SugarCRM Moves Closer to IPO With $33 Million Financing Round

With the IPO window open for business software makers, SugarCRM inched closer to going public in what may be its last private financing round.

The Cupertino, California-based company said today that New Enterprise Associates, Silicon Valley Bank and Gold Hill Capital led a $33 million equity and debt funding round to help SugarCRM win customers in the $18 billion customer relationship management market.

Chief Executive Larry Augustin said the company has been operating at break-even since late 2010, and will use the fresh cash to bolster its staff and potentially make acquisitions. SugarCRM currently has about 250 employees and should be up around 300 by the end of the year, he said.

The money will also strengthen the company’s capital reserves, which is important because large corporations that are choosing SugarCRM over Oracle and Salesforce.com want to know they’re in it for the long haul.

While he declined to comment on the timing on an initial public offering, Augustin said there’s a “high probability” this will be the last funding round. The company has raised about $80 million since it was founded in 2004.

“There are a lot of things you have to do to be ready to be a public company,” Augustin said. “But it’s definitely a goal of ours to be a large, stand-alone public company. We think we’ve got the scale to do that and we think we’re in a business where that makes sense.”

The IPO market has opened for business software makers recently, with Jive going public in December, Bazaarvoice in February and ExactTarget last month. ServiceNow, a provider of cloud services for IT departments, announced plans to go public last week. In the private markets, Yammer raised $85 million in February, a month after Lithium Technologies reeled in $54 million. Both companies provide social software for businesses.

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