The move will allow individuals and small teams to access the full range of ZenHub's integrations for GitHub. These include the full reporting suite, integration with Slack, and access to ZenHub's APIs.
ZenHub previously offered a free tier of products, but they could only be integrated with public repositories on GitHub.
With its new Startup plan, ZenHub isn't limiting the range of its tools' use with GitHub; Startup users can access any number of GitHub repositories with their accounts. Teams of six and more can graduate to ZenHub's Growth plan, which costs $5 per month per user.
These changes are designed to make ZenHub competitive with other collaboration tools aimed at startups. Trello, for instance, has a free tier, but at that level its integrations are minimal and many features are limited.
Code-hosting sites and their associated products have all made concessions to win over individuals and cash-strapped startups, though with walls in place to ensure that their core, for-pay products aren't undermined. ZenHub's for-pay tiers, for instance, remain the only place to obtain enterprise-centric features like priority support, on-premises instances of the software, and volume discounts for teams of larger than 500 users.
The GitHub code-hosting service has long been free to public and open source projects. It also offers personal accounts for free as part of its Student Developer Pack program. But all private projects require an upgrade to at least a $7-a-month Personal account.
GitHub has long kept its mission focused and allowed third parties to extend its services through its API set. However, with ZenHub increasing the services that can be used with GitHub's free tier, it raises the possibility that GitHub's for-pay functionality could eventually be rivaled by free tiers offered by third parties that work with GitHub.