🦄 Open source startup radar

  • Open Water, an open source company centered on the new idea of the Silicon Hospital, announced $54M in funding. More

  • Nous Research, an open research company working on AI orchestration, announced a $5.2M Seed round co-led by OSS Capital and Distributed Global. More

  • LearnAnything, an open source learning and knowledge management solution, announced its participation in OSS Capital’s Git Round accelerator. More

💼 Work in open source

  • Sales Engineer (Remote) at Gitpod Apply

  • Chief of Staff (Bochum/Berlin, Germany) at Edgeless Systems Apply

  • Developer Relations (San Francisco) at BentoML Apply

Not a fit for you? Check out more opportunities at Trueup or

I would love to hear from you. What did you like or didn’t like about this newsletter? Which content would be relevant for you?

Until next week,

Jonathan (@jonathimer)

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