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2018 IPO Prospects: How Will Acquia Respond to Drupal’s Decline?

Posted on Thursday, Feb 1st 2018

Analysts estimate that there are more than 2 billion websites on the Internet today. Most of these websites need a content management system (CMS) platform. The CMS market is dominated by WordPress, which accounts for a 60% market share. The distant runner in the industry is Joomla, followed by Drupal. Billion Dollar Unicorn player Acquia is a leading supporter of the Drupal platform.

Acquia’s Offerings

Boston-based Acquia was founded in 2007 by Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson to provide support to organizations for Drupal’s products and services. Dries Buytaert was, originally, a key developer of Drupal. Drupal is an open source software package that lets users organize, manage, publish, and customize content. Acquia operates third party-hosted CMS products by providing organizations with a Drupal site builder that runs in the cloud, along with Mollom, a spam fighting service.

Acquia operates on a subscription-based pricing model. Its revenues have grown from $21.8 million in 2012 to an estimated $150 million in 2017. Its client list includes DocuSign, Steward Health Care, City of Boston, and Xerox, to name a few. Profitability figures for the company are not known.

Acquia is privately held and has raised $173.5 million from investors including Centerview Capital, Amazon, New Enterprise Associates, Investor Growth Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Sigma Partners, Tom Erickson, and Tenaya Capital. Its latest round of funding was held in April 2016 when it raised an undisclosed amount. A September 2015 funding had valued the company at $189 million. More recent valuation figures are not known.

Last year, Acquia appointed Michael Sullivan, a former Micro Focus and HP Executive to the position of the CEO. The move is expected to help Acquia with its much-awaited public listing.

Acquia’s Product Expansion

Meanwhile, Acquia continues to develop new products. Last year, it released two new products to help accelerate digital marketing initiatives. It launched Acquia Journey, a solution that would allow marketing organizations to create data-driven customer journeys. It will allow marketers to move away from siloed marketing technologies and disconnected customer data and allow marketers to automate personalized customer journeys.

It also released Acquia Digital Asset Manager (DAM), a modern digital asset manager that is designed to centralize the creative assets within an organization. Acquia DAM allows assets to be created and approved faster, campaigns to be launched sooner, and customers to experience a brand consistently at every point in their journey. Together, the two products will help build customer loyalty and lifetime value and help digital agencies drive journey-minded campaign strategies.

Questions for Acquia’s Board

I think Acquia is an interesting company with a viable commercial open source business model. But for its new CEO, there are a few alarming concerns. Drupal’s latest version, release 8.0 took four years in the making. Within the global content management systems, Drupal’s share has also dropped to 4.6% this year, compared with 4.8% at the start of the previous year. During the same period, market leader WordPress has seen its share grow from 58.5% to 60%.

How does Acquia plan to address this existential threat?

This segment is a part in the series : 2018 IPO Prospects

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