###As the economy slumps, many entrepreneurs are looking past consumer Web sites to focus on products and services for companies
As far as entrepreneur Dries Buytaert is concerned, a startup with smart ideas and driven people has a good chance of surviving, whatever the economic climate. "Make sure you have a solid business plan and you've done your homework and are passionate about what you are doing, and people will recognize your potential," says Buytaert, who in 2001 came up with a new way for people to collaborate online and publish Web content. His idea turned into Drupal, a project that draws together software developers from around the world who collectively tinker with and add features to the content management system made available for free.
Seven years on, as he tries to turn his idea into a successful business, Buytaert isn't taking any chances. He and fellow entrepreneur Jay Batson co-founded Acquia and have raised $7 million to help them in their quest to widen the use of Drupal.
Joining Acquia not only marks the earliest stage that I’ve joined a company, but also the first time I’ve joined a commercial Open Source company. This was one of the main reasons I chose to join the company. Managing a services business at an Open Source software company creates some interesting challenges compared to my past experience in traditional software and consulting businesses.
For 2008, we continue the tradition of Launch Pad at Web 2.0 Expo, but with some important changes, based on a program we test-drove at Web 2.0 Summit in October 2007. While it’s great to be chosen to launch your new company at a major event, the reality of the market is that the majority of successful Web 2.0 companies do more than just launch products. They also have to pass the test of VC scrutiny—that's how the market determines who wins and loses in the world of startups. To that end, VCs and the audience will provide real-time feedback to participating companies.
Open source software continues its torrid pace. In fact, according to a report from the 451 Group, the sector saw its biggest quarter for venture funding -- hitting $203.75 million, which is up from $100.4 million in the same period a year ago.
Why the interest? Well, I had a chance to interview Matthew Aslett, who is an analyst of enterprise software at the 451 Group.
*Your take on the focus on open source?*
VCs are interested in open source vendors because the open source development and distribution models reduce start-up costs and lower the barriers to entry.
Early in March I posted about hearing the founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, speak in Boston as part of an adjunct to the AiiM Show called DrupalCon. Part of that Drupal event was the first public explanation of the strategy behind Dries’ new venture called Acquia. Acquia is a commercial company to service and support Drupal as the popular open source social publishing platform tries to move to the next level in the market.
Six hot open source startups and projects got notice at the Open Source Business Conference this week.
Not surprisingly, many of them are in software categories deemed most vulnerable to open source disruption, including collaboration and conferencing, social publishing, sales automation, application deployment and developer tools.
In the last year, a growing number of companies based on free and open source software (FOSS) have come out of stealth mode. One of the latest is Acquia, which provides services for organizations that use Drupal, the popular content management platform.
You and I have a dirty little secret. Many of the Web applications that we call content management systems (Web CMS) are not really content management systems. Huh? A lot of this confusion stems from the difficulty most of us have in answering what should be a simple question, what is a content management system? Scott Abel, The Content Wranger, has noted in previous comments that one of the problems in discussions about content management is that we really lack a common definition of CMS.
There is now a VC-backed commercial company, underwritten initially to the tune of $7 million, to run interference for the LAMP-based Drupal open source project, which Ulitzer has chosen as its CMS platform among others, and take on the literally hundreds of other content management systems – open source and proprietary – that currently litter the landscape to make sure that Drupal is crowned homecoming queen, perhaps the next billion-dollar MySQL.
While Drupal has garnered surprising little press it’s got to be one of the more successful open source projects out there, but then its nearest open source rival Joomla looks to be as popular. Evidently CMS is the place to be these days.
An increasingly popular open-source Web content management program, called Drupal, will soon be available in a commercial enterprise edition. A start-up company, Acquia, announced that it would deliver a supported version of the program by the end of the year.
The company made its announcement last week at Drupalcon, a user conference held in Boston.