Open Source SuiteCRM Project Seeks Crowdfunding on Kickstarter

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Open source SuiteCRM has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to accelerate the build of 100 new features in 18 months.

We're already competing with Salesforce, Dynamics and SugarCRM and winning. The next round of development is in core business process functionality to push ahead of those guys.

In early October 2013, SugarCRM announced that they would release no new code to their open source CRM product and as from summer 2015 they would no longer support it or provide bug fixes.

Potentially it was the death of one of the best supported and most popular open source projects on the internet.

However, by the middle of October the project was given new life. SalesAgility, one of the world's longest established and largest independent SugarCRM consultancies, announced a fork of SugarCRM. The fork was called SuiteCRM.

SuiteCRM is a classic case of having your lunch eaten by a competitor. Not only did it contain all the rich functionality of SugarCRM Community Edition, it launched with additional modules that delivered Workflow, Reporting, Products, Quotes, Contract, Invoices, Mobile, Portal and Search functionality. From day one it was competing with SugarCRM's flagship Professional Edition. In contrast to SugarCRM, the whole application was published under the AGPL license.

In the 12 months since it launched, the project has released six updates with bug fixes and enhanced functionality and has built a community of more than 20,000 active supporters collaborating and contributing in the community forums. The ecosystem of enhancements and extensions continues to grow and currently contains more than forty active projects.

SuiteCRM has recently launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to accelerate the build of 100 new features and to fund the move to establish the project alongside best-of-breed open source projects by putting the project governance into a not-for-profit foundation.

“The decision to seek community based crowdfunding rather than inviting venture capital into the company was not a difficult one,” said SalesAgility's CEO, Greg Soper, a vocal and long standing critic of the “Commercial Open Source” model pioneered by SugarCRM. “We talked with potential funders but nobody came to the table with an offer that we felt really understood the open source model. Funders wanted the project to start building and selling Intellectual Property in the same way that SugarCRM does. That's not a route we are contemplating. There are many revenue streams available to projects without having to close off the code. We have already demonstrated that we can build and support world class applications and be profitable while publishing all of the code under recognised licenses.”

“SuiteCRM is an important application in the march of open source into the application stack. It's the only true enterprise player. We are standing on the shoulder of giants by leveraging the millions of dollars of development money that went into SugarCRM's Community Edition code. As a platform and foundation to build on, it gives us an advantage that few projects have,” he said. “We're already competing with Salesforce, Dynamics and SugarCRM and winning. The next round of development is in core business process functionality to push ahead of those guys.”

The Kickstarter campaign is live until the end of October and Soper invited developers and supporters of open source to get involved. “Come and help us build the world's best CRM application. You may not be a supporter of CRM projects, but if you have an interest and a belief in open source, then helping us to achieve our aims is an important staging post in establishing open source in the application stack.”

If it's successful, the Kickstarter campaign will fund an expanded full-time development team, a Technical Author to produce world class developer and user documentation, and to establish a not-for-profit foundation for the project. It's an exciting time for open source CRM.

About SalesAgility

Established in 2008, SalesAgility are one of the world's largest and most successful independent SugarCRM consultancies. With a customer base that includes some of the world's leading brands, they have as singular focus on CRM in general and open source SugarCRM in particular. SalesAgility is an ISO 9001 accredited company.

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Greg Soper

Greg Soper
SalesAgility Ltd
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