||While the company's brand of "Commercial Open Source" sounds a bit like an oxymoron, SugarCRM's business model pursues a symbiotic relationship between maintaining a viable company and delivering customer benefits attributable to open source software solutions.
SugarCRM has a two-tiered business model—the company gives away the basic open source customer relationship management software application, and sells four progressively richer commercial versions which include proprietary code and more advanced feature sets such as integration to Microsoft Outlook, support for MS SQL or Oracle databases, disconnected mobile support, customer self service, reporting and system integration capabilities for companies wanting to achieve full CRM software potential.
||April 2004 by John Roberts, Jacob Taylor and Clint Oram.
||John Roberts originally came up with the idea for SugarCRM during a mountain bike ride in December 2003. Roberts, Clint Oram and Jacob Taylor then created the SugarCRM open source project and founded the company in April 2004. Roberts served as the CEO, Oram was the vice president, and Taylor was the CTO and vice president of engineering.
- April 1, 2004, SugarCRM Inc is founded by John Roberts, Clint Oram and Jacob Taylor (of the former Epiphany family) who introduced an open source project on SourceForge. The company kicked off with 10 employees and charged $149 per user per year for support services to accompany the free open source software.
- August 2004, the company raised its first $2M in venture funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a well known Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
- September 2004, Sugar Open Source achieves 25,000 downloads from Sourceforge; the following month Sugar was named the "Project of the Month" on Sourceforge.
- November 2004, vtiger based in Bangalore, India forks the SugarCRM product, intending to be a fully open-source solution.
- February 2005, the company raises another $6M in second round funding, led by Walden International, a venture capital firm based in San Francisco.
- October 2005, the company receives $18.77M in Series C venture funding with lead investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
- November 2005, SplendidCRM is formed by making a clone of SugarCRM, and porting it to the Microsoft ASP.NET framework. Like Sugar, SplendidCRM produces both open-source and commercial versions of its software.
- November 2006, SugarCRM is said to have between 300 and 350 paying customers who have purchased the Enterprise or Professional Editions, with up to 400 seats. CEO John Roberts says that about 65% of customers purchase the software for on-premise deployment while the remaining purchase the hosted version for on-demand delivery.
- December 2006, the company says that software is downloaded more than 1,500 times per day, has been downloaded more than 350,000 times since the release in July 2004 and the company now has 1,000 paying customers.
- July 2007, the company adopts the GNU General Public License version 3.
- August 2007, the Sugar community offers about 400 third party complimentary apps.
- 2007 sales of $14.5M and headcount of 110 (source: Hoovers).
- January 2008, company claims 4,000,000 downloads and 60,000 community members.
- February 2008, company claims 3,000 commercial technical support accounts for its freely downloaded product.
- January 2008, Sugar CRM announces $14.5M in Series D venture financing. This round was led by New Enterprise Associates along with former investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Walden International. The company has raised a total of approximately $46 million to date.
- May 2008, SugarCRM announces the Data Center Edition (DCE) which permits users to manage multiple instances of the CRM software solution.
- June 2008, co-founder Taylor leaves the company, during what technology website The Register calls "a mysterious exodus of senior and experienced business staff" from SugarCRM.
- May 2009, SugarCRM co-founder, John Roberts, suddenly departs the company as CEO and board member. Sugar appoints board member Larry Augustin as interim CEO and provides no explanation of Robert's sudden departure. There is market speculation that SugarCRM has burned through most or all of its $46M venture financing without reaching positive cash flow generation.
- November 2009, Larry Augustin officially upgraded from interim CEO to full-time CEO.
- July 2010, SugarCRM version 6 released. New feature sets include a PHP application that can run under i/OS, a revamped GUI, simplified installation, and better integration with mobile devices.
- February 2011, Sugar announced record billings and customer acquisitions. In 2010 billings increased 52% compared to 2009, the company added more than 2,200 customers and 100 new channel and consulting partners, Gold Partner Levementum delivered more than one million dollars in annual billings to SugarCRM, and the company turned cash flow positive.
- April 2011, at SugarCon the company announces it has acquired iExtensions CRM—a CRM solution for IBM Lotus Notes—from iEnterprises, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The acquired solution is to add enhanced support for IBM collaboration tools inside Sugar 6.
||Private. SugarCRM has raised over $46 million in venture capital from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Walden International and New Enterprise Associates.
||Larry Augustin, CEO
Larry has held the CEO role since May 2009 and is credited for getting the company to cash flow positive. Larry previously founded and served as the CEO of VA Linux (now known as Geeknet).
||Jeff Campbell, VP of Sales
One of the earliest Sugar employees also to come from Epiphany, Jeff is responsible and credited for managing and scaling SugarCRM across its partner and direct sales operations.
||Nick Halsey, CMO and EVP of Corporate Development
Nick manages the company's overall go-to-market strategy. Nick has over 25 years of experience in high tech, and has played a leading role in the emergence of the commercial open source market.
||Clint Oram, Co-Founder and CTO
Clint was one of the original architects and developers of the Sugar application and has focused on helping build out the product, company, partners and community in a variety of executive roles.
||The company retains over 7,000 customers from around the world. The SugarCRM ideal customer profile is the small to midsize business (SMB) seeking a flexible, open-source CRM solution available in a choice of deployment models (i.e. deploy on-premise, on-demand or a choice of public or private clouds). SugarCRM marquee name customers include Avis, BDO, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Harris, Loomis, Mens Warehouse, State of Oregon and ThyssenKrupp.
||Primary Sugar CRM competitors include the following:
- Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite CRM+, Oracle On Demand and SAP Sales On Demand are the primary software as a service (SaaS) CRM competitors.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage's SalesLogix and SageCRM are the primary on-premise CRM software competitors.
- vTiger, SplendidCRM and Concursive are the primary open-source CRM software competitors.