O'Reilly Network wins a Jolt; SNAP Platform gets jolted.
2005 Software Development Jolt Awards
Software Development magazine has announced that the O'Reilly Network has won a Jolt award for the Websites and Developer Networks category. My congratulations to Bruce Stewart and all of the staff at O'Reilly Network for making such a great site. It's an honor to be associated with the best.
Running at full steam
During the past year I've been running the SNAP Development Center. An interesting little project, the SNAP Platform (our primary product) has been coming along and the road map looks exciting. Our vision was to bring to market an integrated Java open source development toolkit. We wanted to do for Java development what Red Hat did for Linux. Along the way we decided to differentiate ourselves in a couple of different ways. First, we employ college students from the Bayamon Campus of the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico as student software engineers; and we decided to make our stack completely open source. Thus we created a sub-project called the SNAP DK, which integrated SableVM, Jikes, and GNU CLASSPATH. The SNAP DK offers a completely open source Java-like replacement for the Sun JDK.
We released our second version and are already working on the next release. We have the SNAP DK and Eclipse in SNAP Platform 0.5, and for our next release we should add Tomcat and SwingWT. We already have several samples application that run on the SNAP DK and we're busy making more. Overall, we're making progress and intend to launch a commercial website for support. Sweet you might say. Well, I keep close tabs on the Venture Capital market when they fund open source projects. Today I found the most recent example, and the good news is that the venture capitalists like our idea for an integrated Java and open source software development toolkit. The bad news is that OpenLogic, Inc. had the same idea too.
Yesterday OpenLogic, Inc. announced that they had closed a $4 million Series A round of funding with Appian Ventures, Red Rock Ventures, Highway 12 Ventures and Village Ventures. At the same time they released version 3.1 of BlueGlue, their Open Source Infrastructure Management Suite.
We had previously identified BlueGlue as a potential competitor, as well as MyEclipse. They were one of the reasons we decided to choose the completely open source Java path. Hearing about the funding news yesterday waslike a punch right in the gut. At first it took my breath away, but after I recovered I knew I had to share OpenLogic's good fortune.
OpenLogic announced that they will use the funding to expand their development, sales and marketing efforts and to open new offices in Broomfield, Colorado in the Boulder-Denver High-Tech Corridor. I wish OpenLogic the best of luck with their new investment, and I'll be watching to see how they capitalize on this opportunity.
Hitting the wall
Well now what? Is this a really, really, bad thing? Probably. Is there any way this can be a good thing? Maybe. Does this mean that if we keep pushing and get a couple hundred support contract we can shop around for a couple of million? Another maybe. The history of venture capital actually suggests that this is possible. If open source companies continue to receive attention from the venture capitalists, it is entirely possible that multiple companies in the same niche could receive funding. In this scenario, it becomes a horse race. Who has assembled the best team and who executes their plan.
In addition to an influx of new funding, OpenLogic has also added saesoned software industry professionals to the management team. So to recount, they have a new professional jockey and are acquiring a thoroughbred software development team. Hmm. In the end it seems as if we are in an against all odds race. We are riding an unproven colt and we are still learning the jockeying reins. If we are going to compete, we have to work very hard, learn very quickly, and execute flawlessly. As entrepreneurs we have to analyze these aspects of our project and answer the big question: "Are we on a track that will lead to victory?" If not, then we probably should probably find a new track.
Kevin Shockey is an emerging high technology entrepreneur.
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