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Last week in a restroom in New York city, I washed my hands inadvertently with mouthwash. It sounds silly, but it looked like the soap to me. The bathroom was so posh and the container it came in was deceptive: who expects to find mouthwash in a restroom? But, this wasn't a normal restroom.
The Yale Club of NYC with its twenty-two stories is without doubt the most impressive private club house I've ever seen. Access is restricted almost entirely to alumni and faculty of Yale University. Needless to say, it is not the usual location for a Drupal event. However, this was not a normal Drupal event.
This was the location for the first Drupal Business Summit run by Acquia. The Summit brought together business leaders from many leading companies, including a number of CIOs and Vice Presidents from public companies.
Despite my faux pas while washing my hands, the event was a nice reminder for me that Drupal has made its way to many large global organizations and is on the radar for business executives in a way it has never been before.
Last year, I wrote about how CIOs are starting to take notice of Drupal. Today, CIOs of hundreds of companies are actively evaluating or adopting Drupal. A lot has changed since I wrote that blog post, and the next eighteen months promise to be a roller-coaster ride. It's happening.
Acquia has organized three more Drupal Business Summits: one in Washington D.C. on November 18, another in Chicago on November 30; and a third in San Fransisco on December 2. As indicated by the event in New York City, it's an excellent way to spread the message about Drupal to communications and IT executives. Nothing is as effective as for people to hear about Drupal from their peers. It's not an event for developers -- unless you get a kick out of washing your hands with mouthwash.
Each year, the 'Mo' (slang for moustache) and November come together for Mo-vember.
At the beginning of the month, I joined the growing club of modern gentlemen who believe in the virtues of fine moustachery, immaculate grooming and growing a moustache for Movember. Along with me, about 20 other Acquians.
Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men's health, specifically for prostate and testicular cancer. One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime, and one out of six with prostate cancer.
For the entire duration of Movember, no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone -- being any facial area below the bottom lip. There is to be no joining of the moustache to sideburns either.
By growing a moustache, we become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. We raise awareness by prompting private and public conversations about cancer. In addition, we raise funds by seeking out sponsorship.
If you want to support me, please consider donating some money to my Mo growing efforts. As a young adult I witnessed my mother fight with cancer so this is dear to my heart. The money will be used to improve the survival rates and quality of life of people with cancer and to educate people about cancer. In return for your donation, I'll commit to growing a moustache for 30 days and to spread awareness. If I reach 500 USD in donations, I'll also share some pictures online. Thanks for your support!
Picture taken on November 1st at the start of Movember.
On day one, the complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and the handlebar zones, must be completely shaved. Everything had to go, and so I looked like 15 again ...
Exciting news today! We are announcing that Acquia closed $8.5 million in Series C funding. Combined with our Series A funding and our Series B funding, this brings our total funding to $23.5 million USD.
In the last year, our business grew by more than 300% and we went from 30 to 70 full-time employees. Drupal Gardens grew from 0 to 25,000 sites, we added 100 enterprise customers to Acquia Hosting, and our support business has in excess of 550 customers. Drupal itself now powers more than 1% of the web.
I sometimes joke that Acquia is 3 startups in one; our support business (Acquia Network) is similar to RedHat’s business model, our managed cloud hosting business (Acquia Hosting) is similar to EngineYard or Heroku, and Drupal Gardens is like Wordpess.com, Squarespace or Clickability except that it is all based on Drupal. The good news is that each of these 3 product lines are doing really well. As a result, we had a lot of interest in the round and saw another large increase in valuation.
We weren’t sure if we could go any faster but we just found the turbo button. We are going to use much of the capital we raised in our Series C round to:
- Help grow Drupal and expand the market for Drupal in the enterprise world. We'll continue to contribute code and user experience design, sponsor and organize events, promote Drupal in the enterprise, and provide leadership in various areas of the Drupal project. We're dedicated to raising the tide for everyone in the Drupal community.
- We’re going to grow our engineering team and increase our investment in our products; Acquia Network, Acquia Hosting, Drupal Gardens and Drupal Commons. In future blog posts, I'll start to share more details around my vision for Acquia and how everything we do fits into a bigger picture.
- Accelerating the growth of our world-wide operations by hiring sales, marketing and technical staff in different parts of the world. A startup is a search for a scalable, repeatable business model. We found a couple, and now is the time to put the pedal to the metal. In early 2011, Acquia will expand to Europe.
- Continue to build a global partner ecosystem to help organizations create killer web experiences.
Acquia’s growth is a testament to the growth of Drupal worldwide. Acquia wouldn’t have made it this far without our customers, our partners and our friends. Thank you!
I plan to write more about the process of raising money, what it means to work for a venture backed start-up and lessons learned in starting a business in the Open Source world. If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.
3/5 of the Acquia team celebrating our Series C funding.
The U.S. government recently launched a new Drupal website, RestoreTheGulf.gov, to provide information about the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico from the oil spill earlier this year and announced plans to phase out the current disaster response.
I'm excited that the site is running Drupal and that it is hosted at Acquia -- not just because it's pushing adoption of Drupal in the cloud, but primarily because it is very important to restore the Gulf of Mexico. All small contributions help.
For those that don't know memcache, it is a high-performance memory object caching system. Oftentimes it's used to speed up database-driven websites by caching data and objects in RAM. This is very effective in managing the load on your database, which for most web applications including Drupal, is the biggest performance bottleneck and risk to scalability.
Memcache is a natural addition to Acquia Hosting. The Memcache module for Drupal was originally written by Acquia's Robert Douglass, and continues to be maintained with Acquia's help. So it only makes sense for us to add support memcahe as a hosting option. Combined with all of the other high-performance and scalability features (e.g. Varnish, NginX, etc), it makes Acquia Hosting a very powerful offering.
We run memcache on the existing web servers to take advantage of spare free memory. As such, it is available for every Acquia Hosting customer at no additional cost. Memcache uses a client–server architecture so, if preferred, we can also spin up dedicated memcache servers for our customers. Drupal then talks to the memcache server over a network socket.
A number of Acquia Hosting customers are currently using it in production. Now I still need to take advantage of the new memcache support for my own site. Sounds like another weekend project. :-)
The U.S. Department of Education just launched a new micro-site built on Drupal: teach.gov. At teach.gov you can learn what it's like to be a teacher and get the tools you need to launch your own career in education.
The site looks surprisingly crisp and modern for a government site, don't you think?
These kinds of micro-sites make a lot of sense. Visitors that are looking for particular information want instant gratification. It is much better to create a micro-site for this than to embed the same content two levels deep in ed.gov (also a Drupal site). No need to get bogged down with ed.gov's navigation, visual design or mix of target audiences.
While building highly targeted and compelling micro-sites makes a lot of sense, they can be expensive and time-consuming to build and maintain. That is exactly why I think Drupal Gardens will catch on -- it makes building micro-sites fast, cheap and hassle free. We're still boostrapping Drupal Gardens but I really think we're onto something. Why? Because it makes a lot sense. :)