For years Rob Rebak and Chris Kuenne have been talking about the idea of merging their two Princeton-based companies. Rebak is president of SimStar, which develops E-business solutions, including relationship marketing, for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Kuenne’s firm, Rosetta Marketing Strategies Group, offers segment-based marketing strategies.
Kuenne took the big step: he is buying SimStar. As announced on June 29, the deal will create the largest privately-held relationship marketing company. Their joint pharma clients include Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, but Rosetta also has such clients as Gillette, Microsoft, AOL, Chase, AmericanGreetings.com, Merrill Lynch, and Cingular.
SimStar will operate as a division of Rosetta Marketing Group. The terms were not disclosed, but Rebak says the combined revenues will be nearly $30 million.
Clients were looking for an end-to-end solution, says Rebak. "The two of us saw where the businesses were potentially going," he says. "We were looking for more stuff to enable what we build, and they were looking for the ability to implement their work."
Rosetta’s patented Personality Marketing System helps clients discover the factors involved in brand choice, and using these "deep" customer insights it provides total marketing solutions. Though it uses phone and direct mail channels, the Internet is often its first choice (U.S. 1, February 25, 1999). It serves these vertical markets: financial services, healthcare, digital communication, technology, entertainment, consumer package goods, travel and leisure, and E-commerce. Six years ago the firm had eight full-time employees, and it now has 45 employees.
SimStar, founded in 1993, went from CD-ROMs to the Internet to interactive relationship marketing. In 2001 SimStar had more than 100 employees (U.S. 1, May 23, 2001). It has represented more than 50 different brands and nine of the top ten leading pharmaceutical companies and has won several national fast growth awards. Operating as a division of Rosetta Marketing Group with Rebak the division president, it has 60 employees in 15,000 square feet.
"This union effectively creates the next generation marketing services firm that we believe will be a significant force in reshaping the competitive landscape," says Kuenne. "We will provide clients with breakthrough results that are differentiable, measurable, and for which we are willing to be held accountable."
SimStar has just moved from the Carnegie Center to the American Metro Center and Rosetta hopes to sublease its current Carnegie space and join SimStar soon. SimStar will close its New York City location and consolidate to Rosetta’s Manhattan office, just a block from Penn Station.
"This combination is going to fill a big need in the market place – one firm that can not only generate the insights, but can really execute in the marketplace," says Don Casey, Johnson & Johnson group company chairman, in a prepared statement. "It is great to see two agencies of this caliber and proven track record get together. It shows real forward thinking."
The Rosetta Group’s strategy refers to the principle of using two known languages to decipher a third language, Egyptian hieroglyphics.
"We study three dimensions – needs, attitudes, and behaviors – and with these three views we get an idea of how the market works. Most segmentation structures are based on only one of the dimensions," says Kuenne.
Kuenne (rhymes with beanie) is the son of a noted economics professor at Princeton who devised an oligopoly theory to study competition in a structured market. He majored in history at Princeton, Class of 1985, and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He spent 10 years in marketing management at Johnson & Johnson, and was a partner at First Manhattan Consulting Group, leading the firm’s retail marketing practice. He and his wife, a genetic counselor, have had three children. When he opened his firm, one of its major investors was Nelson Communications, but Kuenne had bought himself out.
As part of the acquisition, the equity position of David Reim, the CEO of SimStar, has been bought out. Reim will stay with the company for a time in a transition role. Also bought out: Catterton Partners, a private equity investing firm that had a position in SimStar. Reim majored in computer science at the University of California at San Diego, Class of 1985, worked for Apple Computer, earned a Wharton MBA, and worked for Sun Microsystems before he went off on his own in 1993.
Rebak started with SimStar in 1999. Rebak’s father, an All-American swimmer and pharmaceutical executive, had started two Inc. 500 businesses. Rebak graduated from Vanderbilt in 1989, worked for Pfizer, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, and then worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb and later Schering-Plough, where he was SimStar’s client. Rebak, a Hopewell resident, is married and has three preschool children.
