Enterprise Software is Sexy Again

July 27, 2010

This was the title from the guest post written by Aaron Levie, CEO and co-founder of Box.net on TechCrunchIT that caught my eye this morning since I am an old enterprise software executive out of Oracle.

Enterprise Software is Sexy Again

I enjoyed reading it since it reminded me that everything moves in cycles in the software industry and too many times people proclaim that certain markets are dead only to be proven wrong again.

If I were an entrepreneur looking to build a great software company, I would look for a segment of the market with older, larger, established players selling complex products with good profit margins. These companies remind me of Hal the deer in old far side cartoon by Gary Larson.

Then I would build a disruptive business model that offers products or services that solve a serious business problem — one that is a ‘must have’, not a ‘nice to have’ at a better cost to ROI model — align the revenue with customer success so you win when they win with a much simpler user experience and user interface, and continue for focus on innovation in everything we do so we that ‘out-execute’ the traditional enterprise software companies.

This is the stuff that makes being an operational venture partner at OpenView Partners, a venture capital firm that provides growth capital to expansion stage software companies, fun. Once we provide expansion capital to software companies raising venture capital, we then jump in with both feet helping the founders, CEO and management teams improve their strategy, focus and execution to build great companies and achieve great exits.

While this sounds easy, it is a lot of work and means you have to show up everyday with your A game. That is exactly how today’s large players like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and other big software companies beat the big guys when they were starting their businesses.

By the way, I don’t know whether you picked up on the WSJ article today, but Larry Ellison topped the list of the top paid CEOs for the last decade and he still owns 23% of Oracle.

Maybe one of you will be the next Larry Ellison if you get it right… and we hope OpenView will be there right next to you for the journey!

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.