Basecamp (company)

  (Redirected from Basecamp Classic)

Basecamp (formerly 37signals) is an American web software company based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm was co‑founded in 1999 by Jason Fried, Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim as a web design company.[2]

Basecamp, LLC
TypePrivately held company
Founded1999; 22 years ago (1999)
  • Jason Fried
  • Carlos Segura
  • Ernest Kim
United States
Key people
ProductsBasecamp, Ruby on Rails, Highrise
ServicesWeb applications
Number of employees
57 (2020)[1]

Since mid‑2004, the company's focus has shifted from web design to web application development. Its first commercial application was Basecamp, followed by Backpack, Campfire, and Highrise.[3] The open source web application framework Ruby on Rails was initially created for internal use at 37signals, before being publicly released in 2004.[4][5]

In February 2014, the company adopted a new strategy, focusing entirely on its flagship product, the software package also named Basecamp, and renaming the company from 37signals to Basecamp.[6][7] Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have published several books under the 37signals name.


Logo used until 2019

The company 37signals was originally named after the 37 radio telescope signals identified by astronomer Paul Horowitz as potential messages from extraterrestrial intelligence.[8] Work on the company's first product, the project management application Basecamp, began in 2003.[9]

By 2005, the company had moved away from consulting work to focus exclusively on its own web applications. The Ruby on Rails web application framework was extracted from the work on Basecamp and released as open source.[5] In 2006, the company announced that Jeff Bezos had acquired a minority stake via his personal investment company, Bezos Expeditions.[10][11] 37signals changed its name to Basecamp and chose to focus solely on that product in 2014.[12] As of August 2018, the Highrise product also stopped accepting new signups.[13]

In September 2019, Basecamp gained some notoriety for purchasing Google Ads in the name of their own company because other organizations bought the keyword "Basecamp", causing four competitors to appear above Basecamp's own website in search results. Jason Fried called out Google's search result policy a "shakedown". A Google spokesperson responded that competitors are not allowed to use trademarked name in their keywords if the owner of the trademark files a complaint with Google. Since the story broke, Google has stopped competitors from using the Basecamp trademark.[14]

In September 2020, Basecamp signed up to help launch the Coalition for App Fairness to fight Apple's app store policies and "create a level playing field" for businesses.[15]



Basecamp is 37signals' first product, a web-based project management tool launched in 2004. Its primary features are to-do lists, milestone management, forum-like messaging, file sharing, and time tracking.[16]

Basecamp Next was released in 2012, while Basecamp 3 was released in 2014.[17][18] Basecamp 3 supports replies by email, but does not support bottom-posting.


Campfire, a business-oriented online chat service, launched in 2006. It was later merged into Basecamp 3, and was discontinued as a standalone service in 2013.[18][19]

Ruby on RailsEdit

Ruby on Rails is a free web application framework created by David Heinemeier Hansson, now a partner at Basecamp. It was originally used to make 37signals' first product, Basecamp, and was then extracted and released as open source in 2004.[5]


Hey (stylized in all-caps as HEY) is a premium email service started in June 2020 by Basecamp. A few days after its release, Apple gave notice to Basecamp to create an in-app subscription option for Hey, threatening to pull the service's iOS app from the App Store.[20]


Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson published several books under the 37signals name.

  • Defensive Design for the Web: How to improve error messages, help, forms, and other crisis points, New Riders Press, 2004 ISBN 0-7357-1410-X
  • Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application, 37signals, 2006, ISBN 0-578-0128-12
  • Rework (2010, RandomHouse) became a New York Times best seller.[21][22]
  • Remote: Office Not Required (2013, RandomHouse), which is about allowing employees to work from remote offices, was also a New York Times best seller. The book was about 37signals' experience with a largely remote workforce.[23][24]
  • It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, October 2, 2018, ISBN 978-0062874788


  1. ^ "Meet everyone at Basecamp". Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  2. ^ Caplan, Jeremy (May 17, 2007). "Small Is Essential: With a million users and a payroll of eight, software sensation 37signals excels by doing more with less". Time. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  3. ^ Harris, Melissa (February 5, 2014). "37signals changing name to Basecamp, shedding products". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  4. ^ Harris, Melissa (September 4, 2012). "37signals takes stake in The Starter League". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Park, Andrew (February 25, 2008). "The Brash Boys at 37signals Will Tell You: Keep it Simple, Stupid". Wired. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  6. ^ Kepes, Ben (February 5, 2014). "37Signals No More – Changes Name To Basecamp And Drops All Products But Its Namesake". Forbes. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  7. ^ Fried, Jason (March 2014). "Why 37signals Refocused on a Single Product: Basecamp". Inc. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  8. ^ " What's in a Name?". 37signals. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved April 1, 2007.
  9. ^ Dusto, Amy (May 27, 2014). "How Basecamp grew from an internal project to generating millions in revenue". Built in Chicago. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  10. ^ Arrington, Michael (July 20, 2006). "37 Signals Takes Jeff Bezos Investment". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2008.
  11. ^ Hof, Rob (July 19, 2006). "37Signals, 1 Big New Investor: Jeff Bezos". Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  12. ^ "37signals is now Basecamp!". Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  13. ^ "Highrise". Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  14. ^ Roberts, Jeff John (2019-09-04). "Google Trolled by Small Business Over 'Shakedown' Search Ads". Fortune. Archived from the original on 2019-09-04. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  15. ^ "App makers band together to fight for App Store changes with new 'Coalition for App Fairness'". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  16. ^ Empson, Rip (February 8, 2013). "After 8 Years On The Web, Project Management Platform Basecamp Finally Launches An "Official" iOS App". TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  17. ^ Hendershot, Steve (March 31, 2012). "37Signals vaults from base camp to summit". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  18. ^ a b Hempel, Jessi (November 4, 2015). "Basecamp 3 Will Change the Way You Think About Work—Again". Wired. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  19. ^ "A note about Campfire". Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  20. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (2020-06-16). " exec says Apple is acting like 'gangsters,' rejecting App Store updates and demanding cut of sales". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  21. ^ Mims, Christopher (March 5, 2013). "Jason Fried's next project, "Remote," is a book-length refutation of Yahoo's ban on telecommuting". Quartz. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  22. ^ Fried, Jason; Heinemeier Hansson, David (2010). Rework. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307463760.
  23. ^ Fried, Jason; Heinemeier Hansson, David (2013). Remote: Office Not Required. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780804137515.
  24. ^ Silverman, Rachel Emma (August 6, 2013). "Some Tech Firms Ask: Who Needs Managers?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2016.

External linksEdit