Salesforce competitor SugarCRM has raised a sweet $33 million in funding. The eight-year-old company provides customer relationship management (CRM) software-as-a-service for companies to manage their sales leads.

There are several heavy hitters in the CRM world, including Microsoft Dynamic, Zoho, Salesforce, and SugarCRM. All provide a place for sales and marketing people to keep customer contacts, track leads, and manage sales. SugarCRM believes its unique open-source approach, which encourages others to modify the software to suit different needs, sets it apart from its rivals.

“The open source software offers control and flexibility and is about changing the connection with our customers, which is big reason why we win deals,” said Larry Augustin, chief executive of SugarCRM in an interview with VentureBeat. “We let our customers work the way they want to work, instead of telling them how they should work.”

Instead of maintaining its own servers and data centers, Sugar CRM hosts its services on Rackspace, Amazon Web Service, and IBM. Augustin tells me this is done to keeps costs low and to keep the company focused on the product, not worrying about how it will be delivered. “We’re not in the business of building data centers,” he said.

“Historically, our business has been more mid-market focused, and in the past year we’ve gotten into bigger enterprise deals. We’ll continue to invest in the sales resources on that side,” he said. “We are also hiring like mad. We have 260 employees and are expecting to grow to 300 plus by the end of year.”

Of the $33 million, $14 million was equity and the other $19 million was for debt financing. This new round brings the company’s total equity funding to $60 million.

SugarCRM was founded in 2004 and is based in Cupertino, Calif. The company is backed by New Enterprise Associates, Silicon Valley Bank, Gold Hill Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Walden International.

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