Smart Libraries Newsletter has previously reported on the majority acquisition of Innovative Interfaces, Inc. and SkyRiver Technologies by a pair of private equity firms, Huntsman Gay Global Capital and JMI Equity. In the initial transaction, company cofounder Jerry Kline sold the majority of the company, but retained a stake and served as the chairman of a newly constituted Board of Directors. In a subsequent transaction that closed the end of January 2013, Kline divested his remaining shares to the investment firms. Huntsman Gay and JI Equity now own 100 percent of Innovative Interfaces and SkyRiver. No information is publicly available regarding financial details such as the valuation of the company or the portion of shares retained by Kline following the initial transaction. Kline also has resigned from the company's board of directors, having divested his ownership and concluding his strategic and operational involvement.
As previously reported, Neil Block departed the company in December 2012. He has recently joined Polaris Library Systems as Vice President of Strategic Growth.
This ownership transition brings to a conclusion Innovative's longstanding status as being owned and led by its founder. Kline's active role has been diminishing for a number of years, beginning with the appointment of Neil Block as company President in 2010. The March 2012 sale of the majority ownership to private equity investors ushered in a new executive team by Kim Massana. The exit of Jerry Kline provides some clarity that the direction of the company will be shaped according to the strategies of its new ownership. The middle management of the company and operational personnel remain largely intact as the company enters this new phase.
It's important to note the contributions of Jerry Kline. He led the company for 35 years, from its start in his garage, as it became one of the largest and most successful companies in the library automation industry. Under his leadership the company created many products used successfully by libraries in many regions of the globe. Never one to take a passive role, Kline has been a prominent figure in the library automation industry. In addition to cofounding Innovative Interfaces, Kline's legacy includes launching SkyRiver, filing a lawsuit against OCLC for monopolistic and anticompetitive practices, and a long history of passionately representing the interests of his companies.
We can anticipate that the company under new ownership and leadership will build on that strong foundation. On the product front, Innovative Interfaces has completed the initial release of its new Decision Center, designed to help libraries use a variety of metrics in support of a more data-driven approach to collection development. The product taps data from circulation history, such as check-outs and hold requests, patron demographics, fund expenditures, current item inventories, and transit times. The tool can be used to optimize collections through weeding, targeted acquisitions, and redistribution of items.
Libraries implementing Decision Center include the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Jefferson County Public Library, and the Tulsa City-County Library. Response to the company's new Sierra library services platform continues to be strong, especially from libraries already running Millennium.