Charles Babbage Institute: The Computing Industry in Minnesota > A-B
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Minnesota Computing Companies

A

Advanced Circuits (established 1982)


Advanced Scientific Instruments (established 1961; ceased 1964)

ASI was incorporated on March 23, 1961. Its president, Francis J. Alterman, had been manager of General Mill's Digital Computer Laboratory. Prior to that, Mr. Alterman had been technical assistant to the president of Electronic Computer Corporation;  the project manager for the Elecom 100 Computer; and head of the research section of W. L. Maxon Corporation.  Ralph E. Mueller, ASI's executive vice president, had been a marketing representative at General Mills.  He had also worked at the Aircraft and Ordinance Division of National Presto in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

ASI's first product was the Advance II, a large, fast computer that did not require air conditioning. 

In 1964 ASI was acquired by Schlumberger and became EMR-Computer, with operations located at 8001 Bloomington Freeway. 

Source:
Upper Midwest Investor (November 1961) 26-31.
William C. Christian. "Minnesota: Alive with Electronics," Data Systems News (November 1969) 29.

Aggregate Computing (established 1990)


American Data Corporation (established 1968)

See: Data 100 Corporation

AmeriData, Inc. (established 1968)


Analyst (established 1969)


Analysts International (established 1966)

Analysts International, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, (Nasdaq: ANLY) serves more than 900 corporate and governmental clients. The company has offices in more than 45 locations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It provides valued services and expertise in eBusiness/eCommerce, business solutions, managed services, technical staffing and professional consulting.
Analysts International chronology

1966 Frederick W. Lang forms Analysts International Corporation (AiC) in March of 1966. The company's initial operations took place from a carriage house behind Mr. Lang's home. Mr. Victor C. Benda joins the company and later becomes president of Analysts International. 

They establish three regional offices: Midwest (Minneapolis, Minnesota); Eastern (Washington D.C.); and Western (Los Angeles, California).  In order to get "on the local market," Analysts International purchases Nucleonics, a publicly held company that had developed a wood rot detector. 
1967 Engages in its Far Eastern (Japanese) operations.
1968 Purchases its corporate building facility.
1969 Analysts International acquires the assets of United Capital Investors Company, including its office building, which houses the corporate headquarters until 1999.
1970 Analysts International negotiates its first national agreement with General Motors, ushering in a period of several years during which Analysts is one of the largest suppliers of outside programming services to GM.  Analysts International is recruited to contribute to the development of programs for the U.S. Army's anti-ICBM missile systems at Huntsville, Alabama.
1976 Stock is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol ANLY.
1979 13 offices are added: Atlanta, Binghamton, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Huntsville, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Spokane. Management reorganization takes place -- from two groups to six regions, each managed by a vice-president reporting to a newly formed operations division. 
1983 The first complete application generator, Corvet, is developed and marketed by AiC. 
1985 Four objectives from the 1984 annual meeting are met: increased revenues through sales force expansion (up 44%), expansion of technical staff (30% expansion), internal use of our own Corvet Application Generator, and increased market penetration without adding branches (ex: St. Louis develops CCAS). 
1990 Revenues top $100 million, with staff at 1,700. Work is performed during the year for more than 500 clients, including many that were served in the company's first five years and continue as clients today.  Analysts International is ranked 54th on Business Week's list of the "100 Best Small Companies."
1997 – 2000 Establishes new national practices: eBusiness, Rapid Application Design and Development, and Lawson Software. Revenues so far from $440 million in 1997 to $680 million today. 
Formal name is changed to Analysts International from AiC, emphasizing company's roots of innovation and change.
Mike LaVelle, regional vice president, is appointed new president and COO.
Four major lines of business are implemented: Solutions, Professional Consulting, Technical Staffing, and Managed Services. Analysts acquires Sequoia, a Michigan-based Internet professional services organization to help lead the design, building, and delivery of eBusiness solutions.
Source:
Analyzer (August 1986).
Analysts International company web site, September 2000.

Apertus Technolgies

Apertus Technologies, formerly Lee Data, develops data integration and middleware products. In May 1995, Apertus announced MQView, middleware for developing and managing enterprise-wide applications on IBM's MQSeries networks.  Apertus Technologies' offices are located in Eden Prarie, Minnesota.

Apertus Technologies acquired BlueLine Software, Inc., in June 1995.

