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Jaspersoft secures $12.5m in VC dough

Red Hat kick in

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Open source business intelligence software maker Jaspersoft said today that it has closed its fifth round of venture capital funding, raking in $12.5m in money from its existing investors and a new one: commercial Linux distributor Red Hat.

Adams Street Partners lead off the Round E of funding, and that private equity firm now has a seat on the Jaspersoft board. Partner David Welsh will take it. All prior investors in Jaspersoft, including Scale Venture Partners (which lead the fourth round of funding) and SAP Ventures (the venture capital arm of application software behemoth SAP), participated in the fifth round. That fourth round of funding came in during August 2007, for $12m, and gave Rory O'Driscoll, a managing director at ScaleVP, a seat on the board.

Five rounds of venture funding is not unheard of, but it is rare. For most tech firms, you get three rounds and then you go public, you get eaten, or you die. But Jaspersoft has extenuating circumstances.

Jaspersoft, which is based in San Francisco, actually got its start back in 2001 as a provider of closed-source report generation software for data warehouses called Panscopic Software. That company had two rounds of venture capital funding worth $14.5m, but in early 2004, the company caught the open source bug and relaunched itself in April 2005 as a provider of open source BI tools. As Jaspersoft, the company closed an $8m round of funding led by Partech International, which had also kicked in dough to Business Objects and Informatica' Partech got a seat on the board then too.

Jaspersoft is certainly counting on the open source community to do its marketing for it and says that it has over 7 million downloads of its various BI tools and that its user community forum, JasperForge, has over 89,000 registered developers participating in over 320 projects relating to the improvement of the Jaspersoft tools. The company says further that it has over 9,000 commercial customers in 96 countries, but being privately held, Jaspersoft does not report its sales or profits - if it has any of the latter.

Jaspersoft will use the $12.5m to pay for software development, expand its sales operation globally, and extend its partner network. One of the key partnerships that Jaspersoft has is with none other than Red Hat, which distributes Jaspersoft tools through its Red Hat Exchange. It would not be at all surprising to see Red Hat eventually decide to acquire Jaspersoft to build out its own application portfolio. But then again, Red Hat already has a lot on its plate with its JBoss acquisition. ®

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