ShareFile, a rapidly growing Raleigh-based startup focused on secure document transfer across the Internet, is being acquired by Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS). Financial terms were not disclosed.The deal was disclosed early Thursday before stock markets opened.
ShareFile’s technology and related services enable customers to transfer files in a secure fashiona cross the web. It is offered through a software-as-a-service format. More than 17,000 companies utilize ShareFile. Citrix, which focuses on virtual computing services, plans to make ShareFile part of its cloud-based data storage and sharing product suite. Cloud computing enables users to scale server and PC power on demand and to share systems without having to buy additional hardware or hire service personnel.
ShareFile’s revenues have exploded over the past three years by more than 1,300 percent to $7.8 million in 2010. That performance earned ShareFile the No. 241 spot on the latest Inc 500 list for growing companies. Revenues in 2007 were just over $550,000. The company also increased its work force to 70, according to its website, over three years. In the 2010 Inc 500 report, ShareFile reported 29 employees.
Inc describes the ShareFile business model this way: “Its software allows companies to create a custom-branded, password-protected area where they can exchange business files with clients easily, securely, and professionally. Lawyers, film producers, photographers, graphic designers, engineers, and health care professionals use ShareFile when they have files too large to e-mail or need a collaboration space where project-related files can be posted.” ShareFile Chief Executive Officer Jesse Lipson will join Citrix and become vice president and general manager of a new “Data Sharing” group at Citrix.
"This is a highly strategic acquisition that enables Citrix to deliver all three of the critical components for the personal cloud - collaboration, apps and data - with amazing accessibility and productivity on any device,” said Citrix Chief Executive Officer Mark Templeton in a statement. “Our follow-me-data strategy means data will be shared (1) across people, (2) across apps and (3) across devices,” he added. “As customers and partners build on this platform, they will be able to easily add follow-me-data services to their software, leverage the data that other apps store there, and instantly inherit all the management, mobility and scalability that's in the ShareFile infrastructure." In addition to the large file exchange technology, ShareFile also offers virtual data rooms, or software portals in which authorized users can access documents.
"Joining the Citrix team will provide a great home to the thousands of ShareFile corporate customers, serving millions of users worldwide," Lipson said in a statement. "The combination of Citrix and ShareFile will also help spur incredible new innovation around the role of data in the new Cloud Era workplace." Lipson, who taught himself how to write software, founded ShareFile in 2005. A magna cum laude graduate with a degree in philosophy from Duke, Lipson served as president of Rapidata.net, a pharmaceutical market research firm from 2001-2003. The company was acquired by Greenfield Online. Lipson later launched novelProjects, a website development company, before moving on to ShareFile. Citrix operates worldwide and reported nearly $1.9 billion in revenues in 2010.