New acquisition, new HQ fuel Rogue Wave’s growth

LOUISVILLE — Powered by this month’s acquisition of Zend Technologies and growing into a larger headquarters space, software-development toolmaker Rogue Wave Software is gearing up for new hires to serve clients across five major web-development languages.

The company, which just moved from Boulder to Louisville, acquired Cupertino, Calif.-based PHP web and mobile-application developer Zend Technologies on Oct. 7. Zend, which was founded in Israel, drew its name from co-founders Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans.

Gaining Zend’s PHP-scripting expertise “still tells our code story, but to different people,” said Christine Bottagaro, Rogue Wave’s marketing manager.

“We focus at the code level, so people don’t start from scratch and can develop faster,” she said – “rich content without worrying about spell check.”

With half the web workload now running on PHP, including Magento, Drupal and WordPress, Zend products drive the scripting language from code creation through production deployment. “With the addition of Zend, we now have products that speed C, C++, C#, Java, and PHP development, reflecting how software is created today across languages, platforms, and teams,” said Rogue Wave chief executive Brian Pierce.

PHP is “a dynamic language, not pure code,” Bottagaro said. “With mobile banking, Internet of Things, all these things adding to what websites are asked to do, it’s no longer the window dressing on a website.”

The expansion of Rogue Wave’s scope is part of what led to its move from a 17,000-square-foot space at 5500 Flatiron Parkway in Boulder to a hilltop building it shares with Global Healthcare Exchange LLC at 1315 W. Century Drive in Louisville. The new space is about 20,000 square feet.

“We were pretty focused on high-performance computing, and we still continue to serve that community,” Bottagaro said. But when Rogue Wave acquired Broomfield’s cloud-based open-source software company OpenLogic in 2013 and source-code analysis vendor KlocWork in 2014, she said, “that story didn’t feel right any more” – especially in a space designed for 1980s-era cubicles.

“We were growing past what the office would support,” she said. “Toward the end, when we knew we were moving, we’d have to tell people, ‘Could you come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays? There’s somebody else in that cube on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“We were looking for a way to rebrand,” she added. “We decided an open environment was something to be sought out. The Louisville move gave us the opportunity to start with a blank slate.

“We also wanted to get closer to the (U.S. Highway) 36 corridor,” Bottagaro said. “Boulder is a great, innovative, pioneering place – but many of the younger talent is moving closer to Denver.”

Rogue Wave, backed by private equity, has grown from about 70 employees when it was in Boulder to about 100 in Louisville, Bottagaro said, adding that “there’s room for more.”