Ottawa's Crank Software acquired by publicly traded U.S. giant Ametek

Crank founders
Crank Software founders (from left) Thomas Fletcher, Brian Edmond and Jason Clarke. Photo by Mark Holleron

Fourteen years after it began life as an upstart graphical interface firm headquartered above a pub on March Road, Crank Software now finds itself in a much higher-rent district ​– the S&P 500.

The fast-growing Ottawa software firm announced Monday it’s been acquired by global electronics manufacturer Ametek, a publicly traded powerhouse with more than 17,000 employees and annual revenues of nearly US$5 billion. 

Financial terms of the transaction, which closed earlier this month, were not disclosed. Ametek said in a release the deal was one of three acquisitions it’s finalized over the past few weeks worth a total of US$270 million.

Crank co-founder and president Brian Edmond told OBJ the 39-employee Kanata firm had not been actively seeking a buyer and was focused on continuing to grow independently. But when Ametek floated the idea of acquiring the company late last year, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“They really want to invest in us,” Edmond said. “They can really help us accelerate the growth of the business. That was pretty exciting for us.”

Crank develops software that helps users interact with embedded screens and displays. The company now has more than 250 customers, including Coca-Cola, GE Appliances, John Deere and Nintendo.

'A lot of value'

Crank had also worked with Ametek on several projects in the past, including on-screen displays for instruments on heavy-truck dashboards and equipment used in food and beverage plants.

“We’ve found a lot of value in their software,” said Ametek vice-president of investor relations Kevin Coleman. “I think it’s going to be a really good fit.”    

Coleman said Ametek sees huge upside in bringing the Canadian company into its fold, adding the manufacturer plans to keep expanding its product offerings through robust R&D investments.

“One of the many things that we like about Crank is they’re very diverse,” he said. “We can really help provide a good bit of infrastructure to help them scale their growth.”

Based in the greater Philadelphia area, Ametek is one of the largest manufacturing firms in the United States. The company ranked No. 538 on the Fortune 1000 list last year, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, and its stock is one of the components of the prestigious S&P 500 index.

Sampford Advisors CEO Ed Bryant, who represented Crank in the transaction, called Ametek a “truly strategic” partner for the Ottawa firm, “one that can accelerate the growth of Crank both in North America and internationally.”

Edmond said tapping into Ametek’s worldwide sales and marketing network will help accelerate his firm’s push into new global markets. While Crank does business across North America, Asia and Europe, it had few feet on the ground in those continents. 

“That will let us reach more customers and be closer to them,” he said.

The firm will remain a standalone entity headquartered in the National Capital Region and will continue to operate under the Crank Software banner. Edmond said he and co-founders Jason Clarke and Thomas Fletcher see an exciting future ahead as they continue to build the business under new ownership.

“It’s always nice to have someone show interest in what you’ve built and in actually maintaining the team in place,” he said. “It’s good that they see the value … and the potential of the company.”