SugarCRM’s Acceleration show hit London last week. CEO Larry Augustin kicked things off presenting to 200+ followers, fans, and sales prospects. I chatted with him afterwards.
Larry has an interesting profile. He has always worked in the open source community (SugarCRM is an open source CRM application). He founded and IPO’d VA Linux as CEO, and then became a venture capitalist and angel investor before joining SugarCRM. No sign of an IPO for SugarCRM on the horizon just yet though. As a seasoned finance professional I suspect he is watching the markets assiduously to get his timing right.
Larry is making waves again at SugarCRM. Revenues were up 68% in 2011, and 73% in the first half of 2012. SugarCRM is the fastest growing CRM vendor out there (including salesforce.com). His VC investors clearly like it. They provided another $33m in funding during Q2 2012. You might be forgiven for saying “But CRM is an old mature technology – where is all this growth coming from?”
Larry argues that CRM market penetration is tiny relative to the market potential – everyone who touches customers (and that’s nearly all of us) should have a CRM system. The trick is to make the software affordable, easy to use, and easy to deploy, he says. And that is exactly what SugarCRM is doing.
Affordable: the SugarCRM open source version is downloadable for free, and the Professional (paid for) version starts at $30 per person, per month.
Easy to use: a modern user interface and clear, uncluttered screens.
Easy to deploy: SugarCRM offers 5 deployment options – a SaaS version, a private Cloud version (powered by IBM), a public Cloud offering, a Partner Cloud offering, and an on-premise version.