Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 12/16-17: Roku’s Origins; Passage Bio Announces Gene Therapy Manufacturing Research and Development Site

BP acquires majority interest in Wayne-based Finite Carbon

Finite Carbon website

BP has acquired a majority interest in Finite Carbon, which is based in Wayne.

Finite Carbon creates carbon offsets by enrolling private land owners to manage conservation efforts on their own property. BP plans to use the offsets to meet its carbon reduction goals, as well as selling offsets to other carbon polluters.

BP had invested $5 milion in Finite Carbon last year. The amount of its new investment wasn’t disclosed.

Finite currently has 50 carbon projects on three million acres in the United States and generated more than $500 million in revenue for landowners, Reuters reported. Its the largest U.S. carbon offset developer.

An interesting note from Finite’s history is that its first institutional funding apparently came from the now largely dormant Radnor-based TL Ventures, which was once the Philly area’s most prominent VC.fund.

Sean Carney is the President of Finite Carbon, and he’s been with the company for nearly 12 years.

Philly-area software deals: Elemica, Jornaya, Phemon People

Phenom’s People

Tom Paine

Wayne-based supply chain software firm Elemica (which I profiled two years ago) made what appears to be a large acquisition for a company of its size, announcing Wednesday that its buying ProcessWeaver.

Based in North Texas, ProcessWeaver’s software handles all aspects of enterprise shipping with multiple carriers, often working in conjunction with ERP systems such as SAP, Oracle, etc. ProcessWeaver has more than 200 employees. Its shipping solutions appear to go beyond the chemical industry which historically has made up Elemica’s customer base.

Global annual parcel volume exceeded 103 billion items in 2019 and has increased dramatically in 2020 as the pandemic continues to accelerate the shift to online purchasing, Elemica says. Forecasts anticipate the market to more than double by 2026.

Terms were not disclosed.

Last year, Paris-based Eurazeo purchased Elemica from Thoma Bravo, which had acquired the business for $135 million in 2016 according to Pitchbook. Eurazeo said at the time it would invest roughly $250 million in the deal.

Conshohocken-based data vendor Jornaya was acquired by Verisk Analytics, a Jersey City-based risk analysis information provider for insurers and other sectors.

Edison Partners invested $10 million in a Series B in what was then LeadiD, though at that time it then changed its name to Jornaya. The name reflected consumers’ journeys which Jornaya tried to track through historical data, and utilizing predictive analytics for the future behavior. Comcast Ventures was an earlier investor. LeadiD was founded in 2011.

Verisk. (Nasdaq: VRSK) has. grown rapidly, with the help of acquisitions, and now has a market value of $32 billion.

No terrms were provided for the tranasction.

  

Ambler-based recruiting SaaS firm Phenom People, continuing its torrid growth pace, acquired Endouble, an Amsterdam-based firm focused on candidate experience solutions..  It was Phenom’s second acquisition; In October, Phenom acquired My Ally, an HR technology company focused on automation, particularly for interview scheduling.

Phenom has raised $59 million from numerous investors headed locally by Sashi Reddi’s SRI Capital and Kenexa founder Rudy Karsan’s Karlani Capital. It has 800 employees, 500 of whom are in India.

iCIMS, a New Jersey-based recruiting SaaS company I also watch (its based in the old Bell Labs complex) is further along than Phenom, having started earlier. It is SMB-oriented, while Phenom is more enterprise -focused, (at least that’s been my previous impression). iCIMS, owned now by PE giant Vista Equity, who bought out Susquehanna Growth Equity, is run by former SAP exec and Marketo CEO Steve Lucas. iCIMS has been making acquisitions as well, most recently New York-based Altru Labs, announced Tuesday.

iCIMS said it surpassed $200 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2018. 

Both iCMS and Phenom are also addressing a new niche, providing tools that help employees track internal opportunities at their own employers.

Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 12/13 to 12/14

Philly EnterpriseTech Weekend Highlights 12/11 – 12/13: Oracle latest on the move: GSK & Sanofi say Covid-19 vaccine won’t be ready till late 2021

Philly EnterpriseTech PeopleNews 12/12: Scientist’s decades of mRNA research led to both COVID-19 vaccines

Roblox to delay IPO until 2021

First Round Capital owns sizeable stake

Tom Paine

Roblox, the popular gaming platform for children, announced in a memo to employees yesterday that it would delay its planned IPO, previously scheduled for December, into next year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

First Round Capital was an early investor and owns 7% of Roblox shares, according to the S-1 filing released three weeks ago.

“Based on everything we have learned to date, we feel there is an opportunity to improve our specific process for employees, shareholders and future investors both big and small”, Roblox CEO David Baszucki said in the memo, which was viewed by the Journal.

The staggering post-IPO market receptions for both Airbnb and DoorDash this week led Roblox and its bankers to rethink pricing strategy for its IPO. In its first day of trading on Thursday, Airbnb shares more than doubled from their offering price and ended with a valuation over $100 billion.

Roblox’ platform, which lets user invent games, had already seen its user base soar before the pandemic, which further increased its popularity.

Roblox was valued at $4 billion in its latest round earlier this year.

First Round Capital invested multiple times in Roblox, dating back to its Series A in 2005 according CrunchBase.

Philly EnterpriseTech Highlights 12/9 – 12/10

Two Clinical Trial Leaders, ERT & Bioclinica, agree to merge

Tom Paine

A pair of Philly-area leaders in conducting clinical trials, Princeton-based Bioclinica and Philadelphia-based ERT (eResearchTechnology), have agreed to merge.

The transaction will integrate Bioclinica’s expertise in imaging with ERT’s expertise in eCOA (electronic clinical outcome assessments), cardiac safety, respiratory and wearables.

“As our customers continue to transform their R&D operations, we must continuously deliver a breadth of innovative technology and services,” said Joe Eazor, President and CEO of ERT. “Our merger with Bioclinica will allow us to continue to reinvent end-point data collection by delivering higher-fidelity data and more integrated solutions to achieve our customers’ goals for higher effectiveness, greater efficiency, safer trials, and more patient-centric virtual solutions.”

ERT is actually acquiring Bioclinica, though terms were not disclosed.

ERT has 2700 employees per its LinkedIn profile and Bioclinica has 2600 employees, according to an announcement on its website.

European PE firms are the investors behind both companies.

ERT’s investors have been Astorg, Nordic Capital, Novo Holdings, and the company’s management team.

Bioclinica was acquired by Cinven in 2016. Cinven will now have a “significant” minority stake in the combined company.

Covid-19 has shaken up the clinical trials industry, by forcing changes in how trial candidates are identified and where trials are conducted, among other factors.

ERT was hit by a ransomware attack in late September that slowed work for a couple 0f weeks, according to a story in the New York Times.

Soon after, ERT said then- CEO and President Jim Corrigan was stepping down, replaced immediately by Eazor, most recently CEO of Conifer Health Solutions and previously leader of both Rackspace and Earthlink. Its not clear whether the management change was related to the rasonware attact.

Eazor will lead the newly combined companies. The merger should be completed in early 2021, the joint announcement said.

INFRAGISTICS DRIVES TOWARDS WEB UX AND UI LEADERSHIP AS IT INNOVATES

Dean Guida, CEO and founder of Infragistics | Courtesy Infragistics

 December 9, 2020  Esther Surden

Cranbury, NJ-based Infragistics, a company that builds both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) tools, and whose mission it is to help its software-developer customers create simple and beautiful applications, celebrated a 31-year relationship with Microsoft recently.

The relationship is significant because it has helped the company’s UX and UI tools get into the hands of Microsoft’s many, many customers.

In a recent interview with Dean Guida, Infragistics founder and CEO, he told us, “One of our key goals is to be number one in the web UI developer tool space. We were number one in the world in the desktop UI developer space. Right now, we are in the top tier, but we want to be clearly the market leader. There are probably four or five ways we can achieve that, considering the way web developers build applications.”

New Tools for Microsoft Blazor

Microsoft has been moving into the web and open-source space aggressively over the last five-plus years, and has most recently created “Blazor,” a new software framework for building web applications, said Guida. Infragistics worked closely with Microsoft to build a library of professionally designed UI components for C# and .NET developers using Blazor. “A significant part of our joint customer base with Microsoft includes C# and .NET developers. Providing tools for Blazor enables them to build web applications without having to learn JavaScript, while allowing us to further expand our relationship with Microsoft’s customers,” he explained.

