Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to find budding Rule Breakers finds proof that there's still big money in deep tech, that taking the long view can be very profitable, and that there are two more Baby Breaker IPOs.
We begin this week with a technology called Web services and a company called Bowstreet. Simply put, a Web service is an application that exposes itself -- in a wholesome and useful way -- over the World Wide Web. The purpose, typically, is to exchange data with other applications to provide a collection of results. Think of shopping sites such as Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Froogle, or travel sites such as Expedia. Even the EDGAR database, run by the Securities and Exchange Commission, uses electronic document and messaging protocols to produce information that benefits investors.
Bowstreet knew this idea was big stuff back when the company was founded in 1998. But the bursting of the tech bubble did more than its share of damage to the company. Last October, it was forced to recapitalize with a $7.6 million round of funding, after burning completely through some 170 employees and $145 million in capital.
The technology that drives Bowstreet, however, has persisted. And IBM (NYSE: IBM ) has used the technology to such great effect that it decided this week it was time to buy the company. Terms weren't disclosed, but VentureWire quoted a Bowstreet investor who said it was a cash deal and that a modestly positive return had been achieved. I'd call that deserving for a firm that's had an important, if small and undistinguished, role in the development of the Web as we know it today.
Next up is CorSolutions Medical, which 11 years ago began developing interactive websites to help chronically ill patients manage their health care. The company has struggled throughout the ups and downs of the medical IT market -- till last week, that is. Matria Healthcare (Nasdaq: MATR ) on Thursday agreed to buy CorSolutions for $445 million.
It's a nice ending for a deserving, patient company. But it's also a good outcome for the investors, including HLM Venture Partners, Hillman Medical, CB Health Ventures, and Humana Venture Capital. VentureWire reports that these and others had invested roughly $70 million in the company over the past decade. HLM, in particular, owns 7% of CorSolutions, making its payout $31.2 million. Assuming its initial investment was no more than $10 million, HLM scored a 212% return over as many as 11 years.
Is it any wonder that chief rebel and Fool co-founder David Gardner advises investors to think in terms of decades instead of years?
And in Baby Breaker public offerings:
- Pixelplus (Nasdaq: PXPL ) , a South Korean maker of chips for camera phones, launched its shares Wednesday at $8 per stub, well below initial projections of $12.50 to $14.50 per share, according to Reuters. That closely follows similarly lowered projections for Flash-memory chip maker Spansion (Nasdaq: SPSN ) , which made its debut last Friday at a relatively meek $12 per share. Fortunately, it's up nearly 17% since.
- NUCRYST Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: NCST ) , a spinoff of Westaim that uses silver-laden wound care products to ward off infections, made its appearance Thursday at $10 per share. That, too, was below initial forecasts of $12 to $14 per share, according to Reuters. The stock ended the trading day unchanged at $10 and is up just five cents higher as of this writing.
That's all for this week, which means it's time to say good-bye, and I hope you're having a happy holiday season. This column will be back on Jan. 6. Till then, let's keep vigilant in our quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
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Fool contributorTim Beyerscan say officially that he's never, ever had a real suntan. Really. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.