Allentown's Trifecta Technologies sells IBM ecommerce practice to focus on fast-growing business

Tom Paine

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Allentown-based ecommerce software development firm Trifecta Technologies sold its IBM Smarter Commerce practice (built around WebSphere) in early May to focus on its rapidly growing Salesforce practice. St Louis-based IT solutions provider Perficient Inc. (NASDAQ: PRFT) acquired the IBM business line, which had annual revenue of about $8 million, for $12.7 million in cash and $1 million in stock. More than 40 Trifecta employees, split between Toronto and Allentown, have joined Perficient.

Doug Pelletier / Trifecta Technologies

What remains for Trifecta and its founder and CEO, Doug Pelletier, is what he described to Philly Tech News as a booming ecommerce software development business with 72 employees in Allentown and India. (There is one employee left in Toronto who is in the process of building staff there.) Trifecta's Salesforce business is focused on the same niche as the IBM business was: building transactional-oriented ecommerce applications, in this case interweaving Salesforce's platform with off-the-shelf web and mobile tools Trifecta has built inhouse, and its custom software development. Current clients include Carlo's Bakery, Varsity Spirit, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Brandywine Global Investments.

Trifecta has been doing interesting things around Salesforce's Cloud PaaS (platform as a service) Heroku, I've been told by others, and Pelletier tells me his firm's work is recieving attention at high levels within the cloud software giant. Salesforce often spreads small VC investments around within its ecosystem, and Pelletier says Salesforce has discussed that possibility with him and he is open to it, although he intends to maintain majority ownership of the company. Pelletier says in addition to staff growth in Allentown, Toronto and Visakhapatnam, India, he may also consider making small specialty acquisitions.

Just this week Trifecta solutions architect Peter Knolle earned MVP Recognition from, one of only 27 individuals so recognized to date.

Pelletier's own background is interesting. A native of Canada, he attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and received an MBA from Lehigh before going to work as a rep for IBM in the eastern PA/ western NJ area. The primary reason he ended up in the Lehigh Valley was because his father, Alfred, was CEO of Mack Trucks for 10 years. (Mack had long had its global headquarters in Allentown but it was moved to North Carolina a few years back, though most manufacturing remains in the area.) After a few years with IBM, he decided he didn't have enough control over his future career direction, so he left and put up his own shingle. Trifecta was founded in 1991, and success took a while to achieve.

As his father was, Doug is active in civic affairs in the Lehigh Valley, and has also
helped the tech community grow. In some cases, he has assisted startups in getting off the ground with the help of Trifecta's technology, sometimes taking a small equity stake in lieu of payment. Two startups he mentions working with are Sarbari, which recently relocated from Boston and builds software that help restaurants buy food efficiently, and MyNetwork, which helps young people just entering the professional world build career-related social networks.

Trifecta is serving as the first corporate partner and mentor for a new downtown incubator, Velocity AI . Tifecta is also relocating its own headquarters from Lower Macungle Township to the rennovated 103-year-old Schoen's furniture building (to be renamed The Trifecta Building), further committing itself to helping to revitalize downtown Allentown. They are on target for a July move-in date.

The Trifecta Building / Rendering

Although his name may connote images of someone who might have played for the Montreal Canadians (he is of French Canadian ancestry), Pelletier is an avid hockey fan who's favorite team is the Maple Leafs of his native province Ontario. Trifecta has also purchased 19 season tickets for Allentown's new hockey team, the Phantoms, who begin play this Fall at the new PPL Center, and hopes to share them with Trifecta associates and their families and other partners and friends.

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