Source:
"Software 100," Software Magazine (1995)

Aries Corporation (established 1962)


ASK Computer Systems (established 1974)


Assessment Systems Inc. (established 1979)


Astrocom Corporation (established 1968)


Astrocom Corporation Logo
Astrocom Corporation Logo

Astrocom has been producing communications technology since 1968. Initially situated in two buildings in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and now located in Plymouth, Minnesota, Astrocom was incorporated in November 1968 to design, develop, manufacturer and market data communications equipment. Astrocom’s founders, Robert E. Rife,  Earl J. Hansen, and Sidney N. Jerson worked at Univac.  Prior to establishing Astrocom, Mr. Rife was previously vice-president of marketing at Fabri-Tek and had also held marketing positions at Univac and Texas Instruments. Mr. Hansen previously worked for Control Data Corporation and Univac.  Mr. Jerson was employed by Control Data Corporation, Univac, Martin-Marietta and Advanced Industries, Inc. 

Astrocom's principal product line consists of data sets (modems), line matrix switches and automatic dialers, all marketed under the trade name Astroset. The Astroset modem line, which includes several synchronous and asynchronous Bell-compatible units, ranges in speed from 300 to 100,000 bits per second. Astroset line matrix switches optimize the distribution of data traffic between computers and terminals. Astrocom also manufactures custom-printed circuits for OEMs and end-users.  Astroset modems and related data communications equipment account for slightly more than half of the company's revenues; custom-printed circuit sales make up the remainder. 

Astroset 100 Modem, 1964
Astroset 100 Modem, 1964

In 2000, Astrocom Corporation announced the PowerLink DSL Bandwidth Aggregator, the first of a family of DSL Bonding Devices that can aggregate up to 16 DSL connections over a single bundled line. The PowerLink DSL Aggregator is offered in 4, 8 and 16 port models; it is designed to meet the exploding WAN bandwidth requirements in business and ISP environments by utilizing existing copper via multiple DSL connections. The PowerLink’s high bandwidth aggregation capabilities allows for increased Internet access speeds, load balancing and line redundancy.

Astrocom CSU/DSUs function as the interface to high bandwidth Telco services for applications such as fast Internet access, telemedicine, teleradiology, interactive distance learning, headquarters to branch office data, voice and video transfer, broadcast television interviews, corporate videoconferencing and more. Astrocom multiplexers reduce telecommunication costs by combining up to seven separate data paths onto a single communication line.  These products are used by private enterprises, health care providers, Internet service providers and subscribers, and government and educational entities that require high speed digital communications links between facilities. 

Source:
Modern Data (September 1974)
Astrocom Corporation press release, August 2000
Astrocom Corporation company web site, September 2000

Atron Corporation

Located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Atron Components, 1971
Atron Components, 1971

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B

B. I. Moyle Associates, Inc. (established 1978)

Founded by Bennett I. Moyle in 1978, B. I. Moyle Associates, Inc. (BIM) is a systems programming service specializing in DOC/VSE and CICS systems consulting, contract systems programming, program product development and marketing, and computer time service. BIM also performs contract VSE, CICS, and VM systems programming and related consulting, and provides computer time services. Clients are typically IBM computer user companies or software development firms. Work is performed on site or via mail for appropriate types of projects. Telephone consulting service contracts are also available. BIM rents computer time on its own IBM 9221 computer system. The control systems provided are VSE/ESA, CICS, VTAM, and most programming languages. Typical users are end user companies without a system of their own, other IBM VSE user firms with need for additional processing, hardware and software development and computer consulting firms. The BIM system is located in Minneapolis. Time is available onsite or over remote lines.

Source:
B. I. Moyle Associates, Inc., company web site, September 2000
Independent Computer Consultants Association web site, September 2000

B-Tree Systems, Inc. (established 1983; ceased 2000)
B-Tree is short for balanced-tree, a technique for organizing databases. B-Tree Verifications Systems is the leader in non-intrusive test automation systems. Design and test groups use B-Tree Systems’ tools, services and expertise to automate testing of software based products. B-Tree Systems’ non-intrusive, OS independent and fully-automated technology helps industries including medical, consumer electronics, portable devices, POS / kiosk, defense and industrial control to develop and test complex products. B-Tree’s solutions help companies meet market demand for fail-proof functionality and reliability, comply with regulatory and other standards, and meet time-to-market objectives. 

November 3, 1999 B-Tree® Systems Inc. announced that they have joined Mercury Interactive's Open Test Architecture Alliance program. B-Tree’s partnership with Mercury Interactive and proposed integration of the Validor® family of products with Mercury Interactive’s TestDirector® are part of a strategic initiative aimed to provide customers with a comprehensive framework to conduct testing for products that require electronic stimulation and monitoring.

June 7, 2000 Martin Hahn, president and chief executive officer of B-Tree Systems, Inc. since November 1999, refocused the small Eden Prairie company, added new management and changed the company's name to TestQuest, Inc., with headquarters to remain in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. 

See also: TestQuest, Inc.

