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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 24, 2008 at 5:04 PM

Ramping up and hiring: WatchGuard, Attachmate, Ontela …

The economy stinks and venture funding may be slowing a bit, but the WTIA Investment Forum was packed with companies saying they’re expanding and hiring like crazy.

Francisco Partners founder Benjamin Ball mentioned during his keynote that WatchGuard has done better than expected since it was acquired by his Bay Area buyout firm in 2006. They had expected to make money back just from its cash flow, but now they’re focused on how to get further ahead of its competitors and invest for growth.

In the hallway afterward, he said that means they’re hiring to build up both the sales and research and development groups.

Ball said Attachmate’s also growing and hiring, but checking the job listings afterward, it looks like a lot of the openings are in its NetIQ subsidiary in Houston. Ball said he’s expecting NetIQ to really get rolling over in the next year or so, as Vista spreads into big companies.

Then I bumped in Ontela Chief Executive Dan Shapiro, who said his company is scaling up to service new customers such as Alltel Wireless, which began bundling Ontela’s photo handling software April 16.

Ontela moved into a larger space in Smith Tower, where Shapiro plans to double the 35-person team over the next year.

Of course. they’ll have to compete with Nokia, Disney, Microsoft and everyone else that’s on a hiring tear.

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