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Dell’s Boomi adds ‘dark data’ crawler; FS Investments adds stock funds

Dell Boomi buys Unifi, FS Investments adds Chiron

Chris McNabb, CEO, Dell Boomi, at Boomi World business conference, Washington, D.C., October 2019
Chris McNabb, CEO, Dell Boomi, at Boomi World business conference, Washington, D.C., October 2019Read moreDell Boomi (custom credit)

Boomi, the Chesterbrook-based cloud data management company that keeps growing since Dell Technologies bought it in 2011, says it has agreed to buy San Mateo, Calif.-based Unifi Software, whichreviews companies’ old databases and extracts and organizes useful information. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Boomi, which employed 30 when Dell founder Michael Dell flew in to visit its old Berwyn office to close the deal, now employs 1,300 worldwide. That number includes 450 at its expanded headquarters, plus 25 at a new Center City office to handle Drexel, Temple, Penn, and other recent-graduate engineers and salespeople, said CEO Chris McNabb in an interview.

The deal will boost the company’s Pennsylvania profile: “The bigger and stronger Boomi becomes, the more work for Chesterbrook and Philadelphia,” he said.

Why buy, instead of build? "More than half the data in businesses is what we call ‘dark data’ — people aren’t sure what it is,” said McNabb. “This technology crawls their network and discovers that data and begins to aggregate it and give insights about it,” so it can be joined to recent information and used to boost sales.

Boomi calls itself “one of the world’s largest cloud-based integrators,” with 10,000 corporate customers including the drugmaker Novartis and Comcast’s Sky Television in 67 countries.

The company doesn’t just hire young people, McNabb said. “We’ve had a number of people join us from IBM and from SunGard. They make a huge contribution. Their experience in what it takes to build high-quality software makes them very successful.”

“Together we’ll be a formidable combination,” said Ayush Parashar, Unifi cofounder and vice president of engineering, in a statement. The company runs a development center in Bangalore, India.

Separately, FS Investments, the private-investments fund firm based at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, says it has added Chiron Investment Management, a $1.8 billion-asset “long-only” stock fund group, as a step toward diversifying the firm, said FS senior managing director Mike Gerber.

Chiron, run by former Waddell & Reed and Ivy Asset Strategy portfolio manager Ryan Caldwell and Goldman Sachs ex-partner Enrico Gaglioti uses quantitative analytics and fundamental research strategies, and has offices in New York and Kansas City.

FS, which employs 350 -- including 285 in Philadelphia -- manages funds with $24 billion in client assets, most of them credit investments co-managed with the private investments giant KKR. FS chairman and chief executive Michael Forman in a statement called it “a unique opportunity to diversify our investment management business.”

The combination comes as active asset managers like Chiron face tough competition from low-fee and index fund investments.

“Going forward, best-in-class asset managers will need to provide solutions that combine differentiated traditional asset management and alternatives,” Caldwell said in a statement. The deal is scheduled to close by spring pending Chiron shareholder approval.