Ten Bleeding-Edge Open Source Companies: Page 9

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9. Mindquarry

Founded: 2006

Location: Potsdam, Germany

Product or Service: Founded last summer by three graduate students at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam, Germany, Mindquarry makes collaborative software designed to allow maximum efficiency between employees working on team projects.

It’s a Web 2.0 package, including a wiki, a meeting minutes editor, and a Task Management tool with a system of reminders and notifications. Ease of use was the developers’ goal, and Mindquarry claims that users require no training. It facilitates working offline as well as when connected to the Net.

Based on Java, Mindquarry uses Apache Jackrabbit as a JCR-conformant content repository, Apache Cocoon as the Web framework, Dojo toolkit for the frontend and SWT for the desktop client interface.

Mindquarry’s first version, released in February 2007, is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, VMWare and all open source platforms. In true open source tradition, Mindquarry is a free download. The company makes it money through support. Developers are allowed to extend Mindquarry and sell these contributions under a proprietary license.

The company has plans to offers its application in an SaaS mode beginning in the fall of 2007. Users will pay a monthly license fee and access the app remotely through a Web browser.

Funding: Mindquarry received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Hasso Plattner Ventures, an investment firm dedicated to promoting German entrepreneurialism. (Hasso Plattner is a co-founder of German giant SAP). Company representatives are traveling to the Red Herring Spring 2007 event to seek additional VC funding.

Competitive Landscape: Mindquarry is far from alone in the collaborative software market. It competes head to head against small proprietary offerings like Basecamp; against open source groupware offerings from Scalix and Zimbra; and against established apps like IBM’s Lotus Connections and Microsoft’ Sharepoint. In short, it’s a small fish in a very big pond.

The company’s move into the SaaS market this fall will likely help it compete in the mid-size market. But getting started won’t be easy. Mindquarry will have plenty of heavy lifting to do to deploy the remote infrastructure needed for SaaS, from setting up a payment process and customer interface to offering 24/7 maintenance.

In its favor, the collaborate software market – driven by the evolution of Web 2.0 – is a healthy one, as companies more frequently combine the efforts of far-flung employees. To fully harness a team with members in Dehli, San Francisco and Berlin, a company needs a good, affordable, intuitive, collaborative program. Certainly there will be plenty of firms shopping for such an app in the years ahead.

To better promote itself, Mindquarry has plans to set up a U.S. office, perhaps in the Bay area. The start-up is a recipient of a Red Herring 100 Europe award, given to the top 100 private technology companies based in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region each year.

Management Team: Lars Trieloff is COO (he wrote a book, DocBookXML); Alexander Saar is the CTO; and Alexander Klimetschek is the Chief Architect. Sandro Groganz, VP marketing, was formerly communication VP of eZ System.

In November 2006, Stephan Voigt, who was a co-founder of Scopeland, came on board as CEO. As of April 2007, Mindquarry has 10 employees.

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