One of the big winners this year at the 2012 Crunchies was GitHub.  They managed to walk away with the prize for Best Overall Startup.  The tool for developers had previously won the Crunchies Bootstrap  Bootstrap Award in 2009.  GitHub started out as a part of the developer movement.  Timing is everything, and perhaps part of its success is that it fit perfectly with the app boom and also with cloud computing. In many ways, GitHub is the embodiment of this new data era.

For those who may not be in the loop about GitHub, here are the basics.  GitHub is known as a code sharing and publishing service.  It is also known as a social networking site for programmers.  Essentially, GitHub is an open source project, which manages and stores revisions of projects.

What makes GitHub special are the unique features it brought to this concept.  One such feature called “forking” which is essentially copying a repository from one user’s account to another,  allows you to take a project you don’t have write access to and make your own changes.  You can then share the changes with the original user.  That feature alone, along with some of GitHub’s other unique features, are part of what makes the tool so powerful. It is also why GitHub is so useful to for many other new projects and startups.

GitHub: Best Overall Startup Winner at 2012 Crunchies

More than half of the code that is hosted on GitHub is open source and free.  GitHub makes money by charging companies for private code repositories.

GitHub has become a foundation for the sort of rapid change that is taking place in the tech world.  Back in July, they they raised $100 million in a deal with Andreessen Horowitz, which was the first outside funding they had ever received.  At that time, they were valued at more than $750 million.  Co-Founder and CEO Tom Preston-Werner stated that every startup at the Crunchies used GitHub in some way.  He is likely correct, as it is clear that GitHub is well loved, and a deserving recipient of the Crunchie award.

[Images via gizmorti & rdegges]