“With ‘Ignite UI’ for Blazor, we support developers working in Blazor by providing components to create data grids, charts and visualizations which are easy to use, offer enterprise-grade performance, and make it easy to manage data,” Guida said. “There is a big, active global community of .NET developers out there. And with our tools, those developers will be able to use their existing skills in C# and .NET to build web applications.”.”

Supporting the Angular Framework

In September, the company introduced Ignite UI for Angular v 10.1.0, which includes new features and enhancements for its Angular data grid, new theming capabilities and a set of new Material-inspired industry icons to improve productivity for developers creating applications in the Angular framework.

Ignite UI for Angular v 11.0.0 was released in November, just hours after Google released Angular 11, making it one of the first solutions available to support it, the company said. Ignite UI for Angular v 10.2.0 was released just one month after Google had released Angular v 10.0.0, continuing the rapid pace of the Angular team at Infragistics.

Guida said that Infragistics tools are low-code options that allow professional developers in businesses to build professional applications. “By delivering prebuilt components, it reduces the amount of code you have to write to create a beautiful and simple application experience. Our customers are independent software vendors like Intuit, who built TurboTax and Quicken; financial service companies like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America; and most of the big global banks, which build their own high-speed equity trading systems. And millions of developers worldwide use us to build their applications.”

Weathering the Pandemic

We asked Guida about how Infragistics has weathered the COVID-19 storm. “As a technology company, we easily transitioned to working from home,” he answered. “We had a lot of people who were already working remotely and had the infrastructure already in place to support it. As a result, our productivity has remained really high, so we didn’t take a hit that way.”

However, the leadership did worry about its corporate culture being affected by the pandemic. The company offers unlimited paid time off, but was having trouble getting people to take vacation time during COVID-19, when they weren’t able to go anywhere.

“We spend a lot of time telling people to take vacations. … In order to be productive in any role, whether you’re a technology company or not, you have to recover, you have to take time, you have to get good sleep, you have to have vacation. You have to do things that re-energize and refresh.” Guida explained that he wanted his people to take care of themselves, do fun things, spend time with family, pursue their hobbies, so that “when you come back to work, you’re refreshed and productive. It’s a win–win for both business and for people’s personal health.”

The company recently sent out care packages to its employees at home that included branded socks to keep them comfy as they work at their desks. The package also included subscriptions to some online games that people could play with their friends.

Sales Solves All Problems

Guida writes a weekly email to the company’s employees keeping them informed of what’s going on from a business point of view, and once a month holds a video conference with everyone around the globe. Besides talking about business topics, they talk about COVID-19 challenges, and he continuously reminds his employees to take care of themselves.

He added that, while Infragistics is doing fine, the pandemic-related global recession has impacted its sales. “We’re fortunate to have a lot of big enterprise customers, but a lot of the small and medium-sized customers of ours are being very reserved about doing new projects and spending money. So, we’re managing through a recession. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we’re 31 years old and we’ve been through downturns previously, so we have experienced this before, but doing it is never fun.”

The company hasn’t had to lay off any employees, he added, in response to our question. “We’re working super hard not to do that. I mean, talent is of the utmost importance. Talent is at a premium. And, then, sales solves all problems. Now, the one thing I’ve learned in 31 years is that whatever your problem is, sales can solve it. And so, we’re really focused on retaining our talent and using our cash when we need to. Luckily, at the end of 2020, we have a good cash position in our balance sheet, and we’re now able to use cash as an asset to keep our whole team together.”

 Tags: BlazorCOVID-19Dean GuidaIgnite UI for AngularIgnite UI for BlazorInfragisticslow-code optionsMicrosoftPrevious:Bob Cortright Talks about DriveWealth’s Evolution and Where $56.7 Million Will Take the Company

About The Author

Esther Surden

Esther Surden

Esther is the Founder and Editor in Chief of NJ Tech Weekly. This article is republished here with her permission.

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