Investors today gave Boston-based digital experience software provider Acquia $55 million in a funding round that will help the open-source, Drupal-based Web Content Management System (Web CMS) company “build out in all areas,” according to a company executive.
“Broad, general, corporate purposes,” Bill Sorenson, chief financial officer for Acquia, told CMSWire when asked how Acquia will spend the money.
“It’s funding all of our initiatives. It will be broadly based. We’ll continue to build our penetration as a CMS provider based upon Drupal. We see the interest in Drupal continuing to grow.”
The statistics don't seem to support that claim, at least according to BuiltWith.
But there does seem to be growing analyst support for the Drupal open-source model. Acquia landed in the “leaders” category back to back in 2014 and 2015 in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web CMS. It’s a “strong performer” in Forrester’s similar industry report — the Wave for CMS.
Acquia is bracing for the full release of the Drupal 8 platform that powers its software offerings. Acquia was co-founded by Drupal’s creator, Dries Buytaert, now Acquia’s chief technology officer. Drupal 8 is due out this fall.
But it's more than just a Drupal company, an executive from one of the investors of today’s round told CMSWire. Acquia will “redefine how enterprises think about content and commerce,” said Chetan Puttagunta, a partner for New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm.
The question of a possible initial public offering has ignited plenty of chatter about Acquia, which has grown its headcount by about 30 percent per year and now stands at 710 employees.
Sorenson said Acquia’s “working to get ourselves ready for” an IPO but has no definitive timetable.
“There are a number of things you have to do to basically be ready to be public in many areas,” Sorenson said. “My team is getting ready to be in fighting shape to get out to public markets.”
Acquia CEO Tom Erickson said in a statement the funding helps his eight-year-old company deliver for its customers digital experiences that are “flexible, agile and open.”
Ned Hooper, managing partner at Centerview Capital Technology, said there is a “massive opportunity in digital transformation for the enterprise.” Acquia, he said, “with its technology leadership and strong management team, is uniquely positioned to lead this transformation.”
NEA’s Puttagunta said the investment firm has put money into the category defining Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies and technologies throughout its history such as WebEx, Salesforce and Workday.
“We believe that Acquia will redefine how enterprises think about content and commerce and is consistent with our thesis that we are in period of rapid innovation in software,” Puttagunta said. “We were particularly impressed with the entire team at Acquia. Led by CEO Tom and founder and CTO Dries, the Acquia team is filled with enthusiastic and hard working folks that strive to continuously deliver the best experience for their customers.”
Sorenson told CMSWire most of Acquia’s business is US-based, with about 20 percent coming elsewhere. It’s made a particular dent in the Australian Web CMS market lately. Last year at this time, the Australian Government selected Acquia for govCMS, its government Web CMS.
“Drupal is their preferred provider,” Sorenson said.
Acquia’s also made notable gains in France, England and Germany.
“The market around around digital experience and digital transformation just continues to boom,” Sorenson said. “I think a lot of people, myself included, believed that a digital experience was just websites. But it’s now really deeper than that. Everything we do now we can do digitally. And the ability to enrich that experience can just make a huge difference.”