Puppet, Portland’s largest tech company, sold to Minneapolis-based Perforce Software

Maria J. Smith

Portland program developer Puppet, the city’s biggest homegrown tech corporation, offered Monday to a Minneapolis organization named Perforce Application. The privately held businesses didn’t disclose terms of their deal but indicated Puppet will operate as a standalone business within Perforce, at the very least for the time remaining.

“I’m very pleased and happy with what we’ve done, and I think Perforce is a fantastic place to land,” reported Luke Kanies, the Reed University graduate who founded Puppet in 2005 and served as its CEO until eventually 2016. Kanies is continue to on Puppet’s board.

“All acquisitions are bittersweet. No just one should really start off a company in hopes it becomes part of a much larger organization,” Kanies mentioned. “But I do consider this is a excellent result for the business. It is as very good an outcome as we could make it for as several persons as possible.”

Puppet provides 500 personnel to Perforce’s workforce of 1,200. Perforce said Monday that Puppet’s Portland business will continue to be open. The greater corporation mentioned it operates on a hybrid perform model, identical to Puppet’s.

Puppet was possibly the most distinguished of a half-dozen tech firms that helped revitalize Oregon’s tech marketplace in the aftermath of the Wonderful Economic downturn. Its program aids handle info centers and other substantial computer system programs.

Puppet moved its headquarters from Kanies’ home state of Tennessee to Portland in 2009, and grew into one particular of the city’s best-funded and most effective-recognised technology enterprises. It lifted at the very least $128 million and the moment had 600 workers, most of them at its headquarters on the Portland waterfront.

Puppet pursued an initial community supplying in 2016, but technologies moved speedily, and its consumers before long experienced alternate options to the Portland company’s improvement functions, or DevOps, software. Progress slowed, Kanies stepped down as CEO, and Puppet shelved its IPO strategies and endured two rounds of layoffs.

“Whether I like it or not, DevOps teams are distinctive now,” Kanies wrote on Twitter. “Companies are looking for a complete resolution, fairly than wanting to combine unique very best of breed sellers. And the globe is shifting in loads of other ways, not all of which we have carried out effectively at pursuing.”

Still, Puppet remained a person of the city’s most obvious technologies organizations and the business mentioned Monday its once-a-year revenues top rated $100 million. Puppet reported it serves 40 of the Fortune 50 most significant organizations and counts 85% of the world’s premier banks as clientele.

And Puppet executives assisted operate a succession of smaller sized Portland firms, contributing to ongoing renewal in the city’s tech scene.

In 2020 Puppet declared it prepared an IPO the pursuing year. But even though the company was definitely less than force from its original backers to locate some return on their investments — Puppet’s preliminary funding was 13 yrs back — a general public supplying at this late day appeared a longshot and never materialized.

“There was a position in time exactly where quite a few of us, myself incorporated, imagined Puppet would be one particular of the good IPOs to come out of the Pacific Northwest. And for a corporation of our dimensions, we’ve usually punched above our pounds,” Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar wrote in an open letter Monday, acknowledging the company didn’t satisfy some of its goals.

“But what matters long-phrase is not what economic milestones fuel a company’s growth,” Wassenaar stated. As a substitute, she stated, Puppet will be able to arrive at consumers with Perforce “in a way that we could not have performed on our personal.”

Perforce, started in 1995, is backed by personal fairness corporations Francisco Companions and Clearlake Money Team. It stated that shopping for Puppet will increase Perforce’s individual portfolio of DevOps software program.

“With Puppet, we will be providing our consumers with access to a product or service portfolio that permits them to drive innovation on a international scale. We appear forward to welcoming the Puppet workforce and continuing to offer the amount of consumer assist, solutions, and local community Puppet has set up in the marketplace,” Perforce CEO Mark Ties explained in a assertion.

Alongside with Jive Application, City Airship (now Airship), Elemental Technologies, Jama Software, Janrain, Act-On Program and on the internet banker Straightforward, Puppet shaped a cluster of tech startups in downtown Portland a decade back. Collectively, they assisted transition Oregon’s tech sector absent from its historic reliance on laptop hardware.

All individuals corporations had large aspirations, typically unrealized. Jive, for case in point, fundamentally shut down in 2017 soon after its sale to a Texas company. The very same detail occurred to Easy, which pulled the plug final calendar year right after the sale of its mum or dad bank.

Their legacies endure, although, in scaled-down businesses released by their alumni, outposts of larger organizations centered somewhere else, and a cadre of seasoned technologies executives who slash their enamel in a bustling Portland startup scene.

“It’s so challenging to concentrate on what we bought and what we completed and not to emphasis on the goals we experienced five years ago,” Kanies claimed Monday. He mentioned that working Puppet had taken a large toll on him, individually, and that he’s taking some time to recroup.

There is undoubtedly a evaluate of disappointment that Puppet did not expand into the massive, standalone business software package corporation he envisioned then, Kanies acknowledged. But he explained he normally takes great satisfaction that Puppet remade its sector of the computer software industry with applications that manufactured it less complicated for DevOps specialists to do their employment.

And Kanies claimed he usually takes satisfaction in b
uilding a welcoming, open up community inside Puppet. If he’d been advised what Puppet would come to be back in 2005, or 2009, Kanies claimed he would have been delighted.

“I would have taken it in a heartbeat,” Kanies stated. “Because it truly meant that substantially, and due to the fact we genuinely did close up executing so considerably.”

— Mike Rogoway | [email protected] | Twitter: @rogoway | 503-294-7699

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