The Year in Tech

It was a year of investment and acquisitions in the technology world with several major deals going down in printing technology, cloud-based applications and software applications.

One of the heavy hitters in technology investment this year was Koch Equity Development LLC, the investment and acquisition subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., which also owns Lycra parent company Invista. It will invest more than $2 billion in Infor—the New York–based provider of cloud-based, industry-specific business applications—in a bid to help Infor accelerate innovation and expand distribution.

Infor’s customers include companies in fashion, retail, distribution, healthcare, the public sector and manufacturing. For the apparel and retail industries, Infor supplies ERP (enterprise resource planning) and PLM (product lifecycle management) software.

Another significant investment was by Electronics for Imaging Inc., a printing technology firm based in Fremont, Calif., which acquired Israel-based design software firm Optitex Ltd. for approximately $52.8 million.

Optitex produces 2-D and 3-D fashion design and prototyping software for textile designers, retailers, brands and manufacturers, including Under Armour, Coach, Levi Strauss & Co., Theory, Chico’s, Perry Ellis and Patagonia. Optitex’s staff of 100 will be joining EFI, and Optitex Chief Executive Officer Asaf Landau will serve as the general manager of EFI Optitex.

This was the year that Gerber Technology got a new private-equity partner after San Francisco–based Vector Capital sold its shares to American Industrial Partners for an undisclosed amount.

Tolland, Conn.–based Gerber Technology provides software and system solutions to more than 78,000 customers and works with companies in aerospace, construction, furniture, fashion and apparel, transportation, technical textiles, packaging, wind energy, and sign and graphics industries. The company’s products include CAD (computer-assisted design) software for pattern design and grading and PLM software and automated systems for material preparation and production. Vector Capital had been an investor in Gerber Technology since 2011.

On the acquisitions side, Epson Italia S.p.A., the Italian subsidiary of printing company Epson, bought a 100 percent stake in the Italian textile printing business Fratelli Robustelli S.r.l.

Epson has worked with Fratelli Robustelli since 2003 to provide digital inkjet technology. The company expected the acquisition to drive synergies and provide added value at a time when the digital textile printing market is expected to grow by 25 percent annually.

Based in Como, Italy, Robustelli develops, manufactures and sells digital inkjet textile printers, including the Monna Lisa series, which it began developing with Epson in 2003. Epson provides inkjet technology such as printheads and ink for Robustelli’s digital textile printers. The companies have been working together since that time “to promote digitalization by building the total solution support structure from development through manufacture, sales and after-sales support,” the company said.