Rosetta Marketing Strategies Group, 502 Carnegie Center, Suite 100, Princeton 08540-6235. Christopher B. Kuenne, president. 609-750-0347; fax, 609-580-4044. Home page: rmsg.com
SimStar Inc., 240 Princeton Avenue, American Metro Center, Suite 174, Hamilton 08619. 609-689-6100; fax, 609-631-0184. Home page: www.simstar.com
Makeovers Set for 2 Campuses
If older homes have "character" that reflects their previous owners, so do office buildings. Two aging corporate campuses, each prestigious in their day and each looking forward to snazzy updates, were showcased at broker open houses last week. The comparisons don’t end there. Both the Rhodia campus on Prospect Plains Road by the turnpike and the former Western Electric campus on Carter Road are owned by companies from Philadelphia.
The 190-acre Carter Road campus has 220,000 square feet available and the capacity for an additional 500,000 feet. Dubbed the "Technology Center of Princeton," it is scheduled to have its face lift completed by the end of the summer. The owner is BPG Management, which also owns nine other properties in greater Princeton, including 301 Carnegie Center, three buildings in the Forrestal Center, two in Trenton, and one at Exit 8A.
In contrast, the 83-acre Prospect Plains campus has almost 327,000 square feet, with a capacity for a total of 600,000 feet. Except for one building, occupied by Rhodia spin-out Innophos, it will empty out by the end of the year. Billed as the "Mid-Atlantic Corporate Center," it is owned by Conshohocken-based Preferred Properties, a 13-year-old firm that also owns American Metro Center near the Hamilton train station, among other properties.
Both properties have lots of karma. Carter Road was designed in 1961 by Skidmore Owens & Merrill as an R&D facility for Western Electric, which later became AT&T and then Lucent, so for all those years it was known around the world as a center for electronics ingenuity. BPG bought it four years ago, and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals now leases an adjacent building.
The jewel of the three-part building is a slender, three-story 87,000-foot wing that looks out on the pond. It has huge windows, of course, for a beautiful view. Attached to it is a 57,000 square-foot rectangle and 22,000 feet in a single story structure with a bunker underneath that was supposedly equipped for the AT&T executives to stay, in a nuclear emergency, for more than a month.
"The glass and granite exterior was designed to be a classically modern version of the original," says Philadelphia-based architect Al Wulff. "Rather than having a steel frame, it is made of reinforced concrete, so it has unusually heavy floor-loading capabilities for filing or equipment. This building has a lot of history. It literally takes us from the stone age to the space age."
Jerry Fennelly of NAI Fennelly, who is marketing the property, has not ruled out finding a single use tenant, but he has organized smaller spaces of about 9,000 square feet, listing the price of $24.50 per square foot (plus utilities and janitorial service), which works out to just over $18,000 per month. Also still available is "The Mansion," the 27,000-foot former farmhouse that Main Street Bistro’s John Marshall was trying to buy to convert into a catering hall.
The Berlind Companies, a family-owned conglomerate, started in 1874 as a western Pennsylvania coal mining firm. Among its current holdings are Elmer’s Products (Elmer’s Glue), National Pen (promotional products), CRC (chemical specialties for machine maintenance and repair), Colorcon (specialty chemicals for pharmaceuticals), and Inflection Point ventures (for early stage telecommunications, IT, and electronic commerce investments).
But the family first began to diversify by starting an investment club with other families in Philadelphia. As the profile grew, institutional investors wanted to be involved.
Daniel M. Dilella is the CEO of BPG Properties Ltd., which bills itself as "a privately held value-added real estate investment management firm." Like a publicly held real estate investment trust (REIT) it has investors, 53 of them, but most are institutional. Its portfolio has more than 20 million square feet of commercial space and 20,000 apartment units throughout the country. Since 1991 it has raised more than $1.5 billion in discretionary equity.
This campus seems isolated, no matter how the marketing materials position it as being convenient to everything (five minutes to downtown Princeton, 10 minutes from Route 1 and I-95). Nevertheless, that set-apartness is part of its charm.
