Aprimo getting new life under new ownership, old name

In less than a decade, Aprimo Inc. went from being a standout Indianapolis-based tech firm that was acquired for more than a half-billion dollars to being a business unit with a different name that was let go in fire sale.

But officials at Marlin Equity Partners, the California private equity firm that bought that business unit from Dayton, Ohio-based Teradata Corp. in April, think the Aprimo story is far from over, and that there's still value to be unlocked. So, it announced Wednesday morning that it has merged that business unit with another recently acquired business to create a new company that will once again be called Aprimo.

John Stammen mugJohn Stammen

"Aprimo is back," said Aprimo CEO John Stammen while describing the company's marketing-operations software, which helps plan, create, store and distribute marketing campaigns.

"Our vision is to be the platform that connects the marketing ecosystem," he said.

Co-founded in 1998 by local technology veteran Bill Godfrey, Aprimo was one of the city's brightest tech startups during the 2000s. It raked in $69 million in revenue in 2007, and got scooped up by Teradata three years later for $525 million amid a wave of marketing software acquisitions across the country. The company became the core of Teradata's Marketing Applications unit, but struggled under the new owner.

Marlin announced in April it was buying the subsidiary for $90 million. It decided to combine the business with Chicago-based Revenew Inc., which Marlin purchased this month for an undisclosed price.

The combined entity has about 500 employees across the globe, including 200 in Indianapolis, which will remain its biggest office for the foreseeable future. Officials said global research-and-development and customer-service operations will be based here.

Stammen, previously the CEO at Revenew, is effectively staying at the helm of the combined operation. He's an Aprimo alumnus, spending 11 years under former CEO Godfrey and one year at Teradata before joining Revenew in August 2014.

Todd Rathje, who is Aprimo's senior vice president of the Americas, is one of another six Aprimo boomerangs. He spent 10 years there in the early 2000s and, like Stammen, joined Revenew in late 2014.

Stammen and his lieutenants have been tasked with turning a distress story into a success story, but they're optimistic they can make a mark in Aprimo's target industry given the assets they have to work with.

"Aprimo is best in class in three of those four categories," Stammen said about marketing planning, content creation and data storage. He said Revenew's strength was in campaign distribution, specifically tailoring it at the local level, and "it marries up very nicely with the other three pieces of marketing operations."

Don Aquilano, managing partner at Allos Ventures, was one of the key role players in Aprimo's second coming. Aquilano said he was with a firm that invested in Aprimo in the 2000s, and he maintained connections with executives there even after the Teradata buyout.

After Allos made an investment in Revenew around 2013, Aquilano helped recruit Stammen to become its CEO in 2014.

Late last year, when Teradata announced it was selling its Marketing Applications unit, Aquilano said he and Stammen started discussing the prospect of getting some former Aprimo leaders—including those at Revenew—back in the saddle. Stammen knew at least one of the team members at Marlin, and Marlin ultimately got on board with making that prospect a reality.

The negotiations took two separate tracks, said Marlin principal Nathan Pingelton, but eventually dovetailed. He said Aquilano's connections and history helped expedite the process.

"Having the past experience with Aprimo and knowing a lot of people at Revenew and Aprimo," Pingleton said, "that heritage was a really nice connection point." 

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