Winshuttle Expands to Germany with Acquisition, Keeps Growing Through the Recession

The global expansion continues for Winshuttle, one of the unsung heroes of the Seattle tech scene that I highlighted back in August. The Bothell, WA-based software company is announcing today it has acquired the German firm A1 Professional Software.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t given, but Winshuttle is keeping the A1 Professional team of eight employees in place at a subsidiary organization in Bremen, Germany. The trans-Atlantic move is not surprising, seeing as Winshuttle’s main business is built around helping customers get maximum productivity out of management software from German tech giant SAP.

The new German subsidiary, called Winshuttle GmbH, is led by A1’s founder and president, Klaus Garms. The acquisition immediately adds a few prominent customers to Winshuttle’s lineup, including an airline (Lufthansa), an electronics powerhouse (Siemens), and a maker of printing presses (Heidelberger Druckmaschinen). The company’s existing German customers include drugmakers like Bayer and Merck KGaA. It also has a number of other global customers, including Starbucks, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and Proctor & Gamble.

Winshuttle was co-founded in 2003 by Vikram Chalana and Rajat Oberoi, who remain the company’s chief technology officer and chief business development officer, respectively. The firm, which was bootstrapped and never took any outside capital, makes software to help corporations shuttle data and bridge the gap between Excel spreadsheets (and other familiar programs that anyone can use) and SAP’s sophisticated business-management software. Last summer, Winshuttle had about 70 employees worldwide, spread across offices in the U.S., France, England, and India. It now has 90 employees.

Lewis Carpenter, Winshuttle’s CEO, calls Germany a “key market” for SAP software users. The acquisition “allows customers and partners within a critical region of Europe to get enhanced support and access to new products,” Carpenter says in a company statement.

Like almost everyone else, Winshuttle’s sales slowed in the early part of 2009, but the company seems to be back on track. Its total sales for last year climbed by 48 percent over 2008, when it was projected to make about $10 million in revenue. Winshuttle says it added 70 new customers in the fourth quarter of last year, while remaining profitable. Although the current sales growth isn’t as fast as Winshuttle experienced in previous years—when it was doubling revenues annually—it seems like a more mature and sustainable growth rate for an increasingly global company.

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