The former Rhodia facility has the same sense of quiet and isolation, once you have entered the campus, but it is actually cheek-by-jowl with its big-box neighbors and, of course, it fronts the New Jersey Turnpike. It, too, has a pond, complete with a tiny island. (A heron sought refuge there before two Olympic oarswomen showed up to add even more bucolic flavor to the open house event). And a family of albino deer is also in residence within the fenced in campus.
Based in France, and formerly known as Rhone Poulenc, this was the research center and North American headquarters for a company that worked with specialty materials & services, fine chemicals, and agricultural chemicals. But it has downsized and no longer needs all this space; it plans to vacate the campus by the end of this year.
"Our primary goal is to market it as a corporate headquarters, with 83 beautifully landscaped acres, a secure perimeter, great visibility, and a central location," says Matt Malatich of Preferred Real Estate Investments. "And although this is considered an industrial market, it is in a prime location."
Another company could move into some of the existing buildings now and expand to build-to-suit space or a combination of new and "used" space.
The question is, says Malatich, "can we secure a large user, who needs 250,000 square feet but could grow to 800,000 square feet? Or should we sell or lease the buildings on the perimeter of the site and be left with a build to suit of 300,000 or 400,000 square feet? We are concentrating on the big sell."
"But even if we end up leasing the buildings on the perimeter of the site," he says, "we still have 45 acres to offer the build-to-suit user with options on the other buildings for future expansion as the other leases expire."
Preferred Real Estate Investments has a specialty of turning sows’ ears into silk purses. Along the Schuylkill River it turned dingy factories in Conshohocken into a successful office market. In Jersey City it converted a vacant powerplant into a sleek complex of offices and apartments that sits on the river, facing downtown Manhattan. It rehabbed a 1 million square-foot power plant in Chester, Pennsylvania into a 400,000-foot office building occupied by 2,000 workers. Most recently, it rebuilt the 90-year-old American Standard toilet manufacturing plant into Class A office space near the train station.
Older campuses such as the Technology Center of Princeton and the Mid-Atlantic Corporate Center must compete with the brand new ones, such as the Princeton Corporate Campus, where the Patrinely Group is building the first of four buildings that could total 800,000 square feet. But their price point is significantly lower.
New at Rhodia
James Harton, above, has succeeded Richard V. Kennedy as president of Rhodia’s North American activities when Kennedy retired on June 30 after 39 years with the specialty chemicals firm.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, where his father worked for Federal Paper Board, a cardboard manufacturer, Harton majored in biology at Wake Forest University (Class of 1974) and lives with his family in Hopewell. He worked in the crop chemicals business at Mobil Corporation until that was acquired by Rhone-Poulenc, Rhodia’s predecessor. After a four-year stint in Lyon, France, he was vice president and general manager at Rhodia’s home, personal care and industrial ingredients enterprise. He remains the head of another of Rhodia’s eight enterprises, Eco Services, which has seven plants focused on sulfur-related products.
Formerly known as Rhone-Poulenc and based in France, Rhodia is a recognized for its applications chemistry, specialty materials & services, and fine chemicals. The North American region is currently headquartered on Prospect Plains Road and has less than 600 employees there. Worldwide it has about 1,900 people at 20 locations.
Though the firm plans to move from its Prospect Plains campus by the end of the year, its destination has not been announced. Preferred Real Estate Investments now owns the campus.
From CEO to Angel
Small companies sometimes don’t get much respect. But if you had alittle company and were quite successful with it, you might look atthe next small firm with different eyes.
So it was with Ken Kay, who founded a software company in 1989 and realized $10 million from its sale to Microsoft four years later. Now Kay, who monitors his investments from a home office in West Windsor, is chairman of Jumpstart New Jersey, a statewide member-led angel investor group that invests in start-up and seed stage technology companies. Kay has latched onto a small firm that looks like it will get to the light of profit at the end of its long tunnel of scarce funding.
The Haddon Township-based company, GlobalSubmit, was founded by Jason Rock (Rutgers, Class of 1995) and Rahul Mistry (Princeton, Class of 1996) to produce electronic and print submissions software (www.globalsubmit.org). In April the firm landed its pot-of-gold contract with the Food and Drug Administration to provide the software for virtually all of the FDA’s electronic submissions.
