DotNetNuke Opens Door to Better Web Sites

October 28, 2011

Shaun Walker was just a software developer who wanted to tinker with Microsoft platform kits that were online in early 2000.

A huge fan of open source communities, Walker wanted to create modified versions of the Microsoft ASP.NET kits that would help people build better websites. The open-source community remains a passionate group of engineers and developers who share codes and information to improve the quality of online products. The onslaught of responses to his work led Walker to build a content management system and company called DotNetNuke.

The five-year-old San Mateo-based company has seen its staff grow from 7 in 2008 to 75 employees today and its revenue jump up more than 800 percent between 2008 and 2010.

“The response from the open source community in the first three months was astronomical,” said Navin Nagiah, the CEO of DotNetNuke. “Then when Microsoft reached out three months after the release we knew we had something that could grow into a business.”

Nagiah joined the team in 2008 with a focus on taking the free content system that thousands of people were using to build their websites and creating a paid version that would allow for more advanced and professional use that didn’t take an engineer to adapt.

The content management system that DotNetNuke has created specializes in helping businesses and individuals build adaptable websites. The company now has more than 1,700 customers in 40 countries that use the paid system — with more than 7 million downloads of the free software system.

To date, the company has received $12 million in funding that has helped spur growth, though the company has also met new challenges along the way.

“The web changes more rapidly now than it ever has,” said Nagiah. “We are constantly reevaluating and making efforts to stay relevant and anticipate what the future needs of websites will be.”

In 2008, when the marketing company Illuminate Studios was looking for a content management system for its business and the businesses it handles, DotNetNuke rose to the top of the pile.

“We often make recommendations to our clients based on their company website needs,” said Aaron Lee, the president and creative director of Miami-based Illuminate Studios. “Everyone out there has similar features, so we often choose DotNetNuke because of how adaptable it is, how knowledgeable the open source community is and how quickly you can get assistance from the company.”

A lot of companies love the improvements and feedback provided by products licensed for open source use. DotNetNuke has taken that and added to it by offering the basic CMS through open source and providing a paid version with more customer help, social interface interaction, document management and ecommerce aspects.

It’s looking abroad for continued growth. DotNetNuke opened an office in Amsterdam over the summer and expects to hire more employees there next year. It’s expecting to continue to add clients in Europe as well as Asia in 2012.

Although roughly 85 percent of the company’s revenue comes from North America, 50 percent of its traffic comes from outside North America, said Nagiah.

“It is clear that ecosystem is of interest globally,” he said. “And now it is important to feed that ecosystem.”