By Scott Raynovich
The open-source model for software is shaking up the Web Content Management System (CMS) business. One company that has greatly benefited from this is Acquia, one of the Boston area's most successful startups. Co-founded by Drupal's creator in 2007, Acquia has doubled its revenues in each of the last two years and sparked chatter of a US initial public offering (IPO) in 2014.
The Burlington, Mass.-based startup's savvy move to pick Drupal, the open-source CMS development platform, takes a page out of the Red Hat Software book. That model leverages the speed and flexibility of an open-source community while providing the service and support infrastructure to reassure enterprise customers who want to make sure the software is mission-critical.
While in Boston last week, several sources in the startup and venture capital (VC) community identified Acquia as one of the leading IPO candidate for 2014. On the record, nobody affiliated with Acquia will confirm an IPO is in the works. Despite the chatter, VCs never want to talk about an IPO, but that's usually on an agenda — cash and liquidity for investors and insiders is always welcome when you can get it
Michael Skok, an Acquia investor and board member and a partner with North Bridge Venture Partners, wouldn't confirm any imminent IPO plans. But he did confirm the company's solid business model is linked hand-in-hand with Drupal's growth.
"We, as investors, Tom Erickson (the CEO of Acquia), and the team at Acquia are all committed to building an enduring business for the long-term," Skok wrote in an email in response to questions. "They continue to build a strong foundation for future growth fueled by massive digital disruption as organizations of all sizes scramble to keep up with the speed of the web."