Carmel-based Bitwise Solutions Inc., one of central Indiana's oldest web development companies, has been acquired.
New England-based SilverTech Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency, announced Tuesday that it is expanding beyond its home base for the first time by acquiring Bitwise. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Bitwise was founded by President and CEO Ron Brumbarger in 1991, when the internet was the exclusive province of scientists, geeks and hobbyists.
Brumbarger kept Bitwise alive in the early years of web commerce by networking tirelessly, staying focused on web development and running his company with a policy of refusing to take on new investors and debt.
“The bottom line is, we’ve survived the storm, we’re a trusted name, and we have a track record of proven results,” Brumbarger told IBJ in 2004.
Bitwise currently has 12 employees, including Brumbarger. They will remain with SilverTech, according to company officials, and Brumbarger will lead local operations.
“This acquisition is a great fit for us culturally,” SilverTech Chief Digital Officer Jeff McPherson told IBJ on Tuesday.
Like Bitwise, SilverTech has no debt and no outside investors, McPherson said. The company, which was founded in 1996, has two shareholders. SilverTech CEO Nick Soggu is the majority shareholder, and McPherson is the other shareholder.
“We built this company the old-fashioned way,” McPherson said. “We’ve been very careful how we grow. If you grow too fast, you jeopardize not only the culture for employees, but customers too.”
After the acquisition, SilverTech will have just under 100 employees. But McPherson said he expects that number to grow—especially in central Indiana.
“We’d like to see the number of employees in that [Carmel] office grow 40 [percent] to 50 percent in the next 12 to 18 months,” McPherson said.
SilverTech officials declined to disclose its revenue or that of Bitwise.
The integration of the two firms already is under way, and SilverTech officials said the transition will be complete within 90 days. That means that the Bitwise name will disappear, McPherson explained.
Earlier this week, employees and clients were told of the acquisition, McPherson said. Up to 10 SilverTech officials from New England will arrive in Carmel later this month to begin meeting with the local office’s clients.
The local office, McPherson explained, will continue to focus on website development, but will also expand to become a full-service digital marketing agency.
“We definitely want to increase their capabilities there, which we think will expand their client base,” McPherson said. “This allows [SilverTech] to build a secondary home.”
Bitwise’s “staff and the capabilities” are big reasons the Carmel company was an attractive acquisition target, McPherson said.
A big part of SilverTech’s mission is community involvement, and McPherson said company officials plan to continue that in central Indiana.
In New England, SilverTech is a strong advocate for technology and education, concentrating on organizations like STEAM Ahead, FIRST, SEE Science Center, and Tech Days in local schools.
“It is a core belief of our team that great communities are created by the people in them,” Soggu said in a media statement. “Our crew actively volunteers on several boards and non-profit organizations. It is an element of our culture that we actively cultivate.”
Similarly, Brumbarger has been an influential player in the technology and education spaces. He was tapped in 2006 by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels to start Indiana’s first statewide virtual-charter school. In 2013, he founded Apprentice University, a competency-based education alternative to traditional higher education.
He has been included in IBJ's "Who’s Who in Information Technology" publications and was a member of IBJ's Forty Under 40 Class of 1999. In 2004, he was awarded Mentor of the Year for Ball State University’s entrepreneurship program. Also in 2004, he was recognized as one of the seven most influential business leaders in Indiana by KPMG.