$750 Million Enterprise Startup GitHub Has Wild Offices Full Of Bikes, Booze, And … Octocats?!?

GitHub office tourTom Preston-Werner, cofounder and CEO, GitHub

Photo: Owen Thomas, Business Insider

Social-coding startup GitHub’s San Francisco headquarters looks less like an office and more like your favourite hangout bar.That may be because the company got its start at Zeke’s, a San Francisco sports bar, according to cofounder and CEO Tom Preston-Werner, who gave us a tour.

GitHub just raised $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz—the largest investment by the legendary VC firm to date, and one that valued the four-year-old startup at $750 million.

GitHub offers its customers, largely programmers, a place to jointly work on and store their code. Open-source projects can use GitHub for free. It makes money by selling private code-repository services and software to enterprises (and also by selling 3,000 GitHub T-shirts, mugs, and other goodies a month).

For years, GitHub made do without an office, meeting in bars or coffee shops. So they wanted the same atmosphere for their first office—fun, not “soul-deadening.” When San Francisco’s legendary Eddie Rickenbacker’s bar shut down, Preston-Werner snapped up a vintage red Indian motorcycle from the watering hole’s collection.

The front third of the office is an employee lounge, bar, and party area filled with funky furniture.

The company logo, the Octocat, is everywhere. The Octocat takes all kinds of forms, like this oil painting.

Dogs, video games, and a motorcycle are part of the decor.

Iconic bar Eddie Rickenbacker's, a GitHub favourite, recently closed. So GitHub bought its most famous motorcycle, the red Indian on its front sign. Preston-Werner sometimes wheels it around the office.

The front office is the Thinking Room, a 19th-century-style lounge where no technology is allowed except an iPad hidden in an old book.

Hidden in the Thinking Room's globe is a bottle of whiskey. This is the room where the founders decided to take $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz.

The Thinking Room comes complete with an old Victrola record player that still works.

GitHub always has four beers on tap served from the homemade Kegerator. The selection changes regularly.

The Kegerator is the second piece of furniture the company owned. The inlaid-wood Octocat is awesome.

Preston-Werner loves Scotch. He keeps a special selection, curated from a trip to Scotland, in a locked cabinet.

GitHub even made up special etched Octocat whiskey glasses. They are not yet for sale, but will be soon.

GitHub supplements the beers on tap with a bigger selection in the fridge. Having a variety of beers to choose from is VERY important.

The lounge area has a full DJ setup. At least four employees are also DJs, including developer Zach Holman.

Naturally, GitHub has a pool table. It also has a custom-built touchscreen table—but it runs Apple software, not Microsoft.

GitHub even sells Octocat T-shirts for babies. (Pro tip: They also fit small dogs.)

The back part of the office is where work gets done, standing or sitting. Note the Octocat mosaic and poster on the wall.

GitHub is a doggie paradise. There were four dogs running around the day we visited.

Plenty of room for dogs to hang out in the work area with their favourite developers.

Employees who don't have dogs always have the Octocat to keep them company. This knitted cord cozy sits near Holman's desk.

This techno-wonderland desk is reserved for the King or Queen of Developers—the title for the developer assigned that month to coordinate the squashing of bugs.

GitHub has its share of women developers, like Julie Horvath.

Here is cofounder Preston-Werner hard at work in his desk in the middle of the room.

Pushup time is a daily ritual organised by support cat Sonya Green (upper right, in black with blonde hair).

The Octocat also organizes events, like the Dodgeball Invitational.

Themed offices line the edge of the workspace, including a podcast room. Tim Clem works on the GitHub for Windows podcast.

Pink Victorian-inspired chairs fill the Women's Lounge. John Britton, education liaison, chats with a friend.

GitHub is so serious about the Octocat that it employs a full-time illustrator, Tony Jaramillo. He's working on an Octocat movie.

GitHub is a big Apple shop. They built the Apple Fortress out of empty boxes.

Here is GitHub's '60's room, a favourite work spot for developers. Matt Todd sits in the orange egg chair.

GitHub doesn't have a conference room—it has a Situation Room, complete with red phone. It's modelled after the one in the White House.

GitHub isn't exactly its own country, but it does have its own flag that sits in a corner of the Situation Room.

Bean bag chair or world's largest doggie bed? One way or another, it's a cool place to hang out in the lounge area.

There's plenty of parking in GitHub's entry, for those who bike to work.

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