SugarCRM, a Cupertino startup that competes with Salesforce.com in the customer-relations management space, on Wednesday announced a $40 million funding round from Goldman Sachs.

The infusion -- which roughly doubles the company's war chest from outside backers -- signals that investor appetite for enterprise software companies continues to be strong.

CEO Larry Augustin said he plans to invest the cash in sales, marketing and product development.

Sugar's software lets corporate users more closely track their interactions with customers. "We help the sellers sell," Augustin said, adding that his company grew its customer base by nearly 10 percent in the latest quarter, to more than 6,500.

He's well aware that Wall Street has shown a keen appetite for stock offerings by enterprise software companies. But Augustin -- who during the dot-com era presided over one of the most eye-popping IPOs of all time as CEO of VA Linux -- doesn't sound like a man in a hurry.

"We can't talk about specific timing," he said, "but I will say in broad brush strokes that it's our goal to be a public company."

As part of Wednesday's investment, SugarCRM is adding Goldman Sachs Vice President Antoine Munfa to its board of directors. The company also is backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Walden Venture Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

Contact Peter Delevett at 408-271-3638. Follow him at Twitter.com/mercwiretap.



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