Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 4/27 to 4/29: Salesforce cancels Dreamforce 7 months away; Coronavirus crisis spurs SAP to action


Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 4/20 to 4/22

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Morgan is out as SAP co-CEO

Tom Paine

Jennifer Morgan, the Newtown Square-based co-CEO of SAP, is leaving the giant business software company, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Christian Kiein, 39 years old and based in Germany, moves from co-CEO to sole CEO.

“More than ever, the current environment requires companies to take swift, determined action which is best supported by a very clear leadership structure. Therefore, the decision to transfer from Co-CEO to sole CEO model was taken earlier than planned to ensure strong, unambiguous steering in times of an unprecedented crisis,” the company said in a statement.

Ms. Morgan, 48, joined SAP in 20o4. She followed former SAP CEO Bill McDermott, now CEO of ServiceNow, to SAP, and was percieved as his protoge.

The true point of contention that led to this sudden decision is not yet known. Morgan became co-CEO along-side Klein in October of last year.

This article by Virginia Backaitis offers some possible explanations.

Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 4/12 to 4/18: Michael Dell, Michael Rubin on companies’ charitable efforts

rom January

Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 4/8 & 4/9: Hot COBOL market; Co-CEO: SAP Has 2x as Many Cloud ERP Customers as Oracle

First Round Capital an early investor


Gridless Power setting up
Gridless Power setting up at a field hospital | Courtesy Gridless Power


William Swayze

The phones started ringing at the Gridless Power offices, in Collingswood, about three weeks ago, as the coronavirus started to flare up in the United States.

Gridless was asked to work with county emergency-management offices that were establishing pop-up health clinics to test for COVID-19.

Gridless makes portable battery and communications systems that provide secure Wi-Fi to remote areas and keep disaster-response equipment powered up and running. The Gridless Hotspot and Gridless WiFi NODE have become key parts of first responders’ equipment.

“We’ve been through a lot of disasters at this point, and we always do whatever we can to help,” said

Andrew Leonard, the company’s COO. “Our production lines are running at full capacity to produce new equipment, and in the meanwhile we use our fleet of demo equipment to help tide people over.”

All of the company’s demo fleet is deployed at the moment, said Leonard. “We told them to keep them as long as you need to. This is an emergency situation.”

He added, “They are using Gridless equipment to prop up mobile testing sites, where people drive through and get tested for COVID-19. There are sites with 100 emergency healthcare workers at a mobile test clinic, so they use our equipment to set up temporary infrastructure — power and communications. We’re keeping their laptops, phones and radios powered, and providing Wi-Fi so they can stay connected and report the test results as quickly as possible.”

Leonard said that he has handled calls from the National Guard in New York, Washington and Georgia, as well as units in Philadelphia and various locations in New Jersey, making sure they were up to speed on how to use the systems.

The company has been in business for about 10 years. “We were deployed after Hurricane Sandy, providing equipment in Seaside Heights,” he said, noting that they have helped first responders during various disasters over the years, for instance by powering medical clinics in Africa during the Ebola crisis and powering search-and-rescue equipment in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

William Swayze

This post first appeared in NJTechWeekly. It is republished here with the permission of its publisher, Esther Surden


Today in Philly Tech History March 28, 2005: Wayne-based SunGard Data Systems agrees to $11.3 billion LBO

On March 28, 2005, Wayne-based SunGard Data Systems agreed to be taken private in an $11.3 billion leveraged buyout, the second largest of all time at that point. The deal, organized by Silver Lake Partners (Michael Dell’s partner in the proposed Dell buyout currently under consideration), included a consortium of seven companies, including Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Providence Equity Partners and Texas Pacific Group in addition to Silver Lake.

Although LBOs are often done on the basis of cash flow, rather than growth prospects, SunGard’s growth since going private has likely been a disappointment to its investors. Each of its principal business segments saw flattening growth; SunGard Financial Systems was negatively impacted by the problems in the financial sector the past few years. SunGard Higher Ed, which also saw diminished growth, was sold in 2011 for $1.775 billion and merged with competitor Datatel. The combined company was renamed Ellucian. Plans to take SunGard Availability Services public have surfaced periodically but never progressed. Its business has not been growing despite areas of potential as a cloud computing provider.

The SunGard LBO was among the deals included in a lawsuit filed last year alleging that major PE firms conspired with each other to hold down bidding competition on target companies.

In 2015, SunGard Financial Systems was acquired by Fidelity National Information Services for $9.1 billion.

The only company still.operating under the SunGard name is SunGard Availabiliy Services, based in Wayne.

Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights April 6 & 7th

Wayne-based SaaS vendor Unilog appears to have momentum

Tom Paine

One Philly-area SaaS company I hadn’t heard of until recently is Unilog, an Indian-American business with its US headquarters in Wayne, and its Indian headquarters in Bangalore. Its core platform is CIMM2. Unilog’s software is specifically designed for B2B ecommerce, which is fundamentally different from B2C. Its been around for a while, since 1999 in fact. And it experienced some major ups and downs earlier in its history.

Achuta Bachalli is the founder of Unilog. Suchit Bachalli, Unilog’s Pennsylvania-based CEO, is Achuta’s son. In 2015,  it secured $3 million in funding from Kalaari Capital, one of India’s leading VC firms. In late 2018, Unilog received an undisclosed amount of convertible debt financing from Philly-based LLR Partners.

Most of its customers are US-based, and of medium size, although there are. exceptions like Schneider Electric and Themo-Fisher. Unilog has over 700 employees according to LinkedIn, including 46 in the US (almost all in Philly area). The remainder are mostly in India.

The best description of Unilog’s revenue picture comes from the CEO himself in the video interview below.

Unilog says it has “several hundred customers.” The average monthly revenue per customer seems to be around $5,000 per month, and implementation can cost up to a half-million in some cases.

This interview by Nathan Latka with Suchit Bachalli from a year ago is fascinating. Suchit has also been active in Philly-area community causes. He indicates in the interview that he is likely to seek a larger financing round in the future. Wouldn’t be surprised if it came from LLR Partners.

Philly EnterpriseTech Weekend Highlights 4/3 to 4/5 2020

First Round Capital was an early investor