Ektron becomes EPIServer, but is staying in Nashua

NASHUA – Now that the transition from Ektron to EPIServer has become public with a new company sign on Amherst Street, the question arises of what will happen to the formerly high-flying Web services company.

It’s staying and it’s grow­ing, says James Norwood, executive vice president for strategy of EPIServer, a Swedish firm that merged with Ektron this year.

"We started to look at all facilities options," Norwood said. "We have so many em­ployees that live all around, we didn’t want to do any­thing that would leave alot of people stranded.

"The idea was to say in New Hampshire but move closer to the border. But two or three weeks ago, we decided to stay where we are, invest in a makeover."

That makeover will in­clude a new sign, he add­ed. The one that replaced the Ektron sign last week is only interim because EPIServer is redesigning its current "very Star Wars logo."

About 90 people across a number of departments work in the 542 Amherst St. building, and about 10 po­sitions are open, Norwood said.

"We’re looking for quality .NET engineers," he added, sneaking a free help-want­ed ad into his comments.

Ektron had a good, if occasionally tumultuous, 17- year run.

It was started in the Hol­lis basement of Bill Rogers, an electrical engineer who saw a need to help busi­nesses develop and manage a presence on the still new World Wide Web, and grew to have some 200 employ­ees with offices around the world, part of the highly competitive world of what are called Web content management systems.

It was ranked as one of the fastest-growing tech companies in New Eng­land in the early 2000s, but seemed to fade in recent years, although as a pri­vately held company, de­tails about its performance were hard to come by.

In December, it was bought by private equity firm Accel-KKR for an un­disclosed sum, although CMSWire, a trade publica­tion, said it was rumored at $52 million, a figure it called "stunningly disappointing."

Accel-KKR also bought EPIServer at about the same time, leading to the firms’ merger in January. The EPIServer name was kept largely because it is better known in Europe, Norwood said.

"Ektron had faded away a little bit," Norwood ac­knowledged. "We are get­ting it rejuvenated."

Rogers left the company at that time, Norwood said.

His brother, Ed Rogers, continues to run the Web-service firm Akumina in Nashua, which he founded, and recently hired a couple of former Ektron execu­tives.

Norwood said the new EPIServer has about 4,000 cusomters with each of the two platforms, about 40 per­cent of whom are small to mid-sized businesses, with the rest divided among me­dium and large, even very large, firms.

EPIServer recently re­leased EPIServer Digital Experience Cloud, part of a strategy to help businesses move marketing and Web services off dedicated ma­chines onto the Internet. As the first product since the merger, it is being watched closely within the industry.

Norwood emphasized that the company would be maintaining and servicing products from Ektron and the original EPIServer for years to satisfy existing cli­ents.

"We want every Ektron and EPIServer customer to feel good about their invest­ments in products," he said. "There is no short-term sunsetting plan. We are still actively enchancing support for product lines, and will for many years to come."

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531, dbrooks@nashua telegraph.com and @GraniteGeek.