The Washington Post

Applied Predictive Technologies this month hired a chief financial officer with deep experience in taking private companies public, a sign that the closely watched Ballston-based data analytics company may be preparing its own initial public offering.

Jeff Babka, 60, who started last week, was chief financial officer of Neustar when that company filed a $700 million public offering in 2005. He also was CFO at global IT security firm Sophos, which was preparing for an offering before it was purchased by Apax Partners in 2010.

APT’s computer software crunches large amounts of data to help Subway, Wells Fargo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and other clients understand how best to price, sell and market their products. APT has been the subject of intense speculation in local technology circles since last June, when Goldman Sachs invested $100 million in the company. Many in the local investment technology and financial communities speculated that Goldman Sachs would eventually want to take the company public or sell it.

Babka — who leads IPO seminars for Ernst & Young — said his immediate goal is to continue to expand the company.

“At some point in time, when you are a private equity-owned company, there is going to be a liquidity event,” Babka said. “Perhaps it will be an IPO, perhaps a sale.”

The company was founded in 1999 by Chairman Jim Manzi, who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and once worked for Bell Labs; chief executive Anthony Bruce, formerly of Morgan Stanley and McKinsey; and managing director Scott Setrakian, formerly of Strategic Planning Associates.

Dot.What? Dot.Who?

FairWinds Partners is getting ready for the dot.blitz.

The Georgetown tech company, whose expertise is how best to exploit domain names, is hosting a conference this week aimed at educating the public about that funny little suffix at the end of Internet address bars, known as the top-level domain.

The conference is called “Beyond the Dot 2014” and it’s Feb. 19 at the Newseum.

”You are familiar with .com, .org, .gov, .edu,” said Fairwinds chief executive Nao Matsukata. “What we’re going to experience in the next 10 months is hundreds, if not thousands, of new extensions. We are going to see brand names like .Walmart, .Tiffany along with new generic words like .horse, .sexy, .hotel.”

Matsukata said the body that governs technical aspects of the Internet has taken steps to allow the expansion of domain names to promote innovation, business and creativity.

“In a very concrete way, the Internet real estate has expanded, and local businesses, businessmen and businesswomen will have more opportunity to have a Web presence,” he said.

Back to business

Barbara B. Lang, former head of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, is joining the private sector she heralded for a dozen years.

She has formed Lang Strategies, located in the Evening Star Building at 11th St. NW and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The consultancy will focus on helping its clients grow their business, map political strategies, hire well and work on employee morale and communications.

Lang has a team of five people, and she already expects to close on two client contracts next week.

“The digital age, global economy and the way businesses have to do business today is very different from 10 years ago,” Lang said. “Some see that and some do not. How do I help people see that they have to change the way they do business or else they are going to be left behind?”

Factoid of the Week

53That’s the percentage of the Class A shares of McLean-based Booz Allen Hamilton that the Carlyle Group still owns after it sold 7.35 million shares to Barclays Capital last week. Including the stock it still owns, Carlyle investors have tripled their money.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.



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