SugarCRM has secured $40 million in equity investment from Goldman Sachs, a sure sign that it intends to go public in the next few years.
The company operates in a crowded space and competes with customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce.com, among others. However, it has carved out a lucrative niche of customers in sectors like insurance, manufacturing and health care. Landmark customers include Sennheiser, one of the largest makers of headphones and other audio devices.
Cupertino, California-based SugarCRM differentiates itself through its pricing and product flexibility.
Customers can opt to purchase the software via a subscription or run it on-premise. The company also uses a freemium approach and gives away an open-source version of its software, but charges for additional features. Its tagline? “The cloud is open.”
“We make the customer service agent more expert,” chief executive Larry Augustin told me. “It’s fundamentally different from the management and reporting tools that Salesforce would offer.”
Goldman Sachs is not one of SugarCRM’s roughly 600 customers. However, the private equity arm zeroed in on SugarCRM as it has demonstrated consistent growth over the years. The company claims it has increased annual recurring revenue by more than 30 percent year-over-year.
In a phone interview, Augustin admitted that he is plotting an IPO, but he wouldn’t disclose an exact timeline. “We are at the stage where we could be a public company [and] it is one of our goals,” he said.
The company intends to use the financing to build out its product and development team, as Augustin believes the CRM space is “ripe for disruption.”
SugarCRM has already raised $46 million in previous venture rounds. Existing investors include New Enterprise Associates and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.