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London Stock Exchange's AIM is a 'joke', says Alfresco CTO

Sophie Curtis | May 3, 2013
The capital markets in the UK are not ready for growth in high-tech companies, according to John Newton, CTO and founder of open-source content management firm Alfresco.

Newton said that, while it's all very well for the government to be a cheerleader for high-tech growth, what's really required is public investment in UK and European companies. Just as we now buy British pork and beef, we should buy British software and technology.

"A lot of companies, including companies like Microsoft and Oracle, would not exist without US government investment, especially very early on. There would not be an Oracle without the US Air Force and the CIA."

The government also needs to take a fresh look at entrenched regulations and labour employment laws, and do more to reinvigorate the venture capital investment to make it easier for companies to grow faster locally, rather than pushing capital elsewhere.

Alfresco is now looking ahead to its IPO in the US, which it hopes will boost its already significant share of the $5 billion content management industry. Newton said that going public will help to raise it's profile relative to larger players like EMC, IBM and Microsoft.

"The most significant marketing event any company can possibly ever have is to go public," he said. "We are well overdue for a new wave of IPOs, especially of enterprise companies, so we're seeing conditions that have not existed in a long time."

Many of these companies, such as Huddle, Box and Dropbox are in the cloud, but even standard enterprise software companies like Tableau, which has no cloud offering, has filed for a public offering, and is expecting to raise as much as $150 million.

"It's interesting how resilient content is as a sector. All of us in this particular area see a lot of investment from companies, knowing that no matter what, their information overload continues to grow unabated," said Newton.

"The time is ripe. You cannot keep the American economy down, it will always rebound, and this is the sector that is rebounding."


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