May 19, 2005 9:25 PM PDT
Investors to commercialize open source
The venture, called Simula Labs, will take open-source development projects and seek to create businesses around them. That approach was employed at Gluecode, a company founded in 2001, which was bought by IBM earlier this month.
Simula Labs, which intends to announce its formation Monday, has gotten commitments from Redpoint Ventures and Mission Ventures to put in $10 million to $15 million for six to eight start-ups during the next three years. Winston Damarillo, who founded Gluecode and was chairman when it was sold, will act as CEO of Simula Labs.
Increasingly, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are using open-source software and a subscription-pricing model to build new companies. In particular, the area of open-source infrastructure software, which is typically an expensive purchase for customers, has seen a great deal of activity.
One of the first ventures will be the creation of a company called LogicBlaze, which will be built around an open-source project called ActiveMQ, Damarillo said. The ActiveMQ software is an open-source version of standardized Java-based messaging software for sharing data between applications.
Simula also created a company called Mergere around Java-based software development life cycle tools.
Other areas Simula is looking at include directories and identity management, Damarillo said.
"We're targeting mature enterprise infrastructure technologies that have a standard," he said. "We're looking at open source as a software industry transition."
The business model Simula intends to set up with these planned ventures is very similar to that of Gluecode. Companies will employ the important engineers behind an open-source project and sell subscription services for support, training and more functional products based on the open-source code.
Simula executives will take an active role in company creation, acting as co-founders and providing expertise. Damarillo said he intends to use an Apache-style open-source license with products.
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