Demco Software has been established as a new technology-focused company, operating as a division of Demco, Inc., a major distributor of furniture, supplies, and other products. This new division brings together the technology companies that Demco has recently acquired, Evanced Solutions and Boopsie.
Evanced Solutions was acquired by Demco in May 2011. The company had developed a variety of products to assist libraries with managing their programs, services, and facilities. Key products offered by Evanced include the Spaces room and equipment booking system, event management and SignUp calendar, and the event management software. The company also developed the Wandoo Reader, a reading engagement platform for children. It helps an organization manage a reading program that uses gamification concepts to motivate students to read and track their progress. Wandoo Reader was launched by Evanced Solutions in June 2014. Its mobile app D!BS enables students to find and reserve study rooms in the library or on campus.
Evanced had also developed a fully self-contained vending machine for library materials available for self-service checkout and return called BranchAnywhere. This product was launched in March 2010 but is not currently marketed. Evanced was founded in January 2002 by Rob Cullin and Todd Cutler and employed 21 employees at the time it was acquired by Demco.
Demco acquired Boopsie, a company specializing in developing mobile-friendly apps and content platforms for libraries in October 2015. Tony Medrano served as President and CEO of Boopsie from April 2013 through 2016. Boopsie based its products on a platform-as-a-service architecture, enabling it to efficiently create and deploy customized apps for libraries, including online catalog functionality. The company formed partnerships with a diverse set of organizations to integrate content and services into its mobile platform, including EBSCO Information Services, ProQuest, OverDrive, Baker & Taylor, and Recorded Books. Boopsie Analytics, introduced in 2014, provided libraries with detailed data describing how their patrons access resources via the mobile app. Boopsie was founded in 2006 by Greg Carpenter and Dr. Tim Kay. In early 2015, just prior to its acquisition by Demco, Boopsie employed 13 personnel. The May 2015 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter included a feature on Boopsie, including its product strategies and corporate background.
Demco Software also distributes BrainHQ to the public library sector. This service, developed by Posit Science is positioned as a brain fitness program that guides users through exercises designed to provide benefits, such as improved cognation and reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly.
New Leadership for Demco Software
Ravi Singh was appointed as Executive Director of Demco Software in January 2017. Prior to joining Demco, Singh was Senior Vice President of Technology for Tillster, a company that provided self-service ordering technology products for the restaurant industry. He founded NaviVision in 2000, a platform based on data extraction and semantic search in support of marketing analysis.
The formation of Demco Software as a new corporate division joining the efforts of Evanced and Boopsie is a logical move to internally consolidate a set of related business acquisitions. The products involved span an interesting variety of functions that aim to help libraries manage some of their key patron-facing services. Bringing them together into a technology-focused organization and under a seasoned professional should result in opportunities for the company to strengthen Demco's position in the library technology sector.
Demco Corporate Background
Demco, the parent company of Demco Software, is a wellestablished purveyor of products and services to libraries. The company was originally established in 1905 as a division of the Madison-based Democrat Printing Co. Demco was owned by Norman Bassett from 1931–1972.
The headquarters are located in Madison, WI. Demco is a subsidiary of Wall Family Enterprise, which is privately owned by the children of John Wall. According to the organization's website, John Wall was named President of Demco in 1968, became majority owner of the company in 1978, and gained full ownership in 1988. Mike Grasee has served as President of Demco since September 2008.
Demco has strengthened its position as the leading supplier to libraries through multiple business acquisitions. In May 2003, Demco purchased Gaylord Bros., its chief competitor in the library supplies sector. In December 2010, Demco acquired its competitor Highsmith from W.W. Granger.
Aside: Missed Chance for Polaris
The acquisition of Gaylord Bros. did not include Gaylord Information Systems, the company's technology division that had developed the Galaxy and Polaris ILSs for public libraries. Since Demco purchased the Gaylord brand, Gaylord Information Systems took the name GIS Information Systems. Gaylord was one of the earliest developers of technology for library circulation, beginning with mechanical equipment, and later introducing some of the earliest computer-based systems. Following the sale of Gaylord Bros. to Demco, GIS Information Systems grew to become one of the most successful technology companies in the public library sector. Its Polaris ILS became especially popular for large consortia and municipal library systems. The company was renamed to Polaris Library Systems in May 2005. Innovative Interfaces acquired Polaris in March 2014. It is interesting to note that Demco opted not to purchase the technology division of Gaylord back in 2003 and is now working to strengthen its position in the library technology sector.