Open source IPOs – take two

Earlier this month I took a look at Fortune’s tips for initial public offerings in 2008 and passed comment on the open source-related contenders. Given the events of the past ten days or so it is worth taking another look at the open source vendors that might make IPO candidates between now and the turn of the decade.

Once again I should note that I have no knowledge of the IPO plans of these companies beyond that which is presented below, and the assessment of their potential is my own.


Ingres has confirmed that it intends to file for IPO in 2008. It had expected to follow MySQL, but will now be the first open source database vendor to IPO after MySQL acquisition by Sun. Ingres says revenue grew 100% from more than $25m in 2006 to more than $50m in 2007. The majority of Ingres’s shares are owned by Garnett & Helfrich Capital, which financed the spin-off from systems management vendor CA in 2005. CA remains a customer although Ingres maintains that no customer accounts for more than 10% of its revenue, and that CA is well below that figure.


Like Ingres, the open source CRM vendor was on Fortune’s list of likely IPOs in 2008. CEO John Roberts told in August that it intended to file within two years. I previously commented that, with $14.5m of a $20m Series D funding round in the bank, any offering would likely be later rather than sooner. A recent article at MSPmentor reiterates that an offering is likely at some point in the next two years. Revenue for 2007 was expected to double to $15m, according to Reuters. Total funding to date: $41m.


The UK-based enterprise content management vendor just raised $9m in Series C funding, even though it didn’t need the cash, according to Matt Asay. Meanwhile, according to VentureBeat, CEO John Powell said the company is about to hit an annual run rate of $10 million in revenue and the company will “be able to go public in 2009.” Total funding to date is $19m.


“Today we’re on a straight line to an IPO. Ask me in a couple of quarters,” said Fonality CEO Chris Lyman when asked about the company’s exit strategy in June 2007. A couple of quarters have now passed, so what about it Chris? The open source VoIP and communications provider has raised just over $12m from Azure Capital, Intel Capital and individual investors.


Greenplum yesterday said it has raised $27m in Series C financing following “$15 million Series B financing” in February 2007. 451 CAOS Theory figures suggest it has raised over $72m in five different funding rounds however, both as Greenplum and its former incarnation, Metapa. Sooner or later one of its many backers is going to start looking for some pay back. Dawntreader Ventures (and its predecessor SoundView) had been with Greenplum/Metapa right up to the latest funding round. The company said it grew its customer base by over 300% and saw a 10x increase in revenue in 2007, so the performance is also strong. Given its partnership with Sun, Greenplum would make an interesting addition to Sun’s portfolio and it is no surprise to see Sun investing in the company.

Of course the potential of any open source IPOs at all in the next couple of years will be dependent on market conditions, as well as the increased M&A activity.


#1 451 CAOS Theory » SpringSource-Covalent and the long view on open source on 06.09.08 at 9:49 am

[…] of recent pricetags on open source acquisitions (MySQL for $1bn, Trolltech for $153m) and potential open source IPOs. Perhaps Brewer, Johnson and other open source vendor executives who have echoed this sentiment […]

#2 451 CAOS Theory » Open source: assimilate and thrive on 08.07.08 at 1:17 pm

[…] latter seems far more likely, especially in the current economic climate. We have written before about the open source vendors most likely to go public in the next couple of […]