e.magination buys assets of PDS, which is closing

`We were always a fan their product,' says CEO of acquiring Web firm

January 23, 2002|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

e.magination Networks LLC, a Baltimore Internet firm, said yesterday that it acquired the assets of the local technology company Professional Development Solutions Inc., which is closing.

Through the deal, e.magination bought three Web-based products for businesses: one to organize sales forces, one to manage projects and one to allow customers to quickly set up a Web site with special features. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"We were always a fan of their product," said Brian Ocheltree, chief executive officer of e.magination.

e.magination was founded in 1999 when Ocheltree and Syd Rubin, now e.magination's president, merged their businesses. Now, it offers services including marketing, Web design, advertising and e-commerce. Located in Locust Point, the 85-employee tech company has never had layoffs, Ocheltree said.

Across the harbor in Canton, Professional Development Solutions, or PDS, was founded in February 2000 under the name Business Monkey. At its high, the company had 35 employees and offices in Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia. The company is expected to close by the end of the month. Its chief executive officer, Chris Foster, said the company had 15 employees in December, when the decision was made to sell the assets. PDS was profitable, but it wouldn't have been able to stay profitable, he said.

"It's an unusual situation to shut down a company when you're profitable," he said. "But being profitable today doesn't mean you will be next year."

As part of the deal, e.magination will also take PDS' clients, both executives said.

Ocheltree said the products would allow his company to launch projects faster and for less money. They would also let e.magination target a lower-budget market of companies that want a smaller start for their Internet ventures.

"Ideally, I then become the incumbent when they want to grow that to a larger project," Ocheltree said. "Hopefully they'll call me first because I've shown them my competence in that area."

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