See if this process sounds familiar. European software company looks to expand in the United States. Considers East Coast locations and picks Philadelphia as a starting point. Growth ensues.
I could be writing about SAP AG, the Germany business-software giant. I met with SAP's first U.S. executive in a small leased office in Cherry Hill in 1988. Today, SAP has its own corporate campus in Newtown Square, where it employs about 2,000.
Less well-known is Qlik Technologies Inc., based in Radnor, which moved its headquarters here from Sweden in 2006. A maker of business-intelligence software, Qlik now has about 50 employees locally and completed its initial public offering July 21, raising $115.8 million. Its shares have been on a tear, up 150 percent since its IPO.
Now a Dutch company called Quintiq has made a similar strategic bet, promoting its Tredyffrin Township offices to dual headquarters status. Opened in August 2005, the office at 565 E. Swedesford Rd. is home to about 20 employees, including Quintiq founder and chief executive officer Victor Allis, who moved here from the Netherlands two months ago.
When I caught up with Allis, he was not in Wayne but Shanghai on one of the more than 20 trips he's made to China since he and four of his ex-college math students started Quintiq in 1997.
What Quintiq sells to its industrial customers is software to handle advanced planning and scheduling, and manage their supply chains. But I like Allis' description better: "We solve organizational puzzles."
Those puzzles may involve helping a trucking company get hundreds of its trucks carrying thousands of items to multiple destinations each day. Or enabling an aluminum factory to make the best use of its people and machinery as it produces coils of various sizes and thickness.
Quintiq's biggest competitor for this business is a company called i2 Technologies Inc., which was acquired earlier this year by JDA Software Group Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $600 million.
The privately held Quintiq has been growing rapidly over the last decade. Allis said he anticipated revenue would be between $45 million and $50 million in 2010, marking a return to double-digit sales growth after a difficult 2009.
About 60 percent of that revenue comes from Europe, with 30 percent produced in the United States. Asia accounts for the rest, and I wondered whether the fast-growing Asian economies didn't represent the biggest market for Quintiq.
Perhaps one day, he said, but don't write off the United States so quickly. At $14 trillion, it remains the world's largest economy and the country where the innovation occurs and emerges rapidly.
One example of Quintiq's growth in the United States is a $14.7 million contract awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration in April. The FAA will use its software to schedule 15,000 air-traffic controllers.
While Allis runs the U.S. and other non-European operations from Wayne, Quintiq chief operating officer Arjen Heeres will be based in the other headquarters in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, where research and development operations will remain. Quintiq employs about 150 in Europe.