» READ MORE: Citigroup
spent a reputed $220 million plus, or nearly 8 times revenues, to buy prepaid payment-card purveyor
, Conshohocken, last year. It paid an even higher multiple, investor sources say, to buy electronic payment system
» READ MORE: PayQuik
, Bala Cynwyd, last month.
Those attractive prices don’t mean Philadelphia software is better than Silicon Valley’s, or Hyderabad’s, says Paul Galant, the Citi executive who pulled the trigger on both deals. It does means Philadelphia’s modest-sized club of IT entrepreneurs may be a little hungrier than the industry standard.
"We very rarely buy companies just because of the technology. There’s a lot of technologies out there, and we have a lot of programmers at GTS. We can turn anyone’s platform into the latest and greatest,” Galant said last week.
"We buy companies because there is a level of culture and subject-matter expertise that accelerates our ability to bring good solutions to clients." He puts eCount founder Matt Gillen and his team, and PayQuk founder Bhairav Trivedi, on that short list.
“We’re not predisposed to Pennsylvania,” Galant concluded. “We don’t really care where these companies are. But maybe there’s a certain element of culture, a sense of urgency that may be culturally based, in your area.”