Conshohocken's eMoney Advisor an important (but quiet) Philly software firm

Tom Paine

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I hadn't heard much about eMoney Advisor, the Conshohocken-based provider of web-based investment management software for financial advisors, recently. Founded by Edmond Walters in 2000, eMoney Advisor was acquired by Vernon Hill's Cherry Hill-based Commerce Bancorp for $32 million in stock in 2006, at which time its revenue was reported to be $10 million, but was sold back to Walters and other investors some time before or around the time of Commerce Bancorp's acquisition by TD Bank in 2008. While there has been plenty of coverage of eMoney Advisor in the investment management trade press, locally there hasn't been much.

So I got an update on some of what's been going on from Mark Constan, Vice President of Recruiting at eMoney Advisor. He told me during a phone interview that headcount was now around 200, up from about 120 at the beginning of 2011. Some 50 of those are considered tech employees, including a group of 30 engineers. While he didn't have precise figures, he said revenue had been growing at about 20% annually. eMoney Advisor's architecture is built around the Microsoft .Net framework, though Constan said that in recruiting engineers the company is less concerned with an applicant's narrow field of experience than in the versatility and talent the individual possesses. And yes, they are looking for people.

Until now virtually all of eMoney Advisor's employees, except for a small number in the field, have been based in Conshohocken. But eMoney Advisor has just opened a California office in La Jolla, a toney San Diego suburb on the ocean. Philadelphia tech firms sometimes open offices in places such as San Diego in order to recruit more engineering talent, but Constan said that wasn't part of the company's current plans. Rather, the office will house a west coast customer contact (call) center that will give eMoney Advisor more time zone flexibility and ease the burden on call center personnel in Conhohocken, as well as other client-facing personnel to serve its growing California customer base. A few are moving west from Conshohocken, and some were already out there or are being hired.

eMoney Advisor recruits at the major tech schools in the Philly area, and Constan says they are able to fulfill their needs through the local talent base, though he says eMoney's high standards make it more challenging.

eMoney Advisor has a strong Philadelphia pedigree. Walters, a Villanova graduate, ran a Main Line investment advisory firm before starting eMoney. Looking through profiles of senior management, several worked for BtoB online pioneer VerticalNet and some came from another local financial planning software startup, Reality Online (acquired by Reuters).

eMoney Advisor's recently released version 8.0 of its flagship 360 Series web-based software. Another area where the company has made progress in recent years is in building its enterprise business, gaining more accounts with major financial services institutions, although smaller, independent financial advisors remain an important part of its customer base. eMoney Advisor's offices are in what might be considered Conshohocken's tech corridor on East Hector Street, not far from companies such as Monetate and NextDocs, and Constan says there is a real sense of community in the tech scene there.

Walters apparently holds a large stake in eMoney and there are other investors, although its something eMoney Advisor has been quiet about. I couldn't find a single news citation about the sale of eMoney Advisor by Commerce Bancorp/TD Bank.

While eMoney Advisor may be well known to many in the investment advisory trade, outside of that area its identity may be less clear. Some may think it is more of a financial services business. While knowledge of that domain is obviously essential to eMoney Advisor's success, the company wants more people to recognize that it is also a technology-driven enterprise, Constan says.

Daily Links 7/31/2013: Comcast profit beats estimates; Dow to open Collegeville innovation lab

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