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Last week West Corp announced it was buying Raindance Communications for $110 million. This comes two weeks after West Corp announced it was buying Intrado for $465 million. You could say this is “Omaha making a move to take over Boulder” as both Raindance and Intrado are based near Boulder (Raindance is in Louisville, CO and Intrado is in Longmont, CO – the two are 18 miles away from each other and the fastest way between them is through Boulder.)
I was a seed investor in Raindance and on the board through their IPO in 2000 (I left the board in 2001). The three co-founders of Raindance – Paul Berberian, Jim Lejeal, and Todd Vernon are close friends. While Raindance never hit their IPO valuation after the dotcom crash, the company became a real business that has been solidly profitable and cash generating over the years.
Intrado – which is soon to be Raindance’s cousin – is also a strong Colorado company. It’s been around for a long time and through plenty of ups and downs, but has done well under the leadership of George Heinrichs. I met George once and – while I haven’t done much with Intrado – George and his team are extremely well regarded locally.
I have no idea if West’s move into Colorado is deliberate, but they’ve just picked up two good local public companies. While I can no longer buy conferencing or E911 services from a Boulder-based company, now that Crocs has gone public, I can still buy bizarre shoes.