GlobeRanger Acquired by Japan’s Fujitsu for RFID Business
[Updated 5/2/14 1:41 pm. See below.] A suburban Dallas maker of RFID technologies specialized for the U.S. military was bought Friday by Japanese electronics giant Fujitsu to shore up its portfolio of national security and defense-related products and services.
[Comments from GlobeRanger CEO George Brody and Bill Sproull at the Richardson Economic Development Partnership added.] “The opportunity is huge for us,” says George Brody, GlobeRanger’s CEO. “They have a huge pipeline, an existing defense business of marquee customers outside the U.S. Of course, the largest customer is the U.S. and that’s why they’re interested in us.”
GlobeRanger makes software that manages data generated by radio-frequency identification devices to help its largely military customers more accurately track goods from toilet paper to weaponry.
Brody says the two companies first began collaborating on projects last year, leading to the decision to become part of Fujitsu. GlobeRanger was acquired for an undisclosed sum by Fujitsu’s UK & Ireland subsidiary and will remain a standalone operation with Brody at the helm. GlobeRanger, which currently has 20 employees, will begin adding staff as it ramps up its business with Fujitsu. “We’ve now got a $46 billion company behind us,” he says.
Fujitsu says that the RFID market is expected to surpass $20 billion globally this year.
Brody, formerly an executive with Nortel Networks, founded GlobeRanger in 1999. “I was building a portfolio around the world building a network for tracking people when I noted that there were a lot more items moving around,” he says. “We need to build a network for tracking things.”
Brody raised $8.3 million from investors such as Sevin Rosen Funds and CenterPoint Ventures in 2009. “We knew some day this was going to be plugged into a big engine,” he added. “The board and I decided at the time [of founding GlobeRanger] that this was the way to do it, as opposed to raising more money and scaling organically.”
Friday’s announcement helps to spotlight North Texas’s growing ecosystem of software startups, including those specializing in RFID systems, says Bill Sproull, president and CEO of the Richardson Economic Development Partnership.
Among other RFID-focused companies in the region are Sentinel ID Systems in Plano, TX, and Axcess in Addison, TX, which have targeted sectors such as the medical industry or retail supply chain management, he added. Last year, Dallas software company SoftLayer was bought by IBM to be a keystone for Big Blue’s new cloud service division, along with IBM’s SmartCloud franchise, in what was estimated to be a $2 billion deal.
“The neat thing about George’s acquisition is that it just shows how well we’ve been able to grow world-class software companies here,” Sproull says.