Equifax buys local eThority: Company to stay, grow in Charleston, founder says
Charleston-based software firm eThority has sold itself to consumer credit reporting giant Equifax, but the West Ashley company isn't leaving town or shedding employees, according to its founder.
Instead, fueled by its new partnership with TALX, a St. Louis-based unit of Equifax, eThority has decidedly uppercase growth plans while keeping its lowercase character.
"The same people, the same leadership, the same vision," said Mike Psenka, eThority's president and CEO. "It is Equifax's intent to build a center of business analytics excellence in Charleston."
Psenka, who moved to Charleston and launched the company in 1992 when his wife started medical school, wouldn't say how many people he's looking to hire but said he's interested in professional services consultants, technical programming staff as well as sales representatives. The firm has about 20 employees at its Savannah Highway office and another handful that work remotely.
"We believe we will see our organization scale considerably in the coming quarters," Psenka said. He said there is "pent-up demand" from TALX customers.
The partnership has been in a pilot phase since spring, Psenka said, and the deal was announced Sunday. The terms of the sale, which is expected to close by the end of the month, were not disclosed.
Asked to explain the expected synergies Monday, Psenka still seemed to be in the selling mood.
"We're sort of like 'Moneyball' for business," Psenka said, referring to the book and movie about Billy Beane's unique analytical approach to assembling a successful Oakland A's baseball team on a low budget.
He also compared his software's presentation of business data to a browser's ability to bring the Internet to non-programmers. And with Apple scheduled to make an iPhone announcement today, Psenka offered another consumer analogy for those not conversant in business intelligence and human resources software.
"The simplistic way to think about it is we're the iPod, and Equifax is going to be the iTunes," he said.
TALX's "businessTunes" are workforce performance, retention and compensation data, Psenka said, and eThority is a "user-obvious" platform from which to display it, some for the first time. EThority, which Psenka said is "data agnostic," has also been used in other contexts, like higher education and sports.
Psenka had rejected several offers to buy eThority before deciding to go with Equifax, which had been a customer. While the other interested parties wanted eThority to come improve their analytics, Psenka wanted to continue to work on his product and remain in Charleston, where he and his wife, now a doctor at the Medical University of South Carolina, have four children.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him at twitter.com/kearney_brendan.