IBM has agreed to buy Campus Drive-based Princeton Softech, a database archiving firm that was founded 18 years ago by Joe Allegra, who is now a venture capitalist. Princeton Softech has about 240 employees, and the deal is expected to close later this year. Terms were not disclosed.
Princeton Software offers enterprise-scale data management solutions to 2,200 global clients. "The company has always had great technology, and IBM is a great home for all that technology," says Allegra. He expects that the firm’s focus – managing big and complex databases – will prove useful for IBM’s customer base. "My assumption is that IBM will keep it as a development lab and take the products through their sales and marketing channels, which will give them wider distribution."
"We do anticipate bringing everyone right on board," says an IBM spokesperson. Sales offices in Australia, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, "could possibly be integrated into the IBM sales system, though those decisions have not been made." In July IBM bought another firm for its information management system, Data Mirror, a real-time data integration firm. "This division has been one of the drivers of our software group’s momentum, and we anticipate Princeton Softech will contribute to that growth."
Softech’s products can work in non-IBM environments, including Oracle and SQL Server, and IBM says the products will help its clients keep up with regulatory and enterprise data governance requirements, such as the stringent Sarbanes-Oxley rules. These products securely segregate historical data from current data and store it cost-effectively. Its test data management software can help clients try out new software and settings without revealing the real data. Another product, Optim, assesses, classifies, and stores historical data derived from different locations.
The most recent investors in Princeton Softech, Apax Partners and LLR Partners, had installed a CEO, Paul Winn, who was an IBM alumnus. "That’s where the IBM connection comes from and he did a pretty good job of moving the company forward as well," says Allegra.
Allegra grew up in Bergen, majored in economics at Rutgers (Class of 1975) and earned an MBA at New York University. He worked at Applied Data Research and left, when it was bought by Computer Associates, to build high quality programming tools for large application systems. In 1989 he and some ADR compatriots founded Princeton Softech, and he also founded a software trade group that was absorbed by the New Jersey Technology Association.
In 1998 Allegra sold Princeton Softech to Computer Horizons for $43 million and took 75 staff members on a three-night trip to the Bahamas. After Allegra left in 2000, he joined Edison Venture Fund.
In 2002 Apax and LLR, both private equity firms, bought back Princeton Softech from Computer Horizons Corp. with a $21 million acquisition and financing deal (U.S. 1, April 3, 2002). The new owners put Winn in the CEO slot. A mechanical engineer from Utah State, Class of 1969, Winn had successfully moved a software company, PowerQuest, from retail markets to enterprise solutions markets, and it was bought out by Symantec Corporation. Before that he had been vice president and general manager of an IBM unit.
At Edison Venture Fund, which invests in companies with annual revenues of $5 to $20 million, Allegra sits on the board of Fairfield-based Archive Systems, and Princeton-based Voxware, a 25-person public firm founded in 1993.
Says Allegra: "Lots of people I know will be happy in the new environment."
Princeton Softech, 111 Campus Drive, University Square at Princeton, Princeton 08540-1423; 609-627-5500; fax, 609-627-7799. Paul Winn, CEO. www.princetonsoftech.com.
Carnegie West: 50 Percent Leased
Hilton Management scored a coup with its lease of 28,643 square feet in Carnegie Center West, the entire fifth floor, to the law firm Dechert LLP. Now more than 50 percent of the building, built "on spec," has been leased.
Dechert, with practices in business, litigation, tax, and government, will expand from 23,000 square feet at 997 Lenox Drive. It has 17 offices and more than 1,000 attorneys, with 62 people in the Princeton office, including 29 attorneys.
Carnegie Center West, adjacent to Princeton Market Fair, is a five-story building with parking, a fitness room, and a cafe. Other early signups for this building are Wilmington Trust, Stifel Nicolaus, Yianolis Labs, and Ironbound Capital Management. Still to be leased is 64,000 square feet.
The 10-year lease deal was brokered by Jon Brush, Mark Hill, and Matt Malatich, on behalf of the landlord, Hilton Management, and inhouse representation from Dechert.
Hilton Management LLC, 194 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542; 609-921-6060; fax, 609-921-0939. George H. Sands/Jeffrey H. Sands, managing member. Home page: www.hiltonrealtyco.com.
Dechert LLP, 997 Lenox Drive, Building Three, Suite 210, Box 5218, Princeton 08543-5218; 609-620-3200; fax, 609-620-3259. James J. Marino, managing partner. www.dechert.com.
