One for the road: Alfresco gulps $45m pre-IPO VC shot

Big business sales push before the big business sell push

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Alfresco software is beefing up the sales push with one last shot of venture-capital courage before going public.

The British open-source business will open new offices and hire sales people to open more doors in the enterprise and big government, the company’s chief technology officer and chairman John Newton has said. New offices will be opened across the US and Western Europe.

Money will also go on marketing, mostly in the US, it seems, where it's felt the company’s still regarded as something of a secret and where it would eventually IPO.

Alfresco late last week announced it had landed $45m in capital.

The money will also go on product development, to help customers manage the security and privacy risks associated with staff shoving content into the cloud.

However, it’s vital to Alfresco’s success that it nails the enterprise sales cycle – a notoriously long courtship process with multiple circles of sign off.

According to Newton, Alfresco is now ensconced in very large corporations and getting six- and seven-figure sales deals – which, by their size, take a while to land.

Being based on an open-source and downloadable code base had seen the enterprise content management specialist’s growth primed by downloads.

“We have a very successful model and we are growing, we just feel we can grow faster and we want to do that before we go IPO,” Newton told The Reg.

Alfresco took its last round of cash in a 2008 $9m C series led by SAP. “This is the last round we do before the IPO,” Newton said of the $45m.

He wouldn’t say when Alfresco would list, but based on the chief executive’s earlier remarks we are looking at post 2016.

Alfresco doesn’t reveal numbers, but claims 30 per cent annual growth, with strength in government, high-tech, and healthcare.

Money is also going on development further technology at Alfresco not just to securely manage content manage in cloud services like DropBox, Salesforce, Workday and Google Docs but to also co-ordinate the management between these off-prem document stores and existing on-prem content sources.

“We will invest in smart process applications that combine process control and integration with content and are able to apply it to other applications for capture, storage and management,” Newton said.

He pointed to the Activiti process engine, both an open-source project led by Alfresco and a product sold by the company, as proof the company is investing in processes to connect such disparate systems and manage content across them. ®

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