Black Duck Adds Jobs, Sees Transition to Helping Software Developers Use Open Source Tools

Black Duck Software CEO Tim Yeaton says his Waltham, MA-based company is fulfilling a mission that it set out on when he started two and a half years ago.

“We enable organizations that are building software products and applications to use open source components successfully in their development,” Yeaton says.

Black Duck was initially known for its technology that helped software developers comply with the licenses for different open source software components they used. Yeaton says the company’s product can also help others build software with open source elements from the ground up, rather than just policing themselves.

“When used early on in the development process as part of a suite of tools, it enables organizations to accelerate software development and reduce costs,” he says.

Black Duck says it already had the” world’s definitive database of open source projects and information” from its original business, and decided to focus on creating a community for individual open source software developers. Black Duck helped accelerate that with its acquisition of last year from Geeknet (NASDAQ: GKNT). Ohloh offered a free public directory of open source software and a Web community of developers working with those components. Black Duck is working on integrating Ohloh with its own code search site,, to create “a single integrated destination for developers, a wide-angle lens into the open source ecosystem,” Yeaton says.

The company still makes money from selling its technology to enterprise software makers using open source components but connecting with developers and building up that community on its free site supports the business, Yeaton says. “We think that actually better enables the entire software industry to more effectively use open source,” Yeaton says.

Last year, Black Duck also acquired SpikeSource, a maker of software and services for identifying application components and assessing compliance. Yeaton says that deal was entirely a technology acquisition, but that it will build those capabilities into its for-fee enterprise products, as well as its free website for developers. To round it all out, Black Duck also acquired the consultancy Olliance Group, which helps companies define and drive their open source strategies, this past January. “Our products work best when they’re automating a series of well defined policies and strategies,” Yeaton says.

Black Duck has added 24 jobs this year, largely in development and services roles. The company now has about 150 employees, and has had 40 percent year-over-year sales growth for the last three years, Yeaton says. It hasn’t raised outside venture funding since 2009, and has been able to finance its own recent acquisitions.

The firm has better branded itself as the open source enablement company in the past few years, Yeaton says, and it’s going to keep going on that mission. It’s all about “enabling other organizations to drive their own innovation,” Yeaton says.

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