In selling Andera, Kroll looks to opportunities ahead
PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
DESPITE ITS SALE TO N.H. digital banking firm Bottomline Technologies, banking account opening software developer Andera will remain in Providence in the foreseeable future, where founder Charlie Kroll started the company while an undergraduate at Brown.
PROVIDENCE – Financial software company Andera Inc. has been acquired by New Hampshire digital banking firm Bottomline Technologies for $44.5 million and company stock.
One of Providence’s leading recent startup successes, Andera will keep its name and 75 employees in its current Gateway Center offices under the sale, said CEO Charlie Kroll Tuesday.
“Nothing changes,” Kroll said about the future of the company. “Over time there will be opportunities to accelerate our product enhancements with Bottomline’s resources, but in near term nothing changes.”
However, Kroll said the sale will allow him, after a transition period to help integrate Andera into Bottomline, to leave the company later this year for new business opportunities.
Kroll wouldn’t specify exactly how long the transition will take and said he hasn’t identified his next project.
“I have committed to staying on for a transition and I would expect to move on to other opportunities later this year, but there is not a more detailed time frame,” Kroll said.
Kroll, who founded Andera in 2000 while an undergraduate at Brown University, declined to say how long he had been considering selling Andera or whether he had received other offers.
He said he decided to sell because of how well the two company’s products complement each other – Andera specializing in online account opening and Bottomline on banking services.
Bottomline, a publicly traded company focused on cloud-based payment and digital banking, announced the sale Monday evening after the market closed Monday. In addition to the $44.5 million in cash, the sale included 102,000 shares of Bottomline stock.
The sale is also expected to generate a profit for Slater Technology Fund, Rhode Island’s publicly-funded nonprofit venture capital firm, which has invested $750,000 in Andera.
Slater Managing Partner Thorne Sparkman said the infusion of cash into Andera would have a positive impact on the Providence economy through returns to angel investors who had backed the company, cash for longtime employees with stock options and in providing an example to young entrepreneurs.
“[Kroll] makes it look easy because he is smart and smooth, but he did a great job recognizing and exploiting great opportunities when he did,” Sparkman said. “It is a vindication for young people choosing entrepreneurship as a career, that you can make a big company and make a lot of money doing it. These ideas do not always die on the vine.”
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