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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. :)
Despite a great effort from many people, getting Drupal 7 released has proven to be a slow and arduous process. What remains is not trivial. The release of Drupal 7 is important to all of us, our businesses, and growing both adoption and our community, so something more must be done.
Effective today, Acquia is committing one full-time engineer to help to fix critical bugs in Drupal 7. This is in addition to the regular work that our staff does on Drupal 7 as part of the development of Drupal Gardens, and the core work that some of our engineers do as part of their community gardening days (similar to Google's "20-percent time").
The team itself will decide who that engineer will be but it is likely to be one of the following people: Alex Bronstein (effulgentsia), Gábor Hojtsy, Jacob Singh, Peter Wolanin (pwolanin), Katherine Senzee (ksenzee) or David Rothstein. They'll decide that later today as part of the sprint planning. I'll announce it in the comments this afternoon!
As a community, we need to get better at focusing on the critical bugs. There are only about 20 critical bugs left so with the right focus, we're in striking distance of getting Drupal 7 out. Hence, the Acquia engineer will be working on critical issues only. It's all about focus.
And we want you to join us! We could use more companies to step up and contribute a dedicated resource. The deployment and adoption of Drupal 7 will deliver big benefits to all of our businesses.
We're all very much committed to our clients and have daily tasks to perform as part of our livelihood. So we don't always have the time to work on the remaining bugs in Drupal 7. However, if we don't address them, if we don't plan time to work on them, it just won't happen. If you'd be interested in pitching in with this enormous effort by contributing a dedicated resource, but don't know where to go, or where help is needed most, I can help direct you to the right places. Just let me know you're interested in helping.
We hit another milestone today: twenty-thousand sites have been created with Drupal Gardens. It was only two months ago that we hit the 10,000 sites milestone. Who would have thought that we would have doubled that number so quickly? This is really a gratifying moment for us. It means that we’re on the right track, building a product that people value highly.
There has also been an increased interest by enterprise customers in Drupal Gardens. It seems to be filling a need for large organizations, as well as creative agencies that want to build and consistently manage many micro-sites, or that want to build them quickly. If you fit that description, I encourage you to take Drupal Gardens for a spin and to share your feedback with us. We continue to roll out enhancements to Drupal Gardens every three weeks, so your feedback is very important as it influences directly our plans.
I’m proud to have reached this milestone, and would like to thank to all of the Drupal Gardens site owners who have made this possible. While 20,000 sites might sound like a lot, we’re just getting started!