Minneapolis-based JAMF Software, the Apple device management firm that grew by 165 employees to 505 over the last year, will leave downtown’s Grain Exchange Building this spring for larger quarters in refurbished 100 Washington Square, part of the two-building complex in the Gateway District that’s being refurbished by owner Shorenstein Properties of San Francisco.
JAMF CEO Dean Hager said billings grew 35 percent last year to about $80 million, as well as 35 percent growth in the number of Apple devices managed by 14-year-old JAMF.
“We’re preparing for continued growth,” Hager said. “We have aggressive hiring plans. And we have very aggressive product development plans. Our R&D staff growth was 100 percent year over year. We’re trying to differentiate ourselves.
“The market is attractive, but not everybody is experiencing what we’re experiencing. We have a very focused strategy. Our mission is to help organizations succeed with Apple. And Apple is seeing success.”
JAMF said it added 1,900-plus global customers in 2015, up 45 percent.
Summit Partners of Boston invested $30 million in JAMF in 2013 for a minority stake. Hager said the company doesn’t require additional funding and is financing its growth out of cash flow.
Hager, a veteran technology executive, last year succeeded longtime co-CEO Zach Halmstad, who founded the company in 2002, and co-CEO Chip Pearson. They remain the majority shareholders and are active in the company.
In August, JAMF announced a partnership with IBM to support the launch of IBM’s MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services, a program designed to help large enterprises incorporate Macs within their IT infrastructures. A year ago, JAMF Software launched Bushel, which JAMF said was the only Apple device management solution designed for small- and medium-sized businesses to easily deploy, secure and manage Macs, iPads and iPhones. The cloud-based solution has more than 10,000 organizational clients.
In October, JAMF held its sixth annual JAMF Nation User Conference in Minneapolis, attracting a record 1,200 attendees from 20 countries.
Chinese dig Yoplait, Haagen-Dazs
Yoplait in China has gotten off to a good start, and its market share in Shanghai had exceeded 8 percent by November, a General Mills senior executive told stock analysts during an earnings call last month. General Mills fell short of its long-term sales goal for China in 2015, but the country remains a key driver of the company’s international growth strategy.
Back in early 2011, at an annual conference for packaged food industry analysts, General Mills Chief Financial Officer Don Mulligan said the company aimed for $900 million in sales in China by 2015. General Mills posted $750 million to $800 million in Chinese sales last year, CEO Ken Powell told the Star Tribune.
“We didn’t get all the way to $900 million, but nevertheless we have had very good growth there and it’s a crucial place for us. … Over the long run, this is a huge consumer market.”
General Mills’ sales in China have grown at a decent clip, up from about $2 million a decade ago.
The company is strong in China with its Haagen-Dazs brand, which it sells through ice cream shops and grocery outlets. It’s also the market leader in frozen food with its Wanchai Ferry brand.
Market growth for packaged food makers has slowed in China as the economy there has cooled, Powell said.
General Mills in 2015 introduced Yoplait in China. General Mills owns a controlling stake in the international yogurt maker.
Web firm Siteimprove raises $55 million
In 2007, Torben Rytt, a Danish computer scientist and employee of Copenhagen-based Siteimprove moved to the Twin Cities to woo a Minnesota woman he met in a Copenhagen bar.
Today, Rytt, whose boss preferred he open a Twin Cities office of the then-small company rather than quit, is CEO of the Bloomington-based North American headquarters of Siteimpove. It employs about 125 employees who serve more than 1,500 customers and which just took over the old Advanced Auto Parts building in Bloomington, with room for expansion.
Last month, Boston-based Summit Partners, the huge private equity firm, invested $55 million for a minority stake in Siteimprove, which employs another 100 or so people throughout Scandinavia and Europe.
“Things are going really well,” said Rytt, 37, now married and the father of two kids. “We’ve gone from one-to-four talent acquisition recruiters over the last year here. This is an active market. The Summit investment gives us flexibility to grow faster than we otherwise could. Another thing is that our primary owner and founder, owns more than 50 percent of the company. Nobody can change the direction.
“This year, we’ll expand the sales force and we’re going to add our own software development team in Minneapolis. That’s previously only been done in Copenhagen. It’s going to be a parallel team here. We couldn’t grow the team fast enough in Copenhagen and there’s a lot of talent here. Overall, we probably hire 50 to 60 people in Bloomington this year.”
Siteimprove’s Web-governance software helps customers better maintain websites through quality assurance, Web analytics, search engine optimization and more.
The Big Know receives $3 million investment
Leslie Frecon’s LFE Capital, Steve Shank — founder of Capella Education — and others have invested a total of $3 million, the first round of outside capital, in the Big Know, a “digital innovation company” launched last year by GoKart Labs, a marketing-technology firm founded by CEO Don Smithmier.
The Big Know, launched last year, works with organizations to produce online courses sponsored by the likes of UnitedHealth and AARP.
“The success of our initial courses has shown how much consumers love great online courses … by trusted brands,” Smithmier said.