Yesterday the news broke that open source VC firm Matrix Partners offered Digium, Inc. $13.8 million in first-round funding -- and Digium accepted. So what? The telephony company isn't the first to accept venture funds, right? Of course not.
Digium, however, doesn't need the funds, according to president Mark Spencer. The company's sales exceed $10 million annually, and Spencer's open source Asterisk PBX/VoIP platform is downloaded approximately 1,000 times a day. Yet Matrix Partners is so confident in Digium's disruptive power in the "staid and closed" telephony industry that it handed over the cash anyway.
What is it about Asterisk that makes it so popular? It's simple, Spencer says, and flexible. The program will work in small businesses, huge enterprises, and even for telephone carriers. Moreover, users have developed many applications around it and can use it in a wide variety of ways.
Even those who aren't so sure about open source in the world of telephony agree that it's the future. Digium apparently has a clearer vision of what that future will look like than most.