How it happened: In 1997 Congress mandated that the FDA must move away from paper submissions (which amounted to one truckload of paper for each drug) to electronic submissions. The FDA commissioned custom software from one of the biggest global consulting companies, Booz Allen, but the software was rejected. "It didn’t work the way they needed," says Kay, "so they asked commercial companies to present anything remotely resembling their needs." The FDA narrowed its choice to three finalists last year and in April the 12-person company Kay had invested in got the nod.
"Our product, FDA Review, was the only one that met the FDA’s speed requirement," says Kay. "Using proprietary algorithms, it can open enormous files in seconds versus 40 minutes to one hour." That’s because each submission goes through a three-minute pre-processing procedure to present it the way reviewers want to see it.
The son of a diplomat, Kay started school in Seoul, Korea, and went to high school in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has a brother who is an FBI agent, a sister who works for Bread for the World, and another sister who is an actuary in Chicago. Kay majored in finance at the University of Chicago, Class of 1978, and earned his MBA there as well. He founded Helmsman in 1989 to provide sales and need budgeting, forecasting, and planning software for $50 million to $1 billion in sales (U.S. 1, June 16, 1999). He changed the name to reflect the name of his product, FrX, and sold the company to Great Plains. It was resold to Microsoft, which repositioned his product, called FrX Forecaster.
At GlobalSubmit last year, Kay put $500,000 into the company and was the prime investor. "I was the only one at Jumpstart that found this interesting," he says. "At the time it had no track record, no clients, and weak prospects."
"A lot of these small companies don’t look good from a investor’s point of view," he says. "The other angels said the market was risk averse, that the pharmaceutical firms would not buy from a little company. They did not see that Global Submit could possibly get the FDA as a client."
Kay’s new investment was different from the company he founded, which depended on paying customers for support. "I custom-built software for a fee, and it later became my product; I didn’t have any investors." In contrast, when GlobalSubmit made the decision to develop a product, it had no revenues for a long time. The company began to see the light at the end of the tunnel six months ago when it realized its competition could not handle the FDA requirements.
In April the FDA announced that GlobalSubmit’s FDAreview would replace its Electronic Common Technical Document viewing system, and sales orders began pouring in. "The volume of electronic submissions is expected to grow dramatically as companies learn that electronic submissions using the eCTD specification offer significant benefits for both the FDA and industry," says a company press release.
Kay admits he had a "quirky" perspective that gave him special insight. "I was looking to leverage my capital, and they were addressing a market that was very narrow, a niche market that most people wouldn’t be interested in, but a wealthy market. A small company with a unique technology can sell to that market without spending a lot of money."
At 8A: Another Parts Warehouse
Yet another car part distributor is moving to the Exit 8A neighborhood to join Ford, Mercedes Benz, and Volkswagen. World Wide Parts and Accessories (WorldPac) will nearly double its current space in Edison when it moves its East Coast Distribution Center to 232,000 square feet at 300 Herrod Boulevard in South Brunswick. The move is expected to take place in September.
The flow-through building, with 32 loading doors, will be completed in July, and WorldPac expects to move in September.
WorldPac’s current landlord, Adler Development, is also developing the new building. Jules Nissim and Stan Danzig of Cushman & Wakefield represented WorldPac in the lease arrangement.
Headquartered in Newark, California, the company imports and distributes automotive replacement parts for the import repair specialty market. It carries parts for more than 25 imported and domestic cars and trucks and has more than 80,000 specific parts and over one million catalog items. Among the brands it carries are those with their own distribution centers just a couple of miles away – Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen. It also has brands ranging from Acura and Audi to Suzuki and Volvo.
When Adler started construction on 300 Herrod Boulevard, it was on speculation; it did not have a tenant. "We are very pleased to remain a tenant of Adler Development," says Patrick Healy, vice president of distribution east. "The firm’s support of our growth has been a key to our success and has enabled us to make a long-term commitment to doing business in the State of New Jersey. We are happy, in turn, to assist Adler with the success of 300 Herrod Boulevard."
