One of Nelson’s biggest success stories of the last decade has been acquired by a California company, in a move its principal says bodes well for everyone.
Santa Ana-based CoreLogic bought local real estate software firm Tarasoft last month for an undisclosed price.
Founder Seain Conover, who is staying on, says although Tarasoft is being rolled into CoreLogic’s MarketLinx division, they will continue to operate in Nelson.
“I’ve heard some folks from the Chamber, for instance, ask about potential job losses,” he says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. What they’ve really done is placed all the other project strategy and direction under our team here.”
Tarasoft’s Matrix product is used by 17 multiple listing services across North America, including ones in St. Louis, Montreal, Minnesota, California, Washington, and Kansas — each with thousands of members.
Conover says they will be given responsibility for other products and “much wider direction” in charting the industry’s future.
“We’ll oversee Matrix, but also 12 or 13 other products, including ones we were competing with as recently as a month ago,” he says. “Our team is going to be critically involved in all future roadmapping.”
Conover adds he’s excited from a personal perspective, since he will be able to resume a more hands-on role in software development.
“I’ve been doing many other things over the years. Life gets busier with the administrative, legal, and financial sides. But the thing that matters most to me is turning ideas into a real life product that serves professionals. That’s a lot of fun.”
Conover says the sale came together “relatively quickly.”
“The industry has gotten much more sophisticated. There are fewer companies today but serving a much richer platform. For a number of reasons it made sense to join forces.”
CoreLogic was previously Tarasoft’s biggest competitor.
Before acquiring Tarasoft, CoreLogic served 130 multiple listing services. The company has over 6,500 employees and posted revenues of $1.6 billion in 2010.
“This is a growth play for us, not a ‘reduce redundancies and overlapping costs’ play,” CoreLogic MarketLinx CEO Ben Graboske said in a news release. “Tarasoft has done a great job growing, and we want them to continue to grow.”
Nelson as tech incubator
Since arriving in Nelson from Vancouver in 1996, Conover has watched Tarasoft go from two employees to over 30. They also have a few on Vancouver Island, where co-principal Brian de Schepper is based.
With the company’s sale, those employees will join 250 others in the CoreLogic MarketLinks division, and assume responsibility for a broader range of software.
But Conover says he wouldn’t entertain leaving Nelson.
“It’s what I consider home. Even if I had an opportunity to go somewhere else, I wouldn’t,” he says. “My kids were born here.”
Conover wrote his first line of code in 1989, founded his company the following year, and soon after made the “terrifying jump” from zero to two employees.
“In the early years because we didn’t have as sophisticated recruiting, we ended up [hiring] a lot of local folks, but it became a little harder,” he says.
Today about one-third of the staff is native to the area or has lived here their whole lives, another third was recruited from outside, and the remaining third is comprised of “folks who moved here and then discovered us. They came here for lifestyle choices, not a job first.”
(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that CoreLogic served eight multiple listing services before acquiring Tarasoft.)