eXo Gets US$ 6 Million in Financing to Boost U.S. Operations

eXo (news, site), the makers of Java middleware and open source Enterprise CMS, got a VC infusion of US$ 6 million. eXo plans to use the money to strengthen its U.S. operations, especially in the areas of sales and marketing. The new Board of Directors should provide the needed executive leadership in the expansion.

The Investors

With eXo having French roots, they went to fellow French venture capitalists to get financing from (even though some American companies were offering money as well).

Auriga Partners is an independent VC firm based in Paris managing more than 180 million euros. The firm mainly funds IT and life sciences companies in Europe, North America and Israel.

XAnge Capital was founded by the French public postal operator Group La Poste and invests primarily in businesses related to La Poste’s core activities, such as electronic exchanges, eCommerce, CRM and direct marketing.

With New Money, Comes the New Board of Directors

“We now have the capital and collective business guidance of our new board to execute on this opportunity and take eXo to the next stage of growth,” said Benjamin Mestrallet, founder and CEO of eXo. Yes, eXo also got a new Board of Directors chaired by Bob Bickel, who used to be a board advisor. Bickel brings 25 years of software experience from Bluestone Software (acquired by HP) and JBoss (acquired by Red Hat).

Philippe Granger, partner at Auriga Partners, and Nicolas Rose, partner at XAnge Capital, will also be joining the new board on behalf of eXo’s new investors.

What to Expect in the eXo Future

More expansion is coming to the first U.S. office that opened last year. Currently, eXo employs about 120 people, with 100 of them being in engineering roles.

The R&D-focused company is now realizing that sales and marketing needs to step up to the plate. While R&D will remain primarily in France, global marketing, communication and sales will be based in the U.S. -- according to Mestrallet. In addition to that, we should see general growth of eXo’s U.S. operations with addition of sales engineers among other positions.

We’ll be hearing more about eXo’s product family as well. eXo is a platform that fits well with Java shops, said Mestrallet. Additionally, it brings some value add services on top of J2EE, where he thinks Java is lacking compared to, say, the activity around Drupal in PHP.

eXo hopes to improve on the above and really promote the main differentiators of its product in the U.S. market, including:

  1. Integrated platform
  2. Support of open standards and open protocols
  3. User-friendly UIs, browser-based IDE, REST services

“The eXo Platform is focused on making Java relevant again by building on the solid existing Java middleware infrastructure with a next generation framework and set of Core and Extended Services and applications that provide the benefit of rapid development and deployment,” writes Bickel in his business and technology blog.

Another area where we will hear more from eXo is partnerships with OEMs, ISVs, SIs and SaaS providers in the arena of collaboration, content management and social computing.