Website Software Seller Acquia Adds $50M, Led by NEA

[Updated 2:30 pm with comment from company]
Acquia hasn’t been shy over the past few years about its hopes to become a public company. Today, the seller of website management software is stacking up some more venture capital: a $50 million investment that Acquia says will help it continue growing in multiple areas.

The new investment was led by New Enterprise Associates, which will add growth equity leader Ravi Viswanathan to the company’s board. Another new investor, Split Rock Partners, also contributed to the round, along with some previous venture investors.

Acquia, founded in 2007, has been billing itself as “pre-IPO” for some time now. CEO Tom Erickson told the Boston Business Journal in March that his company could go public as early as this year, and Acquia added a new chief financial officer last week, a move that was touted in context with an eventual IPO filing.

In an interview Tuesday, chief marketing officer Tom Wentworth said the new financing hadn’t changed the company’s plans for a possible IPO. “This funding is really about allowing us to move faster and accelerate our momentum,” Wentworth said. “Being a public company is certainly an option for us, but right now we’re focusing on continuing our really fast growth.”

Acquia, based in Burlington, MA, sells software and related services that help companies build and maintain websites. Its software is based on Drupal, an open-source Web content management system—company founder Dries Buytaert is Drupal’s original author.

Acquia collects subscription fees for online software that helps companies use the Drupal system to run their own websites, including technical support, hosting, and testing. The company claims about 4,000 clients, including Twitter, the NCAA, Mercedes-Benz, Blue Man Group, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Most of Acquia’s sales come from its core website hosting and management services, Wentworth said, with separate products for e-commerce and Web marketing targeted as major areas for growth.

In the big picture, Acquia has competitors on both ends of the market. WordPress offers free website-building software and charges for professional-level upgrades, while big companies like Adobe have offerings at the top end of the business market. Wentworth said Acquia’s focus is mostly on business customers who are currently using established software vendors, including Adobe, Oracle, Sitecore, and SDL Tridion.

There has been a bit of consternation lately about whether Wall Street has its arms open for new technology IPOs. This spring has seen some flurries of tech stock sell-offs, peppered with successful IPOs like the recent debut of Zendesk, which sells customer service software.

Acquia has said its revenue for 2013 was about $68 million, which represents growth of about 51 percent over the roughly $45 million it posted in 2012. It’s not known whether the private company still loses money as it attempts to keep its growth rates up.

This investment brings Acquia’s total private financing to nearly $119 million. It last raised a $30 million round in late 2012.

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