The IT automation software company that has grown exponentially in Durham in the last year has joined an elite list of technology (or tech affiliated) companies located on the American Tobacco campus that have exited since the beginning of 2014.
October 16, 2015
Ansible’s $100M+ Sale to Red Hat Is 7th Tech Exit on American Tobacco Campus in Two Years
With today's sale to Red Hat, the fast-growing IT automation company joins elite group in Durham
Their acquisitions total more than $1.5 billion, and they employ more than 600 people in Durham. Ansible joins the list with a reported $100 million or more acquisition by one of Raleigh’s flagship companies and a leader in open source software globally, Red Hat.
While the news is a nod to the region’s continued technology innovation, the acquisition is part of this larger story unfolding in downtown Durham and specifically on the campus (which is owned by ExitEvent parent Capitol Broadcasting). Companies are starting up in town, growing and scaling sometimes with venture capital and sometimes without and then attracting the attention of major players in their industries and selling for nine figure dollar amounts. And in all cases so far, their local headquarters have stayed intact, and some have added employees.
Below, see the highlights of the seven deals, most of which rank among the top tech exits in the last decade in the Triangle. Update: The Council for Entrepreneurial Development shared that there have been seven additional tech exits over the last two years in Durham. Those involve companies not located on the American Tobacco Campus.
Besides that it happened so quickly into Ansible’s life—it was founded just over two years ago—Red Hat’s acquisition shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Co-founder and CEO Said Ziouani spent 2000 to 2010 as a vice president of business development and sales at Red Hat before starting the company. Numerous other employees spent time at the open source software leader as well, including Todd Barr, Ansible’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, vice president of operations and general counsel Jeanmarie Martinko, Greg DeKoenigsberg, vice president of community, director of product Bill Nottingham and director of engineering James Laska.
VentureBeat first reported the news, along with the $100 million-plus sale price, late last night. Ansible raised $6 million from Menlo Ventures and other Silicon Valley investors in August 2013. It has amassed more than 500 customers since that time. ExitEvent recently interviewed its marketing director, who gave some hints about the company’s fast growth.
According to Red Hat, Ansible makes it an even bigger leader in cloud and IT management. It also lets it open an office in Durham, and another major technology player to the city’s growing community.
Here’s a rundown of the ATC exits:
Founded in 2006, Sold in February 2014
Founders: Ben Weinberger and Matt Berry (Check out our interview with Weinberger before he moved on to Sling TV)
Estimated at ~$80M
Founded in 2007, sold in February 2015
Founder: Robbie Allen
Founded in 2008, Sold in March 2015
Founder: Jud Bowman (now board member)
Undisclosed sale price
Founded in 2008, sold in April 2015
Founders: Rachit and Adit Shukla (brothers)
Founded in 2002, sold in April 2015
Employees: 250 in Durham
Founders: Joe Colopy and Chaz Felix
Founded in 2005, October 2015
Founders: Richard and Susan Casey (now board member)
More than $100M
Founded in 2013, sold in October 2015
Founders: Said Ziouani and Tim Gerla
*Employee counts are most recently published.
**A previous version of this story called this the seventh exit in Durham in two years. In fact, there have been 14 tech exits during that time but seven companies are located on the American Tobacco campus in Durham.