The next big thing? Four open source start-ups to watch

A group of open source start-ups have appeared on CBR’s radar in
recent weeks. I thought it was worth taking a quick look at their
credentials to see how they progress from here. They are, in no
particular order: Apatar, GravityZoo, LoopFuse, and Untangle (alright I
lied, they’re in alphabetical order). Here’s our first impressions:


Name: Apatar Inc
From? Chicopee, MA
Product? Apatar Data Integration
In 10 words or less? Open source data integration – extract, transform and load.
Business model? The Community Edition is free, the
Enterprise Edition costs from $9,995 adding extra features. Apatar
Enterprise Data Mashups is offered as software-as-a-service.
License? GNU GPL
Community? 11 developers at SourceForge.
Hosted DataMap connector development at ApatarForge.
Named customers? and ProSource Tools.
Blog? CEO Renat Khasanshyn is at
Funding? No.
Anything else? Major development centre is in Minsk,
Belarus. The technology is developed with Java using Eclipse. Target
usage scenarios include quick mashup integration, as well as
traditional data and application integration.


Name: The GravityZoo Company, a trade name of DitchITall BVBA
From? Lanaken, Belgium
Product? The GravityZoo Framework, including Client, Backend, Toolkit and Demo applications
In 10 words or less? A framework for web-enabling enterprise applications.
Business model? Dual licensing. “Most of the non-core
components of the GravityZoo Framework will progressively be released
into the Open Source community” including APIs, toolkits and the
Universal Object Library. Additionally GravitySource is an open source
software development platform, hosting GravityZoo Framework projects,
while MediaZoo is a demo application for online music and video
management built using Ogg Vorbis.
License? GravityZoo RealTime Chat and GravityZoo Messenger are both using the BSD license. Other than that it remains to be seen.
Community? GravityZoo Developer Registry.
Named customers? Not yet.
Funding? Not yet – “We intend to attract VC funding to
finalize our products and services and start executing our market and
open source strategy.”
Anything else? The company has set up the GravityZoo
Trust; an organization run by members of the GravityZoo open source
community and entitled to a percentage of the profits earned by The
GravityZoo Company. The company is in the process of porting to its framework as a proof of concept. Applications
running in the GravityZoo Framework do not communicate via the HTTP
protocol but via a “state replication protocol” called REP.


Name: LoopFuse LLC
From? Peachtree City, GA
Product? LoopFuse One View
In 10 words or less? Open source demand generation and CRM integration.
Business model? One View Open Source is free and
licensed via the GPL and backed by fee charged services and consulting.
One View Enterprise Edition is a fee charged hosted offering.
License? GNU GPL
Community? Not a lot. There is a Wiki and a Forum but both are works in progress.
Named customers? Not yet.
Funding? Not yet.
Anything else? The company was founded by Tom Elrod,
formerly the lead architect for JBoss Remoting, and Roy Russo,
co-founder of the JBoss Portal project, and is being advised by
Alfresco’s Matt Asay.


Name: Untangle Inc
From? San Mateo, CA
Product? The Untangle Gateway Platform
In 10 words or less? Open source network security.
Business model? The Untangle Gateway Platform is open
source and free and runs 12 core open source security applications,
such as spam, spyware, virus and phish blocking. The Professional
Package add-on requires a commercial license and delivers live support,
advanced management capabilities, and additional access options.
License? Mostly GPL. 95% of the code is open source.
Community? 2 developers at SourceForge, a forum, and mailing list.
Named customers? BGO Architects.
Funding? $10.5 million Series A in December 2006 from CMEA Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners.
Anything else? The company was previously known as
Metavize. It offers two servers that come with the Untangle Gateway
Platform pre-installed, or users can install on their own dedicated
server. CEO Bob Walters began his career landing F/A-18 Hornet fighter
aircraft on aircraft carriers.

Alex Fletcher has a nice post
building on this list with his thoughts about “what the emergence of
such new entrants means within the context of the growth of the open
source marketplace and its continued maturation as a technical force”.


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