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

Portland computer software developer Puppet, the city’s most significant homegrown tech firm, bought Monday to a Minneapolis business named Perforce Software package. The privately held organizations did not disclose terms of their deal but indicated Puppet will run as a standalone company inside of Perforce, at minimum for the time staying.

“I’m proud and pleased with what we’ve done, and I imagine Perforce is a excellent location to land,” mentioned Luke Kanies, the Reed Faculty graduate who established Puppet in 2005 and served as its CEO until 2016. Kanies is nonetheless on Puppet’s board.

“All acquisitions are bittersweet. No a person must start out a organization in hopes it gets element of a bigger business,” Kanies mentioned. “But I do assume this is a superior result for the enterprise. It is as very good an consequence as we could make it for as quite a few folks as doable.”

Puppet adds 500 staff members to Perforce’s workforce of 1,200. Perforce mentioned Monday that Puppet’s Portland place of work will continue to be open up. The much larger company mentioned it operates on a hybrid work design, similar to Puppet’s.

Puppet was probably the most popular of a 50 %-dozen tech firms that served revitalize Oregon’s tech industry in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Its software can help regulate details facilities and other massive personal computer programs.

Puppet moved its headquarters from Kanies’ residence point out of Tennessee to Portland in 2009, and grew into 1 of the city’s ideal-funded and finest-recognized technologies corporations. It lifted at least $128 million and at the time had 600 workforce, most of them at its headquarters on the Portland waterfront.

Puppet pursued an preliminary general public giving in 2016, but engineering moved promptly, and its consumers soon had choices to the Portland company’s advancement operations, or DevOps, application. Expansion slowed, Kanies stepped down as CEO, and Puppet shelved its IPO plans and endured two rounds of layoffs.

“Whether I like it or not, DevOps groups are diverse now,” Kanies wrote on Twitter. “Companies are looking for a finish solution, somewhat than seeking to integrate particular person finest of breed sellers. And the environment is shifting in loads of other strategies, not all of which we’ve performed perfectly at subsequent.”

Still, Puppet remained one of the city’s most visible know-how businesses and the firm stated Monday its annual revenues major $100 million. Puppet claimed it serves 40 of the Fortune 50 premier firms and counts 85% of the world’s biggest banks as clients.

And Puppet executives helped operate a succession of lesser Portland corporations, contributing to ongoing renewal in the city’s tech scene.

In 2020 Puppet declared it planned an IPO the subsequent yr. But even though the organization was undoubtedly beneath stress from its original backers to discover some return on their investments — Puppet’s first funding was 13 a long time ago — a general public presenting at this late date seemed a longshot and in no way materialized.

“There was a issue in time the place numerous of us, myself provided, believed Puppet would be a single of the wonderful IPOs to come out of the Pacific Northwest. And for a company of our dimensions, we have generally punched above our body weight,” Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar wrote in an open letter Monday, acknowledging the organization didn’t meet some of its aims.

“But what matters very long-expression is not what economic milestones fuel a company’s development,” Wassenaar reported. Instead, she explained, Puppet will be capable to arrive at buyers with Perforce “in a way that we could not have done on our personal.”

Perforce, started in 1995, is backed by private fairness firms Francisco Companions and Clearlake Cash Team. It mentioned that shopping for Puppet will extend Perforce’s personal portfolio of DevOps software program.

“With Puppet, we will be delivering our prospects with accessibility to a product or service portfolio that enables them to drive innovation on a worldwide scale. We glance forward to welcoming the Puppet crew and continuing to offer the stage of client support, services, and neighborhood Puppet has recognized in the market,” Perforce CEO Mark Ties claimed in a assertion.

Together with Jive Application, City Airship (now Airship), Elemental Systems, Jama Software program, Janrain, Act-On Application and on the net banker Straightforward, Puppet shaped a cluster of tech startups in downtown Portland a decade ago. Collectively, they served transition Oregon’s tech sector away from its historic reliance on laptop hardware.

All these firms had massive aspirations, generally unrealized. Jive, for instance, fundamentally shut down in 2017 right after its sale to a Texas enterprise. The exact same factor happened to Straightforward, which pulled the plug previous calendar year following the sale of its mum or dad bank.

Their legacies endure, however, in smaller organizations released by their alumni, outposts of more substantial businesses primarily based in other places, and a cadre of seasoned engineering executives who minimize their teeth in a bustling Portland startup scene.

“It’s so hard to concentrate on what we received and what we accomplished and not to concentrate on the dreams we experienced 5 many years back,” Kanies mentioned Monday. He stated that functioning Puppet had taken a big toll on him, personally, and that he’s taking some time to recroup.

There’s absolutely a measure of disappointment that Puppet did not increase into the massive, standalone business enterprise software program enterprise he envisioned then, Kanies acknowledged. But he explained he takes great satisfaction that Puppet remade its sector of the software package industry with tools that built it much easier for DevOps gurus to do their jobs.

And Kanies said he can take satisfaction in constructing a welcoming, open community within Puppet. If he’d been informed what Puppet would develop into back again in 2005, or 2009, Kanies mentioned he would have been delighted.

“I would have taken it in a heartbeat,” Kanies reported. “Because it actually meant that a lot, and because we actually did stop up carrying out so much.”

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