IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: ExactTarget deal will send tech ripple

IBJ Staff
June 8, 2013
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ Editorial

A toast is in order: The $2.5 billion sale of ExactTarget Inc. to San Francisco-based Salesforce.com is the most lucrative exit yet for an Indianapolis technology company.

An acquisition of a local tech titan may elicit sadness at first blush. But there’s plenty here to celebrate, starting with the ripples of investment the deal is likely to spark in our local tech community. (See story, page 3.)

ExactTarget has a strong ownership culture. Every employee received stock options in the company, which means the deal with Salesforce.com minted a gaggle of potential angel investors and tech entrepreneurs, many of them with roots firmly established in Indianapolis.

The deal calls to mind another sale of a local tech company eons ago (in technology terms) that wound up setting a foundation for the growth of more than a dozen other tech companies in Indianapolis, including ExactTarget.

In 1997, IBM paid $200 million for Software Artistry. Five years later, a city-organized gathering of eight executives considered among the top names in local tech included seven alums of Software Artistry, recalled Dave Millard, a Barnes & Thornburg partner who counsels high-growth businesses and venture capital funds.

At a meeting just 18 months ago, with a much larger crowd, there were still numerous Software Artistry veterans who continue to make contributions as tech executives, entrepreneurs or investors.

Donald Brown, a CEO and co-founder of Software Artistry, went on to launch Interactive Intelligence. He and other Software Artistry vets also invested in local software maker Aprimo Inc., which sold in 2010 for $525 million.

Another investor who scored big on the Software Artistry deal was former venture capitalist Bob Compton, who became one of the key early investors in ExactTarget after it was founded in 2000 in a Greenfield business park.

Even before its sale to Salesforce.com, some of the early employees of ExactTarget already had branched out. Chris Baggott, a co-founder and chief marketing officer, left in 2006 to launch what is now Compendium Software, a content marketing company.

ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey said in a memo to employees that the company would continue to operate as an independent unit within Salesforce.com and retain its Indianapolis headquarters. And Salesforce.com no doubt will try to retain ExactTarget’s brightest stars.

But entrepreneurs will be entrepreneurs. Plenty of those dollars should and will wind up reinvested locally as the tech-company circle of life rolls on.
Could the aftermath of ExactTarget’s sale wind up making the ripples from the Software Artistry sale look small? That’s a good bet.•

Send comments on this editorial to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

ADVERTISEMENT