Based in Edison, Adler Development is a family-owned, full-service real estate firm that was founded in 1961 by Bernie Adler as B&A Construction. Since then, three sons have joined the organization, which has a 1 million-square-foot office and warehouse portfolio concentrated in the central New Jersey market. It also owns 800 multifamily units and handles construction and property management for all of its buildings.
Worldpac’s neighbors on Herrod Boulevard include two apparel makers, Liz Claiborne and Lollytogs, Makita (power tools), and another auto part distribution firm, GMB North America.
World Wide Parts & Accessories, 300 Herrod Boulevard, Dayton 08810. Patrick Healy, vice president. 732-225-0079.
Patrick Deschenes, 47-year-old former CEO of Community Blood Council of New Jersey, pleaded guilty on June 29 for theft and money laundering. He said he took a 15 percent monthly kickback from a supplier for five years, from 1999 to 2004, for a total of $600,000. Except for $250,000, to be repaid when a piece of property is sold, Deschenes has no way to repay the money. Superior Court Judge Charles A. Delehey could sentence Deschenes to up to 10 years in prison.
Deschenes also said that his predecessor, now deceased, had started the scheme. He remains free on $150,000 bail pending sentencing, scheduled for September.
James Gosnay, the new CEO, says the blood bank has lost donors because of the adverse publicity, but that its employees are trying to move forward.
Environmental Dynamics Group, 5 Crescent Avenue, Building A, Princeton Business Park, Rocky Hill 08553. Mailing address, Box 1258, Princeton 08542. Duke Wiser, president. 609-924-4489; fax, 609-924-8524. Home page: www.dynamicaircleaners.com
A provider of air cleaning, heating, and cooling services has expanded its nine-person office from Route 571 to Princeton Business Park in Rocky Hill. The phone and fax numbers have changed. Its product, an electronic air cleaner named Dynamic Air Cleaner, is manufactured in Canada.
Teijin America Inc., 202 Carnegie Center, Suite 105, Princeton 08540. Yohichi Matsumoto, managing director. 609-716-7636; fax, 609-716-9482. Home page: www.teijinpo.com
Teijin America expanded by 20 percent when it moved last month, after five years at 600 Alexander Park, to the Carnegie Center. It is the pharmaceutical division of a conglomerate based in Osaka and Tokyo.
Founded in 1918, Teijin pioneered in textiles – rayon, nylon, and polyesters – for its first 50 years. "It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers for polycarbonate, and if you have touched a DVD, you have touched our product," says spokesperson Sheldon Brookman. Among the seven employees, he is the only person who is not Japanese, but he says the company may hire an additional person from the United States.
Teijin went into the healthcare business with partnerships in 1971 and set up its own pharmaceutical division in 1978. In addition to producing home health-care equipment, it has researchers working in three therapeutic areas: respiratory ailments, bone calcium metabolism disorders, and cardiovascular disorders. It markets a drug similar to Fosamax for osteoporosis in Japan.
Last year Yohichi Matsumoto moved from Japan to be managing director. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Tokyo, Class of 1980, and has his PhD from there as well. With a golf handicap of 18, Matsumoto also enjoys exploring New Jersey’s golf courses.
This office does clinical research for Teijin Pharma Ltd. and handles all the clinical research that takes place outside of Japan. Currently it has activities in the United States and Latin America.
New in Town
Huntleigh Healthcare Inc., 9C Princess Road, Lawrenceville 08648. 800-223-1218. Home page: www.huntleigh-healthcare.com
A business based at 40 Christopher Way in Eatontown has opened a warehouse on Princess Road to store equipment. It supplies non-invasive healthcare products and instrumentation to nursing homes and hospitals.
Princeton Power Systems Inc., 501 Forrestal Road, Forrestal Campus, Suite 211, Princeton 08540. Darren Hammell, CEO. 609-258-5994; fax, 609-258-7329. Home page: www.princetonpower.com
Princeton Power Systems has installed a 75 horsepower AC-link Clean Power Variable Speed Drive (VSD) in the chilled water plant at Princeton University. The plant provides chilled water to cool 87 campus buildings. Though it is the first commercial installation of Princeton Power’s VSD, the AC-link technology has been used successfully in military installations.