Sarnoff Spinout For Power Survey
Three years ago a fatal accident, caused by stray voltage that electrocuted a Columbia University student who fell onto a service box cover, was attributed to New York City’s decrepit electrical infrastructure. Reacting to this tragedy, researchers at Sarnoff developed a mobile scanning system to detect electricity leaks – the first drive-by electrocution hazard sensing technology for fast and cost-effective scanning of street-level objects. From this technology, a firm named Power Survey Corporation emerged.
Power Survey spun out as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sarnoff last September. In April Sarnoff sold the firm to Greg Olsen (the founder of Sensors/Goodrich at Princeton Service Center and the private citizen-astronaut). Additional investment came from the NJTC Venture Fund.
Three Sarnoff employees, who formerly reported to Vince Andreas in the commercial systems division, stayed with the firm. They include Tom Catanese, age 29, a former Wall Street trader and the son of the now-retired Sarnoff executive Carmen Catanese. Also involved are Dave Kalokitis (Trenton State, Class of 1983, with a master’s degree from Monmouth College) and Mark Schoenberger (age 28, a Rider University alumnus).
"We thought the product would work better if we could operate it for the client," says Catanese. "We began operating as a service business in 2006."
"I can’t think of a better example of Sarnoff’s business model," says Andreas, "how the technology we develop turns into a product." Out of Sarnoff’s core business, innovation for contract R&D, ideas for products and services sometimes emerge. "We took it to the level of a service business, and we saw the potential for a national rollout."
A core team of 12 worked on the technology, and another 15 or 20 people helped with it, plus there was a business development team – to package it, market it, set it up, and spin it out. Andreas cannot talk about the deal except to say that, according to Sarnoff’s policy, all those who worked on the technology get some share in the profits of equity and licensing deals. "That’s part of why people stay."
Other firms that have spun from the Sarnoff umbrella include Orchid, Locus, Princeton Lightwave, and Songbird. But Sarnoff found that, in some cases, it had relinquished its influence too soon. If a company did not perform as expected and needed a lot of venture capital funds, Sarnoff’s sweat equity and technology equity were heavily diluted. So Sarnoff’s current policy is to avoid taking early venture capital funding and develop the ideas through the beta stage. For instance, Sarnoff held onto its video flashlight business until it reached beta testing, and then it was bought by the L-3 company.
Kalokitas says that the SVD2000 technology detects leaks, not just from equipment owned by the power company, but also from street-level objects such as sewer covers, fences, and grates. The Power Survey truck moves along at 15 miles an hour. It is able to detect electrical charges as low as 1 volt from a distance of 25 feet and it can filter out the voltage from overhead wires.
The company operates from Kearny, which is near the Holland Tunnel. Five trucks loaded with Power Survey technology roam the city at night looking for electricity leaks. When they find one, the two-person team marks off the area with cones and tape and notifies the client (either Con Edison or the transit system) plus a limo service. A limo driver arrives on the scene and waits there, guarding the site, until a repair truck arrives.
"We have found close to 6,000 leaks since October," says Catanese. In each leak lurks potential danger, but the crews can’t stay until it is fixes, so that’s where the limo drivers come in. Power Survey has trained 1,000 of Executive Transportation Group’s 2,000 drivers to act as watch dogs until the repair is made. From 30 to 200 drivers might be needed in one night.
Discovering the problem might not solve the problem. "In one case," says Catanese, "we found scaffolding electrified with more than 100 volts. The power was shut off. But after Con Edison left, the promised repairs were not made. The power was turned back on, and a few weeks later a dog was electrified."
It’s working in Manhattan, and the next step is to peddle the system to other cities. Says Catanese: "We are currently in talks with a dozen utilities."
Power Survey Corporation, 777 South Hackensack Avenue, Kearny 07032; 973-344-7116; fax, 973-344-8577. Dave Kalokitas. www.powersurvey.com.
Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Drive, Monroe Township 08831; 732-521-0070; fax, 732-521-0687. www.forsgatecc.com.
Det Williams has been promoted to general manager at Forsgate Country Club, a private country club owned by RDC Golf Group; it has two 18-hole golf courses and a conference center. He came to the club in 2005 as food and beverage director, and as acting general manager, he supervised the recent opening of the club’s multi-million dollar sports complex.
Williams’ hospitality career began as food and beverage director at Marriott’s Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite. More recently he had been general manager of the Ashbourne Country Club in Philadelphia, a property managed by Matrix Golf and Hospitality.
QLC Service Center@OM, 1980 Old Cuthbert Road, Cherry Hill 08034; 800-721-1883; fax, 856-834-5235. Gary Wilson. Home page: www.qlctech.com.
QLC Service Center, which does computer repair, moved in January from 415 Wall Street in Princeton to Cherry Hill, where its owner, Ribbons Express, is based. It also does sales, service, and repair of printers, faxes, and copiers.
