PeopleSoft founder buys Cape Clear

7 Feb 2008

Workday Inc, the new venture of billionaire founder of PeopleSoft, David Duffield, has acquired Irish web services technology company Cape Clear for an undisclosed sum.

The move will see 30 sales and marketing staff at Cape Clear’s US operations made redundant.

Cape Clear was founded by Iona Technologies co-founder Annrai O’Toole in 1999 and the company has emerged as one of the world’s leading providers of enterprise service bus (ESB) middleware by Forrester, and has featured in a large number of service oriented architecture (SOA) deployments.

David Duffield, who has featured in Forbes‘ World’s Richest People list, founded PeopleSoft in 1987 and built it up to become the world’s second largest application software company, before it was acquired by Oracle in January 2005.

Two months later, in March 2005, Duffield established business software player Workday Inc to capitalise on the emerging software as a service (SaaS) market and, in particular, a niche known as integration on demand.

Workday’s customers are companies that range in scale from 1,000 to 25,000 people in a range of sectors including pharmaceutical and retail. The company is replacing both manual systems and on-premises enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Customers of the company include, US BioEnergy, and McKee Foods.

Workday co-founder and president, Aneel Bhusri, told that the company acquired Cape Clear because “it had the most modern approach to web services. We’ve had a great partnership prior to the acquisition and this is a natural evolution.

“The acquisition complements our vision of how technology infrastructure is evolving from systems sitting in a business’s premises to effectively becoming systems on demand.”

Bhusri told that the majority of the acquisition transaction is being funded by stock.

He said that 2007 marks the end of the company’s first year of selling and it has exceeded expectations with 40 customer wins. “This will lead to a public market offering later on down the road, perhaps around 2010.”

Cape Clear chief executive, Annrai O’Toole, will become vice-president in charge of integration at Workday Inc. He told that while the acquisition will result in 30 redundancies in the roles of sales and marketing at Cape Clear in the US, the company’s Dublin development team is tipped to grow in the year ahead.

He said the acquisition of a middleware technology company mirrors industry trends. “The idea of standalone middleware companies is disappearing. As a result, middleware companies will increasingly become part of application companies.

“Workday’s customers are typically large enterprises and they don’t want the integration headache. The new offering is aimed at solving that problem in a hosted, on-demand manner.

“We will no longer be selling ESB technologies on a standalone basis. We will continue to support existing customers but the future for our product line is as part of Workday,” O’Toole said.

Headcount at the combined companies will amount to 200 people, with approximately 60 people in Dublin.

By John Kennedy