Open-source start-up targets lead generation market

A startup founded by former JBoss developers is set to announce a new product designed to help businesses cash in on their best sales leads.

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A startup founded by former JBoss developers is set to announce a new product designed to help businesses cash in on their best sales leads. LoopFuse, has developed a lead generation product that is offered as a paid on-demand service or as open-source software that can be downloaded for free and installed on-site.

The Atlanta-based company is entering a growing market where it will compete with several other small providers, along with established players like Eloqua. LoopFuse hopes to distinguish itself with its open-source model, which it said will allow it to price its service lower than rivals' services.

Lead generation products track the activities of potential customers on a company's website and use factors like their job titles and activities on the site to assign "lead scores," which help salespeople to target their efforts. The products work in tandem with customer relationship management software.

Kim Collins, a research vice president with Gartner, said interest in such products was growing in all industries. The challenge for new companies like LoopFuse - and for customers - is that many small companies are offering similar products, each with a slightly different twist.

"They each do things a bit differently and utilise different channels for [lead] generation and distribution (eg web, sales, email). Some focus more on workflow and process. Others focus more on analytics and scoring. It makes the vendors and their solutions hard to directly compare," Collins said.

LoopFuse was founded early last year by Tom Elrod and Roy Russo, who each spent three years at JBoss, the Java server vendor acquired by Red Hat. Elrod was lead architect for JBoss Remote and Russo co-founded the JBoss Portal.

The company has quietly rolled out its product to a handful of customers over the past year. Next week, the company is set to launch a new release and start marketing itself more actively.

The product, called LoopFuse OneView, includes tools for email marketing, web analytics, managing campaigns and scoring and prioritising leads, among other things. The new release, version 3.0, will add lead management and lead nurturing tools, a spokesman said. The software is released under the GNU General Public License.

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