Money and Mobility Sweeten Sugar's Pot
As one of several announcements coming out of its SugarCon 2008 global customer and developer conference this week, open-source CRM provider SugarCRM revealed that it had received $20 million in a second round of venture capitalization, bringing total funding to $46 million. Venture-cap firm New Enterprise Associates joined existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Walden International to provide SugarCRM with the new funds; the company says it will use the money to fund expansion in the CRM market, research and development, and overseas growth.
"This additional funding will allow SugarCRM to accelerate its goal of moving the CRM market from a proprietary, lock-in model to an open, value-based model by delivering the most modern, open, flexible CRM platform in the industry," said John Roberts, SugarCRM's CEO and co-founder, in a prepared statement.
"This allows us to continue our growth rate and to expand to meet our customer demand globally," adds Chris Harrick, SugarCRM's senior director of product marketing. "We have 300 customers in Europe and only two people working there -- a general manager and a salesperson. This allows us to expand there. We're making engineering investments in China, as well."
"This shows that SugarCRM is a sizeable force in the CRM world," says John Carini, chief software architect of Murray Hill, N.J.-based iEnterprises, a developer of mobile applications for the SugarCRM platform and one of the major sponsors of this year's SugarCon, which took place in San Jose, Calif. "It will continue to be a viable application; their business model is viable. [The application] allows you to do a lot with a little."
Since its founding in 2004, SugarCRM has seen global adoption of its commercial open-source CRM products, with over four million downloads, 470 product extensions, 75 language translations, more than 60,000 community members, over 12,000 registered developers, and a customer base of nearly 3,000 commercial accounts, according to the company.
"It's a new category of application," Carini adds. "It doesn't go by the same rules as a standard offering. A lot of people thought that there were [only] two standard types of CRM applications -- standard and hosted. Now, open source is a significant part of it. Open source is a grassroots way of getting the application to the masses. [SugarCRM] has already reached critical mass. This is like a vote of confidence."
Earlier this week, iEnterprises unveiled Mobile Edge Express for SugarCRM, a mobile application for small and midsize businesses to interface with CRM data on users' BlackBerry smartphones in an on-demand model. Mobile Edge Express also works with devices running the Windows Mobile operating system.
Remote access to a CRM application, Carini says, is particularly important to salespeople and field service personnel who spend most of their time meeting with customers on the road rather than in the office. With the application, he adds, users can look up pertinent customer information (e.g., recent purchases, product details for repairs) when that information is most critical.
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