UPDATE: PACT's Philly-area "Deal of the Year" for 2014 was the $335 million sale to France-based military manufacturer Dassault last September of Quintiq, the Radnor-based logistics software firm.
CEO Victor Allis and 60 employees were and remain based in Radnor, though most of the rest of the company's 800 employees are in Quintiq's native Netherlands and other far places. Quintic joined SAP (Germany) and QlikTech (Sweden) among the European tech companies that have expatriated bosses to Philly's western suburbs. (Quint is Dutch for 'five,' since the company was founded by five Dutch guys.)
Allis "moved to the States in 2010 to open the U.S. offices, which became the headquarters," recounts Marc Lederman, partner in the NewSpring venture funds group, Radnor. Tech hunter that he is, Lederman called on his new neighbor, and found the firm intense, fast-growing, and profitable enough that Allis wasn't looking for capital.
A year later, Allis invited him back: Some of the Quintiq partners wanted to cash out. Lederman summoned reinforcements, in the person of Howard Ross, a founding partner of LLR, the Ira Lubert-backed Philadelphia private-equity firm. "We flew to the Netherlands to meet the founders, for about a day and a half. And secured the deal," Lederman says. The partners invested $60 million, and took ownership of not quite half the company. They more than doubled that investment in the three-year payday from the Dassault sale.
Dassault left Allis' team in charge. "They write very sophisticated algorithms for what Victor calls very difficult puzzles to solve," Lederman told me. "For Airgas, they do multivariant supply chaim planning," so tanker trucks bring the right amount of oxygen to refill hospital tanks, depending on what hour they arrive, and the routes drivers take. For the FAA, Quintiq builds highly-regulated and complex schedules for air traffic controllers. For Walmart, it's logistics, personnel and supply-chain planning.
If it's growing 30 percent a year, why sell so soon? "At the end of the day I gotta make our limited partners (investors) money," Lederman told me. "What adds Philadelphia flair to the story is you have tow very active Philadelphia frims on the deal. Howard and I were on the board of Innaphase years ago. We're in a deal now with Message Systems, in Maryland. I needed to move very quickly when Victor approached us. I knew I could trust Howard."
EARLIER: The busy trade group for Philly-area IT and bio start-ups and the investors who love them -- PACT, the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology -- granted its 22nd yearly Enterprise Awards at the Pa. Convention Center May 14, its first 1,000-person Philly gala after four years in the burbs. Winners:
• Healthcare Innovator of the Year: Tabula Rasa Healthcare, Moorestown
• Life Sciences CEO of the Year: Jeffrey Marazzo, Spark Therapeutics, Philadelphia (which went public in this $161 million IPO. A previous PACT Company of the Year.)
• Emerging Life Sciences Company: Excellis Health Solutions, New Hope
• Life Sciences Startup Company of the Year: BioBots, Philadelphia
• Technology Company of the Year: iPipeline, Exton
• Technology CEO of the Year: Lars Bjork, Qlik, Radnor (also a previous Company of the Year.)
• Emerging Technology Company of the Year: Evolve IP, Wayne
• Startup Technology Company of the Year: Sidecar, Philadelphia
• Digital Innovation: Elemica, Philadelphia
• Investment Deal of the Year: NewSpring Capital, Radnor/LLR Partners, Philadelphia
That Deal of the Year was the $336 million sale of Quintiq, the Philly-based (but mostly Dutch-run) supply chain software firm with users in 80 countries, to France's Dassault group. In a statement, NewSpring partner Marc Lederman credited LLR, NewSpring advisor Michael Donahue, and especially Quintiq's cofounder and ceo Victor Allis, cfo Michael Coluzzi, and other Quintiq principals for growing the business at 30% a year; and Morgan Lewis lawyer David Gerson for nominating the deal.
"We had a pretty illustrious group of  judges this year," venture capitalists and bosses, with separate panels for bio and tech companies, chief judge Charles Robins, managing director of Fairmount Capital Partners, told me. Lawyers, investors and other companies nominate candidates. KPMG and PACT pull additional information on the nominees, which some companies decline to provide (and are typically eliminated.)