International Microcomputer Software Inc, best known for its expertise in the area of computer-aided design software, has been quietly expanding its scope in the past couple of years. In 1994-1995 the company – which had been selling its CAD software mostly by mail order – felt that it might not survive unless it moved into […]
International Microcomputer Software Inc, best known for its expertise in the area of computer-aided design software, has been quietly expanding its scope in the past couple of years. In 1994-1995 the company – which had been selling its CAD software mostly by mail order – felt that it might not survive unless it moved into the retail space. To do that successfully, says president and chief executive Martin Sacks, you have to have more than one product line. Consequently, IMSI jumped into the graphics and desktop publishing markets and hasn’t looked back. The company now offers products in the areas of CAD, utilities, consumer applications, office productivity, and desktop publishing and graphics. It has everything from clip art to speech recognition to project management apps. But hopping into all these areas in a relatively short period of time can spread your resources too thin and effectively leave you fighting a multi-front war against a wide variety of competitors. The notion doesn’t scare Sacks, though, who has subsequently organized his company into five business units to insure that each of its product lines receives full support. Looking elsewhere for products is a key part of IMSI’s growth. Its mapping software was acquired through the purchase of Maplinx Corp (CI No 3,204), while some of its clip art and family tree tracing software (yes, really) was acquired from Corel Corp, a deal which also came with a 20-strong Corel development team. In September, IMSI acquired MediaPaq Inc (CI No 3,252) with the aim of incorporating its browser into the HiJaak graphics utility which was bought from Quarterdeck Inc. Sacks insists that he won’t buy anything unless he get the proprietary rights to the technology and feels he can add value to it.
Fastest growing in US
The company does a lot of its own development, as well, with 140 out of its 300 employees involved in research and development. IMSI spends 12% of its revenue on R&D but, Sacks points out, since a fair amount of it is done in Russia, it is more like 20% of revenues after currency considerations. IMSI is a company driven to succeed in all its markets, and confident that it will do so. It wouldn’t shy away from taking on more, either through more purchases or internal development. Sacks says he’s quite willing to create new business units if he needs to. He insists he has no designs on becoming the number one player, revenue wise, in every area, but is more concerned with creating good products for value-minded customers. Thus far, his guidance of the company has seen its yearly revenues grow from $4m in 1991 (when he took the reins), to $25m in 1994 and $42m last year. Sacks proudly points out that PC Data names IMSI as the fastest growing productivity software company in the US, ranking it the 28th largest publisher in the US retail market, up from 41st only last February. Last month, IMSI reported net profit of $960,000, excluding pre-tax acquisition charges of $6.4m, on revenue up 54% at $12.5m.