Tech layoffs: SevOne cuts back

SevOne, the "infrastructure digital management" company which employed more than 500 running networks for Comcast, Lockheed, Russia's Sberbank, and other big companies from its 230-person office in Newark, Del. and a similar-sized center in Bulgaria, has started its second round of mass layoffs since last fall, the Wilmington News-Journal reports here.  Casualties include the company's 26-person Philadelphia office, which is closing.

SevOne grew rapidly after a $150 million 2013 investment led by Bain Capital, which bought out Philadelphia-based Osage Ventures, former SunGard chairman Jack Ryan and other early SevOne investors in the firm founded by University of Delaware graduates Vess and Tanya Bakalov and partners.

Another $50 million investment in 2014 was led by Bain and Westfield Capital Management, also including HarbourVest, VT Technology Ventures and Osage, and was followed by SevOne's headquarters move from Newark, Del. to Bain's hometown of Boston, where the Bakalovs and CEO Jack Sweeney are based.

The company hasn't explained the job cuts.  Just last month, CEO Sweeney announced "SevOne READY," a program of "collaboration across the entire digital infrastructure environment," with partners including "leading digital infrastructure vendors include Cisco, Ciena, Dell, Gigamon, HP Enterprise, Ixia, Juniper Networks, Pure Storage, and Viptela."

SevOne's Web site still lists Comcast and LockheedMartin as clients, along with HBO, technology outsourcing firm CSC, Verizon and others.

Last summer I visited the company's new offices adjoining the University of Delaware, where gimmicks designed to keep tech workers happy included a two-story sliding board for adults and a Ping Pong table. "We're trying to fill 150 seats for developers," HR director Rick Harman told me at the time.

SevOne officials showed me the space where they said they planned to install "Bloom Box" natural-gas energy units constructed at the neighboring, Delaware ratepayer-subsidized Bloom Energy factory. 

Like SevOne with its recent layoffs, Bloom is a state-aided business that has so far disappointed by failing to create or maintain the workforce officials expected.

Both are located on the "STAR Campus," the sprawling former Chrysler Corp. plant site purchased by the University of Delaware.

College programs have moved into a wing of the former Chrysler office building at the complex.

Much of the rest of  the ground has been turned into a light-industrial and office park, where Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and other elected officials hoped to attract private-sector tech, medical and semi-skilled jobs after the state suffered a wave of heavy-industry plant closings in the late 2000s.