What: Founder, president-CEO
Where: webMethods Inc.
Phillip Merrick is as low-key as the b-to-b integration technology his company provides. Even after hitting the IPO jackpot last February—hailed as the fourth most successful IPO ever, based on first-day price gain—the Australian-born techie at heart still drives a 1996 Honda.
It’s a fitting car for the CEO of a company that too often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, in part because its software handles the less-than-flashy task of helping companies integrate their data and systems via the Internet. Merrick calls his company "the plumbers who make b-to-b work."
Merrick founded webMethods Inc. with partner Charles Allen in 1996 to help companies move data around in support of b-to-b applications. As data-sharing standard extensible markup language took off, so did Merrick’s company. WebMethods delivered one of the first-ever XML-based systems for b-to-b integration.
The payoff was huge, but the company wasn’t an overnight success. Merrick banged on VCs’ doors for months, trying in vain to convince them of the power of b-to-b e-commerce. Finally, customers—and the marketplace—came to understand the power of Merrick’s vision.
Today, the company is valued at $3.7 billion. With more than 400 customers, comprised not of dot-coms but instead of Global 2000 powerhouses such as Dell Computer Corp., Eastman Chemical Co. and Dun & Bradstreet Corp., Merrick is guiding a company that has already proven it is in the b-to-b game for the long haul.
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