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Developers know Nginx as a popular open-source web server they can use to run websites. But some of the people behind Nginx, at the startup by the same name, aren’t content with that achievement on its own. They want to build a big company around the technology.

Which is why investors are now giving the startup $20 million, Nginx announced in a statement today.

Beyond providing commercial support for its core (open-source) web server, Nginx sells a commercial version that can balance web requests across physical servers, deliver websites faster, and stream multimedia content.

Over time, Nginx could pose a challenge to providers of hardware for accelerating the delivery of websites, like Citrix and F5, especially considering that the startup has a large base of open-source users. Nginx the company says that open-source Nginx takes care of web requests for more than one-fifth of all websites, alongside Apache and Microsoft’s IIS.

Paying Nginx Inc. customers include Box, Dropbox, Gogo, Hulu, and Netflix.

The open-source project began in 2002. The San Francisco startup opened in 2011. And from at least one standpoint, you can’t have the latter without the former.

“We base our product plans on the real-life conversations with the existing and potential users of Nginx,” Igor Sysoev, the author of the original Nginx web server and chief technology officer of Nginx the startup, explained in a 2012 interview with Free Software Magazine.

NEA led the new round in Nginx Inc. In addition,, Index Ventures, Runa Capital, and the startup’s chief executive, Gus Robertson, also participated. To date Nginx Inc. has raised $33 million.

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