Alfresco raises $45 million in funding

Content management firm Alfresco has raised £27 million ($45 million) in capital to help serve an expanding customer base and meet future demand.

The funding was led by Sageview Capital, plus existing investors Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund and SAP Ventures.

It will partly be used to help Alfresco expand in the government and public sector space in the UK, with the company due to announce at least one major deal in Whitehall in November.

‘Tremendous uptick’ in interest

Speaking to ComputerworldUK, Alfresco’s EMEA VP John Pomeroy said that the company is gaining traction in the policing and emergency services market thanks to the content management platform’s ability to support cases from incident to prosecution.

He said: “At Hampshire Constabulary, they manage their body worn video in an Alfresco environment. We’ve had active interest from many other police forces already, not just in the UK but in other European countries like France. We also work with the fire service in Amsterdam.”

Pomeroy said that the company has experienced a “tremendous uptick” in the level of interest from government in the last 18 months but also in the size and complexity of opportunities.

Alfresco’s customers are split roughly 50/50 between central and local government, he explained.

The company is amongst others working on a common platform project to digitise the criminal justice system for the Ministry of Justice, led by systems integrator Sopra. Its platform is also used by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In local government, the platform is being used by Bristol City Council to help consolidate its property estate, Pomeroy added.

Open systems

He said that the increase in interest from the public sector was partly thanks to the firm’s ‘unique architecture’ of having an open source version of its product and being based on open standards.

Pomeroy said: “We’re being perceived by customers much more as platform upon which you can build multiple applications to solve different problems. We use open standards which helps to lower the total cost of ownership of the content platform.”

This chimes in well with the government’s policy of encouraging the adoption of open standards across the public sector, which it hopes will make it easier for civil servants to share documents and work collaboratively and for citizens to access and work with information published by government.

Becoming a partner to customers

Pomeroy explained that Alfresco as a whole is trying to move from being a “predominantly reactive organisation where people downloaded the product, then came back to do something more formal with it, to becoming more of a partner to our customers.”

He said: “We’re becoming a company that can work with big customers and government organisations to ensure they can maximise use of the product and get best return on investment on it.

“As a subscription based business we’re only as good as our last year, we need customers to come back to us. We got a 90 percent renewal rate last year but we need to keep pace with that and keep on delivering high levels of customer satisfaction.”

Pomeroy said that Alfresco differentiates itself from the rest of the content management market by having open systems and a hybrid model for hosting.

He said: “It’s a very open platform. We have an open source version of product available, which gives us tremendous reach in developer community, accelerates the pace of innovation and makes the product more robust and secure.

“We also have a hybrid model so customers can have almost identical functionality whether running on premise or in the cloud.”

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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