Open source collaboration software developer Open-Xchange (www.open-xchange.com) has closed a Series B round of venture investment amounting to $9 million, which it will use for software development and business expansion in the US, Europe and emerging markets.
The investment round was led by German IT equity firm eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG (www.ecapital.de). Frank Hoelzle, managing partner at eCAPITAL, will join the Open-Xchange board of directors.
Munich-based investment firms BayBG (www.baybg.de) and BayTech Venture Capital (www.baytechventurecapital.de) also participated, however, specific amounts were not released.
Built as software, Open-Xchange is an open-source alternative to commercial email and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint. In mid-October, the company announced a collaboration with "mobile 2.0 messaging" provider Funambol (www.funambol.com) to bring collaboration capability to more than 1.5 billion mobile handsets, providing push email and cloud-based mobile synchronization as a Software as a Service offering.
This year alone, Open-Xchange has quadrupled the number of paid mailboxes it supports to 8.4 million because of strategic partnerships with hosting giant 1&1 (www.1and1.com), Network Solutions (www.networksolutions.com), French hosting provider OVH, and Swiss hosting provider Hostpoint.
"We're at a point of unprecedented growth in our company's history and will use these funds to help us add another 10 million mailboxes next year," Open-Xchange chief executive officer Rafael Laguna said in a statement. "As the lifeblood of every organization no matter what size, email and collaboration are going through a phase of dramatic change in many cases to hosted delivery and software as a service."
Venture capital has played an important role in Open-Xchange. In 2006, Open-Xchange received $8.8 million in a financing round shortly before the launch of its product with its first hosting customer 1&1 in February 2007.
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