Source:
B-Tree Systems, Inc., press release, November 3, 2000
St. Paul Pioneer Press (June 4, 2000)
TestQuest, Inc., company web site, September 2000

Banyon Data Systems, Inc. (established 1981)
Established in 1981, Banyon Data Systems (BDS) designs, develops and supports hardware and software solutions for public entities like, towns, townships, cities, libraries, and other public organizations. Banyon Data Systems has its headquarters in the Twin Cities.  Software applications and modules include: Fund Accounting, Utility Billing, Payroll, Fixed Assets, Permits, Licensing, Special Assessments, Voter Registration, Receivable Billing and Invoicing. Other popular applications include: Point of Sale, Work Order, Direct Deposit, Direct Payment and Meter Reading Device Interfaces. Over the past 19 years, the number of BDS software installations has grown to over 1000 nationwide. 

A key element of on-going success has been BDS' commitment to a product development strategy that focuses upon the needs of growing municipalities. One key principle of this strategy has been to develop software specifically for the needs of public entities. Unlike the approaches of many companies that acquire software packages from the private sector and modify them, BDS software was developed specifically in response to municipalities' unique requirements. Another key principle of the product development strategy has been the creation of a 'family' of software products - products that integrate and meet the full range of your organization’s software needs. 

Banyon Data Systems chronology of product introductions

1981 BDS introduces Basic Utility Billing software

1982 BDS Inventory and Sales Tax software is developed

1984 BDS releases municipal Fund Accounting software

1985 BDS Advanced Utility Billing software is developed

1986 BDS releases Payroll software and multiuser Fund Accounting

1987 BDS introduces Fixed Assets, Property Tax software

1988 BDS introduces Inventory Point-of-Sale software

1989 BDS develops Special Assessment software, Receipt Bar Code Entry and Remote Meter Reading modules for Advanced Utility Billing software, as well as PERA and Flex Plan/Cafeteria Plan interfaces for Payroll software

1990 BDS Receivable-Billing, Voter Registration, and Licensing software are introduced

1992 BDS develops Permits and Inspections software

1993 BDS releases Licensing software, Payroll Direct Deposit, AND Point-of-Sale

1994 BDS releases Fixed Asset/Work Order software, WI Retirement Reporting

1995 BDS participates in Windows95 beta testing, begins Windows development

1996 BDS develops software in Access ’97 for Windows ’95 and continues development and testing on Windows 95 release of software 

1997- 1999 Development continues on the Windows software products for Windows98/Windows2000

Source:
Banyon Data Systems, Inc., company web site, September 2000
Beagle Software Company (established 1997)
Beagle Software, founded in May 1997, supplies innovative and useful Internet enabled Windows programs that bring the power of the Internet to the desktop of the user. Together these products are called NetSet - a suite of Web enabled desk accessories for Windows.  Prior to founding the Company in 1988, Loren A. Singer, Jr. was an Engineering Development Manager at ADC Telecommunications, Inc. from 1983 to 1987. Mr. Singer was a design engineer at Porta Systems, Inc. from 1980 to 1983.

Beagle Software Company is located at 800 Washington Ave. N, Suite 418, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Source:
Beagle Software Company web site, October 2000

Benchmark Computer Learning

Benchmark, a privately-held, high-end computer training company, is based in Edina, Minnesota. Benchmark Computer Learning is Minnesota's largest technical computer training company and is an authorized training center and testing facility with Microsoft, Novell and Lotus. 

Benchmark offers public classes; provides instructor-led technology-delivered computer instruction to computer professionals who install, develop and maintain PC networks; and provides internet technologies, A+, Network+, and project management certification courses. Benchmark also provides custom classes solving individual organization's challenges, and offering one-on-one mentoring for on-site learning and technical assistance. 

Benchmark has been listed in the "50 Fastest Growing Private Companies," in CityBusiness (1997 and 1998). It has grown rapidly every year since 1988, and now offer 16 classrooms and the most highly skilled set of contract and exclusive instructors in the area. In 1999 Benchmark employed 50 full-time employees. 

Source:
"Corporate Backgrounder, May 2000." Benchmark Computer Learning company web site, September 2000.

Benchmark Computer Systems (established 1972)


Benchmark Laboratories, Inc. (established 1987)


Benchmark Media Services, Inc. (established 1999?)

Previously known as Braun Media Services, Inc.

BlueLine Software, Inc. (established 1985; ceased 1995)

From 1986 to 1992, Mr. Dennis E. Yost was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BlueLine Software, Inc.,  where he was responsible for establishing worldwide marketing and sales activities.  BlueLine Software was located at 5775 Wayzata Boulevard, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

BlueLine Software, Inc. was purchased by Apertus Technolgies in June of 1995 $8.75 million.

Braun Media Services, Inc. (established 1990)
Braun Media Services, Inc. has changed its name to Benchmark Media Services, Inc.

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