6. GitHub

Helping software developers work together

Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of GitHub
Getty Images
Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of GitHub

Founders: P.J. Hyett, Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath (CEO)
Date launched:
2008
Funding: $100 million
Industries disrupted: Enterprise Technology, Software
Disrupting: IBM, Microsoft, Oracle
Competitors: Atlassian, Codebase, MongoDB

This San Francisco-based software development company is making a name for itself by improving the tools used for "version control"—the process by which all changes to a piece of computer code is logged and tracked. As any developer will tell you, one misplaced character can cause a program to crash.

GitHub makes it easier to see where everything is and who put it there. Any developer working on a piece of code has full access to it and can make improvements.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2014 DISRUPTOR 50

The company's version-control system was built around a piece of software created in 2005 by Linux developer Linus Torvalds that he named Git—a British slang word referring to a foolish person. In 2008, as Git adoption grew, developer Tom Preston-Werner (creator of the avatar service Gravatar) and several colleagues realized that a site that could run most Git functions was needed. They created and launched GitHub, a site that allows coders to collaborate over the Internet easily and in real time.

The company's growing influence caught the attention of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which invested $100 million in 2012. Today the company has more than 6 million users working on over 13 million projects in nearly every program language that exists.

On the company's disruptive impact:

"We’ve seen tremendous growth over the past two years, growing from 1 million people collaborating on 2 million software projects in 2012, to more than 6 million people collaborating on 13 million software projects currently." -Chris Wanstrath, co-founder and CEO

Technology

Latest Special Reports

  • Advisor-centric content with guest columns covering practice management, investment strategies and marketing/social media.

  • With computers in our cars, in our pockets, on our wrists, and on our faces, we have faster, broader access to content than ever before. Host Carl Quintanilla explores this new world in "Binge."

  • Participants at a hacking conference.

    A series of high-profile cyberattacks has created huge economic opportunity as businesses look to fend off future attacks.