SugarCRM goes after Salesforce.com with new interface, emphasis on lower cost

The venture capital-backed CRM vendor turned a profit in its third quarter, according to CEO Larry Augustin

By , IDG News Service |  Software

While Salesforce.com is the cloud computing industry's juggernaut, privately held SugarCRM is starting to see additional momentum lately. It now has 7,000 customers, and was profitable in its third quarter, said CEO Larry Augustin.

SugarCRM recently accepted about $40 million in venture funding from Goldman Sachs. That money "leaves us in a very, very strong place from a balance sheet perspective," Augustin said.

While SugarCRM has long been expected to file for an IPO, Augustin declined to comment on the timing of such a move, although he confirmed that the ultimate goal is to go public.

SugarCRM also seems to be downplaying the fact it is built on open-source software.

"We don't lead with open source in a sale," Augustin said.

In general, SugarCRM focuses its own engineering efforts "on end-user functionality at the application level," Augustin said. "The place where we get contributions is testing, porting, integrations, all of those things." Its first Twitter integration, for example, came from a community contribution.

If and when a community feature becomes a must-have for the commercial version of SugarCRM, the company starts supporting it commercially, Augustin said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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