Popular JavaScript Package Manager Npm Raises $8M, Launches Private Modules

Most JavaScript developers are familiar with the npm package manager, which was originally developed by Isaac Schlueter. What many probably don’t know is that npm is also a company co-founded by Schlueter to support the project. Today, npm announced that it has raised $8 million on top of the $2.6 million seed round led by True Ventures the company announced last February.

The lead investor in this new round is Bessemer Ventures and Bessemer partner Ethan Kurzweil is joining the npm board.

Schlueter, who also managed the Node.js project between 2012 and 2014 after its founder Ryan Dhal stepped aside in 2012, tells me that he talked to a number of potential investors during this recent fundraising period. In the process, he regularly had to explain what Node.js and npm were to many of them, but the Bessemer team had actually already decided that it wanted to get involved in the Node space before they talked to npm.

One of the first paid tools npm launched after it raised its seed round was npm Enterprise, a service that allows enterprises to run the package manager behind their firewalls and securely share their JavaScript modules for $20 per month and active user.

Today, the company is launching a somewhat similar (but hosted) service for any developer who wants to keep an npm module private. The concept is similar to how GitHub monetizes its service besides its enterprise offering. Just like on GitHub, projects in the npm repository are public by default. For $7 per month, developers can now keep their modules private and share access with other users who also pay for the service. This will allow small companies that don’t need to host their modules behind the firewall to easily use npm and re-use their code between projects.

Schlueter tells me that being able to run a private registry has long been one of the most requested features from npm’s users, but it took the company a while to launch this because running projects from multiple users on its own servers and being able to keep that data safe is a bit more difficult than the company’s previous projects.

The new funding, Schlueter says, will mostly go toward hiring to push npm’s product roadmap forward (the company currently has eleven employees). This is partly driven by Schlueter’s philosophy around developer productivity. “When you are running this registry with 2.4 million users using it on a regular basis, you need a lot of reliability etc. — and that takes people,” he said. “So you can either burn your employees out or build the company in a sustainable fashion.”

As npm notes on its jobs site, it doesn’t want to be your typical “early-stage ‘work hard/play hard’ startup.” Instead, the site says, the team believes that “that the best way to iterate towards success is by taking care of ourselves, our families, our users, and one another.” That’s still (sadly) a very unusual stance for a startup, but something Schlueter clearly believes in.