More on Philly's $335MM "Deal of the Year"

NewSpring Growth

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 chain 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." 

For the full story, visit The Inquirer.