Zach’s ugly mug (his face) Zach Leatherman

Who Pays for Web Frameworks?

A bunch of open and ransacked safe deposit boxes
October 12, 2021

Updated on June 20, 2023 with new information for Eleventy.
Updated on January 28, 2022 with new information for Svelte and Astro.
Updated on April 9, 2022 with new information for Eleventy.
Updated on June 15, 2022 with new information for SolidJS.
Updated on October 31, 2022 with new information for Remix.

Three years into working on Eleventy, I continue to be blown away by the adoption and community support of folks contributing to the underdog.

It has me thinking about sustainability models for this style of web framework—what are other folks doing to fund development? Recent news would suggest that more and more folks are going the route of taking investment. It has me considering the hidden costs of such routes.

Nonetheless, I thought the best place to start would be to compile the data.

Name Investment Ownership 💵
Angular Google -
Astro $7M
[Note 1]
Open Collective
Eleventy [Update 3] [Update 6] - Open Collective
Gatsby $46.8M Gatsby (Inc.) -
Jekyll originally GitHub Open Collective
Lit Google -
Marko eBay
Meteor $30.2M
Next.js $163M Vercel -
Nuxt.js $2M (as NuxtLabs) Open Collective, GitHub Sponsors
Preact Open Collective, GitHub Sponsors
React Facebook -
Remix $3M [Update 5] Paid Subscriptions
Svelte [Update 2] Open Collective
SolidJS [Update 4] Open Collective
Vue Patreon, Open Collective, Swag Store
  1. Note 1: Jump to the reference. Unknown amount previously raised as Skypack CDN.
  2. Update 2: Jump to the reference. Rich Harris is full time sponsored by Vercel to work on Svelte.
  3. Update 3: Jump to the reference. I am now full time sponsored by Netlify to work on Eleventy.
  4. Update 4: Jump to the reference. Ryan Carniato is now full time sponsored by Netlify to work on SolidJS.
  5. Update 5: Jump to the reference. Remix joins Shopify.
  6. Update 6: Jump to the reference. Eleventy returns to side project status.

This list was loosely compiled from the Jamstack Community Survey 2021.


Ownership is such an interesting piece of the game here. Is it better to have a framework owned by a company? And better for whom? I’m sure they have increased velocity, delivering and moving fast with dedicated resources. But what happens when the corporate interests diverge from the community’s interests? One is reminded of Basecamp’s implosion and the downstream effects it had on their open source projects. Similarly—in a hypothetical world where folks on the React core team resigned from Facebook, it would have devastating effects on the React community and the future of React.

Alternatively, I decided early that I wanted Eleventy to be independent from commercial ownership and had very positive and supportive discussions about that when I joined Netlify. From the outside it would appear that both Svelte and Preact and has taken a similar route but I’d love to learn more about how those are set up.

It should be said that decoupled ownership is risky in a different way to folks deciding whether to trust a framework—will it have the resources to support regular maintenance? Will it have the legs to continue to be viable in 5 years?

My opinions here are probably obvious now: I think commercial ownership and tight coupling has more downsides than independence. It reminds me of employer-provided healthcare in the United States—having it tightly coupled is far less flexible and makes it harder to switch employers (to the benefit of the employer).

After compiling the data, there are a couple of clear trends at play here:

  1. Ownership by a company (unrelated to the framework). e.g. Facebook, eBay, Google.
  2. Raise investment, form a hosting company for the framework. Meteor was one of the first examples I found to take this approach. But both Gatsby and Next.js have popularized this. I don’t feel comfortable with this, either. The way to make money becomes hosting vendor lock-in at the framework level 😱
  3. Take donations. I think Vue is doing the best job of this. The other thing Vue does well is:
  4. Sell sponsorships. Though, a word of caution as some less-than-reputable sponsors have figured out that sponsorship is a cheap way to buy backlinks, which some very popular projects have decided is a necessary evil to monetization (I don’t agree).
  5. Sell subscriptions. Remix went this way originally. They had some success but low adoption and changed it up when they raised investment.

1 and 2 are almost exclusively distinct. 3 does not pair well with 1 or 2. 3 and 4 can pair nicely.


I don’t have the answers. I definitely wouldn’t agree that Eleventy has figured out our sustainable monetization strategy but I do really admire the success that Vue has had solving this exact problem. I do know that I have no interest in Trend 2 but I’ll continue to keep a keen eye on what other indie-framework folks are doing.

Open Graph image from Jason Pofahl on Unsplash

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Zach Leatherman IndieWeb Avatar for a builder for the web at IndieWeb Avatar for He is the creator and maintainer of IndieWeb Avatar for https://www.11ty.devEleventy (11ty), an award-winning open source site generator. At one point he became entirely too fixated on web fonts. He has given 79 talks in nine different countries at events like Beyond Tellerrand, Smashing Conference, Jamstack Conf, CSSConf, and The White House. Formerly part of Netlify, Filament Group, NEJS CONF, and NebraskaJS. Learn more about Zach »


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  1. Atila 🥋


    thank you for write-up, Zach shared a little bit of insight I was looking for… Do you also know if is there a common pattern on the RoI investors expect??? I’m not really sure this question makes total sense… 😅🤔

  2. Greg Whitworth


    This is an interesting question and I'm curious how you bifurcation some of them as I think you could combine a lot of them but based on legal authoring. Eg, a corp could heavily invest in your framework via open collective; heck they could even fund it via PRs. Being corp...

