Black Duck Software joins ranks of largest private tech firms in Boston


Now at more than a decade old — some might call that middle-aged in the tech world — open-source software specialist Black Duck Software is seeing big growth and aiming for even bigger. The Burlington company reached $42 million in revenue last year, making Black Duck one of the largest venture-backed tech firms in the Boston area by revenue.

That size puts the company into a select group — call it the “over $40 million club” — in Boston that includes DataXu, HubSpot, Acquia, Actifio, and Veracode (all of them IPO candidates).

Black Duck was founded in 2002 and offers software tools and consulting to help companies harness open-source projects for their own applications. Open source offers the promise of reducing cost while also speeding development time.

Black Duck has been seeing strong growth as “more and more companies are becoming software companies,” said chief executive Lou Shipley. “Everyone is now writing software of some sort.”

Shipley took the reins at the firm in December a few months after departing Burlington cloud management firm VMTurbo. His mission is to accelerate the growth pace at the firm, he said. Black Duck has been seeing about 25 percent annual revenue growth each year for the past few years (including in 2013). “With the market opening up, we think we can grow faster — more like 35 or 40 percent,” Shipley said.

Lou Shipley

Lou Shipley

Black Duck now has 1,400 customers. Among the most recent new ones is Weight Watchers, a good example of a non-software company getting more into writing software, Shipley noted. Other customers include Cisco, Fidelity, Intel, Samsung, Siemens, and Yahoo.

Black Duck currently employs 185, with most of the employees in Burlington, and is “recruiting heavily,” Shipley said. The firm has raised $46 million in venture funding from investors including General Catalyst Partners, Flagship Ventures, Volition Capital, Red Hat, SAP, and Intel. 

Read more: Acquia’s Dries Buytaert: It’s open-source software that’ll eat the world

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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