Everything old is new again at Quaero. Fifteen years after it was founded, the data analytics company is a start-up again — now that it bought itself back from the parent company, CSG, that had acquired it in 2008.
The deal closed in January, and now Quaero, a firm that wants to connect data management and analysis to advertising, is using it as an opportunity for innovation. It's shifting its strategy from hosted data services to a data analytics platform, an iteration the CEO calls "Quaero 3.0."
A Brief Recap
It's another chapter in a story with plenty of twists and turns. The company has shifted gears, downsized and upsized several times. Founded in 1999, it survived the dot-com implosion of 2000-2001 and the financial crisis of 2008, and was ultimately rewarded with a buyout.
But now the management and employees own the entire company again. CSG holds some stock warrants, which are similar to stock options and allow it to participate in the upside of the company. Financial details have not been disclosed.
Quaero, based in Charlotte, N.C., with offices in Burlington, Mass. and Bangalore, India, was founded in the era of technology froth. It shows some start-up stories aren't as cut and dry as funding, growth, acquisition (or IPO).
"Informally we call it Quaero 3.0," says Quaero CEO Naras Eechambadi, "though this is really the fourth incarnation of the company."
The company analyzes the data of a target market and then matches that to advertising programs to find out which are most effective. It's got some big marquis media customers, including Disney's ESPN division.
Eechambadi says the company grew to 40 people during the dot-com period, when Priceline was its largest customer. But then had to cut back to half that size in just months as the technology markets declined. It then started building a data management and hosting business in the hospitality and financial services business before the 2008 financial crisis hit. It was bought by the billion-dollar CSG for $15 million in 2008.
In the past few years, under CSG, the company morphed its data analysis platform to help media companies become smarter advertising players. Gradually, the integration with CSG didn't make as much sense, Eechambadi said.