Acquia Goes Big in Boston
With the backing he received from American venture capital investors in 2007, Antwerp resident Dries Buytaert (33) established in Boston Acquia, a company that offers Drupal content management services, software developed by Buytaert himself and used by webmasters to build and manage their websites. The software is free and hundreds of thousands of developers around the globe are constantly working on improving the programme. Acquia does not build websites, but assists businesses with the maintenance, monitoring and safeguarding of their websites. Says Buytaert: “If you compare it with the car industry, it would be like saying Drupal provides all the components to build the car free of charge. You may therefore find many handymen building their own car, but those who do not have the knowhow approach a mechanic, like CapGemini. As you would hope the car to last for a number of years, it must be properly maintained. That’s what Acquia does.” The contract the company recently signed with Warner Music will see all artists’ websites designed with Drupal and maintained by Acquia. The company, with its offices at a business park in Burlington, 30 kilometres outside Boston, has attracted key personnel from other companies who are keen to share in the potential of the company and the opportunity to participate in a new growth story, Buytaert explains. Acquia, like Drupal, is surging ahead, with staff numbers increasing by almost 50% from 200 to 300. Even though most of the staff live in the US, Buytaert has meanwhile opened offices in Oxford, Sydney, Paris and the Netherlands. In an effort to accelerate growth, he also acquired an additional 15 million in capital last summer and hopes to enter the Indian market within the next few months. Major consultants like CapGemini and Accenture have embraced the software. Buytaert not only one of the leading managers of Acquia, but also keeps a finger on the pulse as Drupal’s project leader, using his blogpost and keynotes to direct the course of Drupal. Buytaert’s hero status in his community is evident in the keynotes, with 3 200 listeners attending his last Drupal conference and as many following his speech on the web. “I undoubtedly set the course at Drupal, but I can only do it by listening to the community, which is one of the reasons why I travelled 400 000 kilometres in 2011. It’s all about striking a balance between the community’s needs and putting forward your own targets.” This is something Drupal is very good at, if one considers the 800 000 people currently involved in the development of the content management system. Buytaert admits that the recession has pushed the growth: “Drupal is cheaper than other systems. You can do more with fewer resources. At the same time the software is better and faster than that of our competitors.” Acquira has meanwhile made it to the Forbes top 100 list of most promising businesses in the US.
Vraag een jonge IT'er in Boston wat zijn droombedrijf is, en de kans is groot dat hij Acquia zegt. Het bedrijf van de Belg Dries Buytaert groeide uit tot een fenomeen aan de Oostkust. Forbes bekroonde het als een van de 100 beloftevolste bedrijven in de VS.