Speedway Distributors Inc., 1503 M Street, Belleville KS 66935; 609-252-0065; fax, 609-252-9444. Timothy Boyle, president. Home page: www.speedwaydistributors.com.
Speedway Distributors, which offers official licensed products for auto dealerships, closed its office at 252 Wall Street. Its products are available from the Kansas office.
Tao Design, 1503 Glen Avenue, Suite 100, Morristown 08057; 856-778-2500; fax, 856-778-2555. Erik Timber, president. Home page: www.taodesign.com.
Tao Design moved its seven-person office from 714 South Clinton Avenue in Trenton to Morristown, and simultaneously its office in Owings Mills, Maryland, also moved to Morristown.
Among its corporate and commercial projects are work for National Business Parks, the design of retirement communities, and a silver LEED certified conference center in Philadelphia.
Ho-San Chang, the vice president of the Trenton office, says the Morristown office now has two dozen people. Chang graduated from Princeton University in 1994 and has a master’s degree from Harvard. The firm does architecture, planning, interiors, computer technologies, graphics.
Sphinx Software, 2 Red Oak Drive, Plainsboro 08536; 609-799-1313. Tariq Malik, CEO. Home page: www.sphinxsoftware.com.
After two years in 1,400 feet in Plainsboro, this developer of multimedia solutions and software applications, has left town. The phone number is not in service and the press releases on the website date back to 2003.
Foodworks International Inc., 650 Sentry Parkway, Suite 1, Blue Bell PA 19422; 609-688-8500; fax, 732-783-0404. Alain Francois, director.
Foodworks International, which imports and markets specialty French cheeses, has moved from 475 Wall Street in Princeton to Blue Bell.
Medcenter Solutions, 116 West 23rd Street, 5th floor, New York 10011. Paul J. Kelly, president and CEO. Home page: www.medcentersolutions.com.
Medcenter Solutions, a global pharmaceutical marketing firm founded in 1995, has closed its office at 212 Carnegie Center. According to a company director, David Whelan, the office was opened prematurely as part of an expansion into the United States. The New York office, where he works, was opened in 2006. The company’s current strategy, says Whelan, is "focusing on existing opportunities and growth in Latin America."
Paul J. Kelly, former CEO of Orchid Cellmark, was listed as CEO of Medcenter Solutions.
Cesar Paredes Studio Zarpa, 601 NE 36th Street, Apartment 2101, Miami 33137-3959; 609-799-1404. Home page: www.zarpa.com.
Photographer Cesar Paredes moved from Clarksville Road and reestablished his office in Florida.
Acadia Marketing and Design, 211 South Shore Drive, Owls Head ME 04854; 609-462-8827. Dale Shierholt, partner. Home page: www.acadiamarketing.com.
Although Acadia Marketing and Design has moved its office to Maine, Dale Shierholt comes to Princeton monthly for meetings. He says he is now doing more documentaries and informational shorts, and has just completed a project for the Princeton-Blairstown Center, which focuses on youth in urban communities.
Acadia does planning, advertising, collateral, direct marketing, graphics, public relations and interactive marketing.
Appleseed, 888-387-2775. Krisztina Samu. Home page: www.appleseedinc.net.
Appleseed Inc. has moved out of its space on White Pine Circle, in Lawrenceville, and its final location has not yet been determined. Appleseed does graphic design, foreign language typesetting, and web development. Krisztina Samu can be reached at E-mail: email@example.com
Greenfield Online Inc., 21 River Road, Wilton CT 06897; 203-834-8585; fax, 203-834-8686. www.greenfield.com.
Greenfield Online, an online survey firm headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut, has closed its Princeton office.
Interact Mediaworks, 115 Highland Avenue, Unit 5, Jersey City 07306; 201-209-1569. Home page: www.interactmedical.com.
Interact Medical, which used the name Interact Mediaworks in Princeton, has moved to Jersey City. It does high-end animation of procedures and techniques for pharmaceutical and medical device firms. It is headquartered in South Bend, Indiana.
New Directions Public Relations, 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 200, Princeton 08540-5799.www.new-directions.com.
New Directions Public Relations has left shared office space. The website is no longer live and directory assistance has no listing. Its clients were in high-technology industries.
Nubian News, 324 South Broad Street, Trenton 08608; 609-858-2785. Home page: www.Nubiannews.com.
Nubian News, an African American monthly newspaper, has left town. Although the website remains active, it no longer occupies offices on South Broad Street and directory assistance has no listing. The phone number connects to a fax machine.
Sans Serif Studio, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell 08525; 609-466-5388. Home page: www.sansserifstudio.com.
Sans Serif Studio, a graphic arts firm, has closed its office in Hopewell. It has not responded to telephone and E-mail queries.