Open-source player Alfresco receives $8M in VC backing

Alfresco has closed US$8 million in Series B venture capital funding, the open-source enterprise content management software startup announced Wednesday.

Alfresco Software has closed US$8 million in Series B venture capital (VC) funding, the open-source ECM (enterprise content management) software startup announced Wednesday.

The company intends to spend the money on adding more features to its software and more fully automating customer support, according to John Powell, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Alfresco.

The current release of Alfresco's ECM software focuses on the management of core business documents created using Microsoft's Office application suite and its open-source competitor OpenOffice, Powell said in a phone interview Wednesday. Next on Alfresco's agenda is adding the ability for users to do Web content management, he added. Alfresco has already hired an engineering team to work on the additional functionality that should appear in the company's software in the middle of this year, according to Powell.

On the support side, Alfresco will use the VC funding to improve the automation of the delivery of information to its customers, Powell said. He estimates that there have been 120,000 downloads of the company's ECM software since it first launched the product at the end of October. The numbers have "greatly exceeded our expectations," Powell said, since Alfresco's initial target for software downloads was 10,000 by December.

It's hard to say how many of those downloads have and will translate into companies using the product, Powell said, since the organizations are using the open-source version of the software without any support. So far, 16 firms have signed up for enterprise support contracts with Alfresco, he added.

There's been a flurry of e-mail and downloads originating from Indonesia, with the largest newspaper in that country basing its ECM on Alfresco's software, according to Powell. He said that other users include people within the New Zealand government and France Telecom.

Alfresco has its headquarters in London and has a current headcount of 18, which Powell expects to reach around 35 by the end of this year.

The new funding was co-led by the Mayfield Fund and Accel Partners. Robin Vasan, Mayfield managing director, will join the Alfresco board of directors. Alfresco had previously raised US$2 million in its Series A funding with Accel.

Alfresco is just one of a wide variety of open-source startups that are being funded by VC money. The company to net the largest single investment to date is customer relationship management vendor SugarCRM, which received nearly US$18.8 million in Series C funding in October.

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