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High-profile software firm Mobi acquired by New Jersey firm

December 5, 2018

Mobi Wireless Management LLC, a fast-growing Zionsville-based firm whose software helps companies manage and analyze mobile devices, has been acquired by a New Jersey-based firm for an undisclosed price.

The buyer, Tangoe Inc, a maker of telecom expense-management software and services, completed the purchase Nov. 30.

The companies said Mobi’s offices will remain in Zionsville and will operate under the Tangoe name. It will serve as headquarters for the combined company’s managed mobility services, or MMS, operations.

Mobi has been one of central Indiana's highest-profile software startups in recent years, raising tens of millions of dollars in venture capital and projecting explosive employment growth.

The firm, founded in 2009, had ramped up employment to 315 by mid-2016, and employment remains at about that level, the company said. Mobi in September 2016 had said it planned to add 521 employees in the state by the end of 2020, but those jobs have not materialized. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered MOBI almost $3 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on those job-creation plans. Mobi has yet to collect on those credits, according to the IEDC's website.

A Mobi representative declined to disclose the company's revenue but said this year's figure is running 41 percent ahead of last year's pace.

Tangoe said the acquisition of Mobi will give the company a big boost in managed mobility services, creating a business that manages $40 billion in annual technology spending and 10 million connected devices. Tangoe has 1,950 employees.

Mobi’s clients are typically involved in the software, manufacturing and health care industries and have at least 500 phones or tablets in use.

“Mobi’s technology supports our overarching goal to help customers work smarter,” Tangoe CEO Bob Irwin said in written remarks. “This combination will give Tangoe customers the immediate benefit of access to the most powerful MMS solution on the market and provide Mobi clients access to our ... deep expertise and worldwide coverage.”

Irwin joined Tangoe in June 2017 in conjunction with Marlin Equity's $246 million purchase of the then-public company. In September of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged the public company had improperly claimed $40 million of its $566 million in revenue between 2013 and 2015. The company's former CEO, chief financial officer and vice president of finance all paid settlements related to the charges, and Tangoe paid a $1.5 million settlement. NASDAQ had delisted the company in early 2017 for financial-reporting issues.

Josh Garrett, Mobi president and co-founder, will join Tangoe as president of MMS. Scott Kraege, Mobi CEO and co-founder, will join the Tangoe board of directors and maintain an advisory role.

Mobi was founded nine years ago as a spinoff from Bluefish Wireless, which was started in 2001 by Christian and Michael Browning II, sons of local real estate developer Michael Browning, as well as Garrett, Kraege and Tony Paris.

In 2015, it landed $35 million in venture capital in a funding round led by New York-based private equity firm Bregal Sagemount, which made previous investments in LifeLock and Orbitz.

Industry group TechPoint awarded the company its top honor, Tech Company of the Year, at the 18th annual Mira Awards in April 2017.

“The opportunity for Mobi to bring our award-winning software, automation and team to the global marketplace with Tangoe is incredibly exciting,” Kraege said in written remarks. “The spirit of innovation at Mobi, combined with the power to invest and apply global resources to our solutions, will truly accelerate our market position and ultimately, allow us to provide the best possible solutions for our customers."

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