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'The human effect': LiquidHub buys Electronic Ink

Design, marketing, tech

LiquidHub, the Wayne-based firm that offers "digital customer engagement" services and IT outsourcing to corporate clients including Vanguard, SEI, Subaru, Independence Blue Cross and others worldwide,  says it has acquired Electronic Ink, the Center City digital industrial-design shop run by Harold Hambrose and chaired by Joseph H. Weiss, and its staff of cognitive scientists, graphic designers and industrial engineers.

The firms declined to name a price. More on LiquidHub's $100 million acquisition financing from Anglo-Indian investor ChrysCapital here, previous acquisitions here and here.  

With sales around $175 million/year, LiquidHub employs around 2,000, mostly in Wayne (corrected) and in Hyderabad, India, plus satellite offices in several countries and acquired firms that service users in several U.S. cities.

Electronic Ink, which counts Penske, Morgan Stanley, Johnson & Johnson and Ford as current or past clients, employs around 45, down from 80 in 2011. About 30 of the 45 will join the new firm, chairman Weiss told me. The firm lost business in the recession, "but we've been recovering nicely," he added. He's working on his next tech investment, "a nice piece of software I may be ready to announce soon."

The move gives LiquidHub its first Philadelphia office, said Hank Summy, a partner at the firm. Cofounder Jonathan Brassington told me earlier this year that the company hopes to base more of its operations in Philadelphia and other cities, where young tech and sales talent congregate.

Electronic Ink will help LiquidHub "understand the 'human effect,' through cognitive research and observing how people use pieces of technology, and then creating a better design," Summy told me.