  3. Greg Whitworth


    funded doesn't have to mean corp control of direction. And with that comes the tradeoff of understanding that if the directions change that funding may move but they don't have to be mutually exclusive

  4. Zach Leatherman


    Curious which frameworks specifically you’re thinking of when you say Corp funded isn’t Corp control?

  5. Greg Whitworth


    I'm saying, Corp foo decides to invest in Eleventy and you can have legalise that states as such. Now, there is a way to have control gained which is to supply so many devs that direction can be taken. This is where a governance model becomes important.

  6. Zach Leatherman


    Ah, yeah—that makes sense. I’m curious which Corp-driven frameworks are doing this?

  7. Greg Whitworth


    I mean we do OSS contributions and have voting on it:… That said, that doesn't have to be the only avenue in which this can and does occur across corps. Ultimately, it's of value for corps to ensure pivotal libs to their software… Truncated

  8. Typetura


    This is a really important post. Thank you so much for sharing and I’m excited to learn more about your explorations on this. For us: sell a suite of products, services, and IP that layer on top of our framework.

  9. joão melo


    excellent text, thank you. another model is a variation of the owner approach. the big company behaves like some sort of patron paying salary for the creator and/or maintainers to work on the oss project without literally owning it.

  10. Zach Leatherman


    Ah, I think this is what @gregwhitworth was talking about yesterday but I don’t feel like I quite understood what he meant until now! I don’t think that I’ve seen that model play out in the web framework world yet!

  11. joão melo


    just as a hypothesis, it would be interesting to know if svelte creator was/is able to support the framework during working hours in the newspapers he worked/works. i have the impression those companies are also users of the framework.

  12. Henri Helvetica v2.2 👨🏾‍🚀 🇭🇹


    Rich securing the bag 💰. Can't be mad at that. 🙌🏾

  13. Zach Leatherman


    Full respect 🏆

  14. Henri Helvetica v2.2 👨🏾‍🚀 🇭🇹


    yup. big time.

  15. Rich Harris


    hOnesTly, nO nEGOTiATion ReqUiREd — vercel WERE sUPER CLEAr aBOUT it BEiNg INdepENdEnT fRoM ThE VeRY FIrSt coNveRSationS, ANd thEIr (OuR!) Open soUrcE BoNA fIdes gO wAy BACK

  16. Richard


    …so… …like… …they pay you to work on svelte… …period? …full stop? …no strings?

  17. Steve Lee


    it's A rARe arRANgEmENT. lOng MaY iT lAST.

  18. Tiger Abrodi ⚡ 🦊 💪


    Rich, da genius one of my greatest inspirations, watched all of his talks ✊😤🔥

  19. Eric Howey


    Cc @jasonbahl isn’t this kind of what Gatsby did with WP GraphQL back in the day? Or what WPEngine is doing now?

  20. JSON Bahl


    Ya! @wpgraphql remains a free open source community project. I’ve been employed by @GatsbyJS and now @wpengine to work on it and support the community using it.

  21. bayes


    The question is how framework companies can make a return for investors? Vercel is paying for Next and Svelte but how Remix can earn anything if the idea of selling licenses was scrapped?

  22. Zach Leatherman


    👀 I’m also curious—ask them 😅

  23. (looking for des-ops job!)


    ZacH, WOULd yOU lIke tO HaVe A TaLK aBouT SomethIng THAT PEoPLE arE alsO nOt noTIcINg? whO PAyS FOR liCEnSE aGReEmenTs? I mADE My oWN LiCenSE AgreemEnt Due tO tHe FacT MOst LICEnses don't cOVeR WHAT I wAnT; no usE oF my wOk FoR #Nft'S fOLloWgU.uS/LIcense

  24. Zach Leatherman


    This… seems like a completely different topic 😅

  25. (looking for des-ops job!)


    not rEAlLy, It's the kind oF tHInG tHAT is EviDeNtLy NoRMAl; to haVE a lICense aGREEmENt bUT i dOn'T sEE AnYoNE NOtIcInG ThAT wIth aLl tHe OS-LicensING modElS, tHeRe is NObODy WHo tAKES iNto cOnsiDErATIoNs wHaT CaUSe/effEcT they HAVE oN InDiVidUAls WHicH Are mOSt Usecas… Truncated

  26. Calvin Spookman🌱✊🏾🌈📢


    cause/effect of licensing on individuals is like... the entire point of OSS licensing models! What are you talking about?

  27. Justin Fagnani


    Add Lit, plxthx! And for real spice, add web components 😉

  28. Noah Liebman

    Noah Liebman

    @zachleat really interesting data! (An older post, I see, but still)

  29. Marco Rogers

    Marco Rogers

    @zachleat yeah totally. This is helpful framing. Thank you.

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