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Acquia

Michael Skok

Some of you picked up that Michael Skok is leaving North Bridge, Acquia's lead investor. A number of people asked me if Michael is leaving Acquia's Board of Directors as part of that. I'm pleased to say that Michael is staying on as a Director on Acquia's Board.

I first met Michael in the summer of 2007. From the moment I met Michael I knew that he was someone that I could trust and learn from. From the day we started Acquia, we had big dreams -- many of which we have realized today. In large part because Michael went all-in and helped us every step of the way. From his operational experience, to his relevant domain expertise, to his passion for Open Source and focus on building great teams and products, Michael has been an incredible asset to our Board. Fast forward 8 years and I'm as excited as ever to work with Michael to realize even bigger dreams with Acquia.

Acquia a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management

You might have read that Acquia was named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management.

It's easy to underestimate the importance of this recognition for Acquia, and by extension for Drupal. If you want to find a good coffee place, you use Yelp. If you want to find a nice hotel in New York, you use TripAdvisor. Similarly, if a CIO wants to spend $250,000 or more on enterprise software, they consult an analyst firm like Gartner. So think of Gartner as "Yelp for the enterprise".

Many companies create their technology shortlist based on the leader quadrant. That means that Drupal has not been considered as an option for hundreds of evaluations for large projects that have taken place in the past couple of years. Being named a leader alongside companies like Adobe, HP, IBM, Oracle, and Sitecore will encourage more organizations to evaluate Drupal. More organizations evaluating Drupal should benefit the Drupal ecosystem and the development of Drupal.

Acquia honored by Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce

My company Acquia was honored this week by BelCham, the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce, as the "Company of the Year". I'm proud of this honor, which speaks to the great work that our team of more than 500 Acquians from around the globe do for our customers everyday.

BelCham is an organization dedicated to helping Belgian entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of Belgian-American trade. Companies like Acquia, InBev, Brussels Airlines, and restaurant chain Le Pain Quotidien support BelCham's work.

If you want to build a big company, then at some point you have scale globally. Scaling a business globally is challenging. I try to give back some of my experience by advising Belgian entrepreneurs that want to move or expand to the US. I often recommend they get in touch with BelCham because they can help entrepreneurs find the resources they need to extend their network and grow globally.

Amazon invests in Acquia

I'm happy to share news that Amazon has joined the Acquia family as our newest investor. This investment builds on the recent $50 million financing round that Acquia completed in May, which was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Acquia is the largest provider of Drupal infrastructure in the world. We run on more than 8,000 AWS instances and serve more than 27 billion hits a month or 333 TB of bandwidth a month. Working with AWS has been an invaluable part of our success story, and today's investment will further solidify our collaboration.

We did not disclose the amount of the investment in today's news announcement.

The business behind Open Source

A few days ago, I sat down with Quentin Hardy of The New York Times to talk Open Source. We spoke mostly about the Drupal ecosystem and how Acquia makes money. As someone who spent almost his entire career in Open Source, I'm a firm believer in the fact that you can build a high-growth, high-margin business and help the community flourish. It's not an either-or proposition, and Acquia and Drupal are proof of that.

Rather than an utopian alternate reality as Quentin outlines, I believe Open Source is both a better way to build software, and a good foundation for an ecosystem of for-profit companies. Open Source software itself is very successful, and is capable of running some of the most complex enterprise systems. But failure to commercialize Open Source doesn't necessarily make it bad.

I mentioned to Quentin that I thought Open Source was Darwinian; a proprietary software company can't afford to experiment with creating 10 different implementations of an online photo album, only to pick the best one. In Open Source we can, and do. We often have competing implementations and eventually the best implementation(s) will win. One could say that Open Source is a more "wasteful" way of software development. In a pure capitalist read of On the Origin of Species, there is only one winner, but business and Darwin's theory itself is far more complex. Beyond "only the strongest survive", Darwin tells a story of interconnectedness, or the way an ecosystem can dictate how an entire species chooses to adapt.

While it's true that the Open Source "business model" has produced few large businesses (Red Hat being one notable example), we're also evolving the different Open Source business models. In the case of Acquia, we're selling a number of "as-a-service" products for Drupal, which is vastly different than just selling support like the first generation of Open Source companies did.

As a private company, Acquia doesn't disclose financial information, but I can say that we've been very busy operating a high-growth business. Acquia is North America's fastest growing private company on the Deloitte Fast 500 list. Our Q1 2014 bookings increased 55 percent year-over-year, and the majority of that is recurring subscription revenue. We've experienced 21 consecutive quarters of revenue growth, with no signs of slowing down. Acquia's business model has been both disruptive and transformative in our industry. Other Open Source companies like Hortonworks, Cloudera and MongoDB seem to be building thriving businesses too.

Society is undergoing tremendous change right now -- the sharing and collaboration practices of the internet are extending to transportation (Uber), hotels (Airbnb), financing (Kickstarter, LendingClub) and music services (Spotify). The rise of the collaborative economy, of which the Open Source community is a part of, should be a powerful message for the business community. It is the established, proprietary vendors whose business models are at risk, and not the other way around.

Hundreds of other companies, including several venture backed startups, have been born out of the Drupal community. Like Acquia, they have grown their businesses while supporting the ecosystem from which they came. That is more than a feel-good story, it's just good business.

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