Philly Tech People News 11/30/2014: Unisys appoints interim CEO; Big changes for Wharton's VIP

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Unisys Appoints Interim Executives As Search Continues For New CEO (CRN)

Industry Veteran Tim Slevin to Run Veeva Systems’ Global Data Solutions Business
(Business Wire)

Chris McCarthy is Named Mercer’s Philadelphia Office Leader (Business Wire)

Grant Thornton picks new Philadelphia leader (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Big Changes for VIP (Wharton Entrepreneurship Blog)

Dr. Youngjin Yoo is the first Harry A. Cochran Professor of MIS at Fox (Fox MIS)

Phila. Union's new investor is public-debt mogul, Comcast in-law, PGW chair ( Philly Deals)

TMG Health Appoints Rod Jardine as Chief Information Officer (PR Web)

LiquidHub, on acquisition path, aims to get larger but keep focus

Tom Paine

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LiquidHub's acquisition of New York-based Foundry9, announced in late October, wasn't its first acquisition but it was its largest to date, I was told (though terms weren't disclosed). And it probably won't be its last. The Wayne-based digital technology integrator, following a strategic theme it highlighted earlier this year of bringing the CTO and CMO functions closer together, added the financial marketing systems capabilities of Foundry9, which has about 100 employees and a substantial Wilmington office.

The integration of digital and marketing is also reflected in the recently announced Publicis/Sapient deal, the acquisition by systems integration giant Cognizant of Conshohocken-based healthcare digital marketing firm Cadient, as well as Newtown-based Epam Systems' recent acquisition of a design-focused firm.

“From its beginning, Foundry9 has created marketing campaigns with digital at the core—not as an add-on,” said Jonathan Brassington, CEO and co-founder of LiquidHub, in a release. “With this acquisition, we are providing our customers a unified team of digital experts who can guide them through the entire customer lifecycle with both creative and technology services. We will now be better positioned to help our clients define a marketing strategy, create a compelling visual experience, segment customers and engage with them across different media and data-driven campaigns."

Matt Bernardini, founder and CEO of Foundry9, will continue to operate Foundry9 as a separate entity within LiquidHub. Bernardini, a native of Darby Borough, graduated from Rutgers and worked earlier in his career in financial services marketing in Delaware before migrating to New York. Foundry9 has worked with LiquidHub on projects in the past.

While Foundry9's niche is in financial services (both consumer and B-to-B), both Bernardini and LiquidHub co-founder Rob Kelley believe what it does is transferrable to healthcare & life sciences, LiquidHub's second key niche, as well as other areas, they told Philly Tech News in a phone interview.

Although some of Foundry9's internal plumbing appears to be built around Microsoft's .NET framework according to posted job descriptions, I couldn't get a much of a hint as to what direction it leaned in terms of third-party CRM and marketing automation tools. But one thing was clear: Kelley said that the Salesforce Clouds would be a big part of LiquidHub's future (though by no means exclusive). LiquidHub was a Bronze sponsor of Dreamforce 2014 in San Francisco last month.

LiquidHub made three acquisitions in 2011-12: Conshohocken-based E-Brilliance, Hestan Consulting Group, a financial services practice with a New York office, and New York-based aSpark, which brought with it mobile, cloud and social enterprise capabilities.

LiquidHub is approaching 2,000 employees worldwide with about 400 in Philadelphia, is expanding its operations in India where half its headcount is located, and recently opened an Amsterdam office. Revenue should reach $150 million this year.

Founded in 2001, LiquidHub raised a $53M Series B Capital Round led by Delhi-based ChrysCapital earlier this year. (NewSpring Capital reportedly closed out its position at that point). With that investment came a committment to provide access to additional capital for potential acquisitions.

In August, LiquidHub lost its India managing director Sushma Rajagopalan to ITC Infotech, were she was soon after named CEO. Also in August, LiquidHub named Sean Narayanan, formerly of iGate, as global partner, chief business officer and managing director for India operations.

Further acquisitions will focus on on small to medium-sized digitally transformative partners in the mobile, cloud, and analytical spaces to support its healthcare and financial verticals. Kelly said another emphasis would be to increase LiquidHub's global footprint.

In the systems integration space, it is important to define your core niches and specialities, and develop value-added tools, to keep above the lower margin "one-off" business and develop lasting client relationships. By all appearances, LiquidHub has taken important steps towards defining its strategy and presenting it clearly over the past couple of years. While it has grown significantly recently, it is still a minnow compared to the large outsourcers and system integrators, with plenty of room to grow.