Acquia Hires Finance Chief as IPO Talks Begin

Acquia Inc., which helps companies manage the software behind their websites, has hired a chief financial officer and has begun talking to banks ahead of an initial public offering.

An IPO could come as soon as the second half of 2014, Chief Executive Officer Tom Erickson said in an interview. To prepare, the company hired Dennis Morgan, who was CFO at Buddy Media Inc. and helped arrange its $736 million sale to Inc. last year. He starts today.

Acquia, which gives customers easier ways to use the open-source software platform Drupal, had $45 million in 2012 revenue and expects to grow 50 percent this year, Erickson said. The company still has to release products and wait for its CFO to be settled in the role before picking banks to lead the offering, he said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of circuits, going around to meet banks and public-company investors,” Erickson said. “This company has long legs in terms of where it can go. I’ve never taken a company public so I think it’s something I’d like to do.”

Acquia has raised $68.5 million from investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., North Bridge Venture Partners, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Accolade Partners, Sigma Partners, Investor Growth Capital and Tenaya Capital, the company said. Erickson joined in 2009, after a company where he had been in charge of products, Tele Atlas, was sold to TomTom NV.

Open-Source Assistance

The Burlington, Massachusetts-based company is one of several fast-growing, venture-backed businesses built around an open-source software platform, which programmers can use and adapt without paying. New York-based 10gen Inc. assists with MongoDB database tools, while Cloudera Inc. helps with Hadoop.

“We’re going to see a number of companies that support open-source software that are going to have the opportunity to raise more money or come to market in the next few years,” Morgan said. “Acquia is one of the leading players in that movement.”

Drupal is a content-management platform powering websites and applications. Acquia’s customers include Intel Corp., Stanford University, Twitter Inc. and Fox News, according to its website.

Morgan was looking for companies with promise similar to Buddy Media, which he helped sell at a price of more than 15 times annual revenue, he said. He also wanted to be at a company with plans for a public offering.

“It’s the ultimate earning of your stripes as CFO,” he said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.