Israeli tech firm takes root in Seattle, bolsters exec team

bluephoenixSeattle is getting a new publicly-traded technology company, but not through the traditional IPO process.

BluePhoenix Solutions has set up shop in Seattle, opening new offices in Two Union Square and adding several technology veterans to the team in recent month.

The company, which is traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker BPHX, announced today that former Expedia finance boss Rick Rinaldo has joined as CFO. It also named Talyst CEO Carla Corkern to the board, joining other recent additions such as VMWare’s Harel Kodesh and former Starbucks CIO Brian Crynes.

So, how did this Israeli tech company make its way to Seattle?

Last year, two Seattle area investment funds — Columbia Pacific Opportunity Fund and Lake Union Capital Management — purchased a controlling stake in BluePhoenix and appointed Seattle tech veteran Matt Bell as CEO.

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Matt Bell

Bell, who previously worked at Seattle area companies such as Azaleos, Sourcelabs, RealNetworks and Skytap, has quietly repositioned the company. Since his arrival, he’s added several tech executives with Seattle roots, including his former Azaleos colleague, Rick Oppedisano, who joined as vice president of marketing last fall.

The stock is up 80 percent in the past year, now trading around $3.30 per share. It has a market value of $21 million.

BluePhoenix employs less than 10 people in Seattle, but the operation is growing as the executive team continues to expand here. The entire company employs about 110, with substantial operations in Israel.

BluePhoenix is developing tools to help convert legacy applications and databases to more modern systems. Its customers span the automotive, financial and health care industries, with sales during the fourth quarter of $3 million and an operating loss of $72,000.

In an earnings report in February, Bell noted that the company is making progress as it nears completion of a restructuring. “We are now focused on our core strengths, building sales, and launching new marketing efforts,” he said.