SugarCRM releases new version and talks IPO

While salesforce.com gets most of the headlines about browser-based CRM, and spends more than half its revenue on sales and marketing, SugarCRM has been taking a different route.

While salesforce.com gets most of the headlines about browser-based CRM, and spends more than half its revenue on sales and marketing, SugarCRM has been taking a different route. The commercial open source CRM company's CEO John Roberts prides himself on spending frugally on marketing and sales, and pouring resources into product development.

Today, the company released the latest version of its platform, SugarCRM 5.0, in beta. In the press release Roberts said, "This release allows customers to break away from the predatory lock-in of proprietary CRM vendors," which would include salesforce.com.

SugarCRM does offer an open source community edition of its software under the GPLv3 license, but its commercial editions--available on premises, on demand or via an appliance--include some proprietary features.

SugarCRM 5.0 adds an enhanced Module Builder for creating custom modules, improved access controls and dashboards, and a new AJAX email client. In addition, SugarCRM 5.0 has a new on demand, "multi-instance" platform, in which each customer has a dedicated instance and can control when they upgrade and switch between on demand and on premises. Salesforce.com uses an on demand, multi-tenant approach where multiple customers share an "instance."

It's extremely clear that salesforce.com has been more successful than SugarCRM. Last quarter, salesforce.com generated $176.6 million in revenue. SugarCRM did less than $10 million with its no-marketing approach.

Roberts said his company is on track to go public within the next two years. He expects his company to reach $100 million in revenue in the next two years, according a report on news.com. It's more likely the company will be acquired before that happens.