The company develops patented electric power conversion technology for variable speed motor control, power quality, renewable and distributed generation applications.
"Princeton Power’s AC-link Clean Power VSD is extremely reliable and efficient," says Lee Stryker, an electrical technician in the Department of Engineering and Construction at Princeton University. "We’re so pleased with the performance of both Princeton Power Systems and its technology that we have contracted for another installation later this year."
Darren Hammell, CEO of Princeton Power Systems, says that the AC-link Clean Power VSD at Princeton’s chilled water plant has been operating almost continually, since April, with no problems. "The implementation has exceeded all expectations." Princeton Power’s core products include motor controllers, wind turbine converters, and grid-tied inverters.
Universal Display Corporation Inc. (PANL), 375 Phillips Boulevard, Ewing 08618. Steven Abramson, president. 609-671-0980; fax, 609-671-0995. Www.universaldisplay.com
UDC researchers are one step closer to their "holy grail," a long-lived blue phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode (OLED). It announced a breakthrough in a sky blue PHOLED with more than 15,000 hours of operating lifetime. This "is the first blue PHOLED which has broken through, by an order of magnitude, the 1,000 hour lifetime barrier – a challenge that some people thought might be insurmountable," says spokesperson Renee Rozniatoski.
The sky blue system is not yet saturated enough for commercial full-color applications, she cautions, but earlier this year the company had announced it had one with a deep blue color. Now it is trying to combine the traits of the two systems – the color, efficiency, and lifetime – into one system.
Discovered in the late 1990s by Universal Display’s research partners at Princeton University, led by Stephen R. Forrest, and the University of Southern California, led by Mark E. Thompson, Universal Display’s proprietary PHOLED technology offers up to four times higher efficiency than conventional OLED technology – important for today’s battery-operated cell phones and other portable devices.
Assist America Services Inc., 202 Carnegie Center, Suite 302-B, Princeton 08540. Mai-Ping, director of operations. 609-452-0533; fax, 609-452-2042. Home page: www.assistamerica.com
Assist America finished its consolidation by moving its operations center at Lawrenceville Commons (at the Mercer Mall) to join the administrative headquarters, which moved from Palmer Square, at the Carnegie Center.
Consumer Health Sciences LLC, 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 78, Princeton 08540. 609-924-4455; fax, 609-924-7794. Home page: www.chsinternational.com
Princeton-based Consumer Health Sciences, recently purchased by Grey Healthcare and now a division of Ziment Group, has moved its research staff to smaller office space and assigned the sales force to work-from-home status. CHS’ CEO and founder, Jane Donahue, has resigned effective August 31 and will be replaced temporarily by Howard Ziment as acting CEO.
The market research and consulting firm is focused on consumerhealthcare – custom and customized syndicated marketing and market research studies for more than 50 therapeutic categories.
GS1 US Inc., 1009 Lenox Drive, Suite 202, Lawrenceville 08648. Miguel Lopera, CEO. 609-620-0200; fax, 609-620-1200. Home page: www.gs1us.org.
The Uniform Code Council has changed its name to GS1 US Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the adoption and implementation of standards-based, global supply chain solutions.
Founded 30 years ago by leading retailers in the grocery industry, GS1 US pioneered the development of the Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) the standardized barcode that enables any product, pallet, or case to be scanned and read around the world. Today, GS1 US represents more than 260,000 companies across 25 different industries in the United States.
"While our name has changed," Michael E. Di Yeso, president and chief operating officer said in a prepared statement, "our commitment to the industry remains. By changing our name, we are merely underscoring the value that unified global standards play in making business more efficient and effective around the world." The website is also new.
Management Recruiters International of West Windsor, Princeton Junction 08550. Robert Walling, owner. 479-253-5623.
Robert Walling reports that, after eight years, he has closed the West Windsor office of Management Recruiters International. It had been located at Windsor Business Park, and it focused on executive recruitment for retail, warehousing logistics, and technical fields.
Christopher G. Janda, 47, on June 27. He was a desktop architect engineer at Dow Jones.