cVidya Exec Discloses Corporate HQ Moved From Israel to USA; News not widely shared

Regular readers of talkRA will know that I begin many posts with a simple, common formula. It goes something like the following:

[Insert vendor name here], the business assurance vendor based in [insert location here], has announced that [insert news here]; you can read the press release at [insert link here].

Now that I think about it, I am unsure why I habitually mention where the business is headquartered. Probably I do it because that is how business news is usually presented. When BP spilled some oil off the coast of the US, the press routinely mentioned that BP is a British company. American politicians get worked up about the purchase of telecoms gear manufactured by Chinese firms, and so on. The modern trend is for firms to be a bit vague about where they are from (which is why the official and proper name for BP is ‘BP’, as opposed to ‘British Petroleum’, and why my electricity supplier is ‘EDF’, and not ‘Électricité de France’). Even so, nationalities still matter to people, rightly or wrongly. Whilst I know many vendors have their headquarters in one country, a team of developers in another country, and yet more staff elsewhere, I comply with reporting conventions by noting the location of the corporate headquarters. So perhaps I owe an apology to cVidya, the third-largest vendor of business assurance software. It turns out I may have sometimes been wrong, when referring to cVidya as an Israeli company. In fact, cVidya is headquartered in the USA, and their Israeli operation is a subsidiary. Or at least, that is what one cVidya exec is saying…

I was tipped off about cVidya’s new domicile by a multinational telecoms group. They received an email from Ron Halpern, cVidya’s Executive Vice President responsible for Global Sales. In his email, Ron opened up by writing:

By way of introduction, my name is Ron Halpern and I’m the Executive Vice President of cVidya. As I understand from [name redacted]’s email, he is out of the office. cVidya is a US registered company (our parent company HQ offices are in Plantation, FL) with global subsidiaries across South America, Europe and Asia…

…As you may know, cVidya’s Israeli subsidiary…

So that is pretty clear then. cVidya’s global headquarters are in the US, at their Florida office. Please forgive any previous confusion. However, there are extenuating circumstances. For example, Mr. Halpern’s Linkedin profile looks like this:

Ron Halpern LinkedIn Screenshot

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Halpern is based in Israel. But that does not prove anything. Maybe Mr. Halpern works in a subsidiary office, or is home-based, instead of working from the global head office. Maybe his LinkedIn profile is out of date. So I clicked through to cVidya’s corporate LinkedIn profile, and saw:

Headquarters
3 Sapir St. , Ampa Bldg. , P.O.B 12003 Herzliya, Israel 46733 Israel

Hmmm. Well, maybe they forgot to update their corporate LinkedIn profile. And somebody should fix cVidya’s Wikipedia page as well, because it says:

Headquarters Herzlia, Israel

Possibly that was the result of some Wikipedia vandalism. We have all heard about RA clowns trashing Wikipedia. On this occasion, perhaps cVidya were the victims of a campaign to spread misinformation. On the other hand, the Wikipedia edit history suggests the content was entered by cVidya’s old PR firm. So perhaps the mistake is due to their new PR representatives failing to make the necessary updates.

By this point, I realized I was being silly. Corporate websites tell visitors where a company is headquartered. So I looked at cVidya’s website. Unfortunately, their corporate website is unusual. There is no mention of their headquarters. The site only says they have various regional offices. Which is odd. Ron Halpern divulged that the global parent company HQ is in Florida, whilst cVidya’s website merely states…

US Office
8211 West Broward Blvd.
Suite 460.
Plantation, Fl 33324, USA.

… alongside the addresses for their British, Israeli and Bulgarian offices.

So then I had another brainwave. I remembered that cVidya kept winning awards. This meant I could confirm their location by reference to awards where eligibility depends on nationality. When I looked at their list of awards, I saw that, in 2012, they had once again triumphed in the Deloitte ‘Technology Fast 50’ competition for the fastest growing Israeli companies, and the Deloitte ‘Technology Fast 500’ competition for the fastest growing technology companies in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The rules for Deloitte’s Fast 50 Israel state:

To be eligible for the Deloitte technology fast 50, your company must meet the following criteria… 4. Be headquartered within Israel.

And the rules for the Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA say that:

The Tech Fast 500 programme is determined through nominations, public company research and Deloitte Technology Fast 50 country programmes in EMEA… To participate, a technology company must meet the definitions and requirements as outlined below… 4. Have your headquarters within Europe, the Middle East or Africa or have shares listed on a European stock exchange (subsidiaries do not qualify).

cVidya is a privately owned business, not listed on any stock exchange. To be on the safe side, I double-checked where Deloitte thinks cVidya is based. Scrolling down to number 356 in the Fast 500, I saw that the entry reads:

Rank 356 Company cVidya Country Israel

To be fair, cVidya won those awards in 2012, so they may have quietly moved their headquarters to the USA in the meantime. So I checked which company is based at the address given for their US office. According to a publicly-available report, the company at cVidya’s Florida address is:

ECTEL INC
Also Traded as CVIDYA NETWORKS

That makes a lot of sense. ECtel was incorporated in the US because they were listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. When they merged with cVidya, they delisted and their offices turned into the US offices for the combined firm. But then I stopped. And thought again. Is this supposed to be the parent company for the whole group? cVidya bought ECtel, not the other way around. To be sure, I checked an old press release that explained the deal to merge ECtel with cVidya:

ECtel Shareholders Approve All-Cash Merger Transaction with cVidya Networks

ECtel Ltd. (NASDAQ: ECTX) (“ECtel” or the “Company”), a leading provider of Integrated Revenue Management™ (IRM®) solutions for communications service providers, announced today that at the extraordinary general meeting of shareholders held today, the Company’s shareholders voted to approve the sale of the Company to cVidya Networks Inc. (“cVidya”), a global leader in telecom revenue management, risk management, and dealer management solutions, by way of a merger pursuant to the merger agreement dated October 22, 2009, in a cash transaction valued at $21 million (less transaction expenses of approximately $430,000)…

…Following completion of the merger, ECtel will become a privately held company, indirectly wholly owned by cVidya.

By this point, I was tired of all this confusing and contradictory information about where cVidya are headquartered, and about which legal entities own which other legal entities. I decided the simplest solution would be to ask cVidya’s new PR representatives, the people tasked by cVidya to deal with media enquiries. I could find no listing of any PR representative in the USA. So I turned to their new PR reps in London; at least that meant a cheap call for me. cVidya’s PR representatives are Juliet Media International. Readers may remember I had contact with them in relation to a previous talkRA post. Emails from Juliet Media’s PR Director, Julia Simonova-Lopez, made the following offer:

If you have any questions about cVidya… please do not hesitate to contact me.

Well, this counts as a question about cVidya, so I called Julia. Unfortunately, she was out of the office. Her colleague was unable to confirm the address of cVidya’s global HQ, though he promised to get back to me. After waiting a few hours, I thought it prudent to publish this story as is; I will update this post when I hear more from Juliet Media International.

To reiterate, I apologize to cVidya if I have incorrectly described them as an Israeli business. Whilst all indications show that cVidya were originally headquartered in Israel, I was unaware they had legally relocated their HQ to the United States. Of course, I would have gladly corrected any errors, if cVidya had chosen to get in touch.

And yes, like before, I can still see how talkRA is regularly visited by cVidya employees. Hello to our many readers in Herzliya, Israel! To all those cVidya employees who read talkRA, I implore you to change your business’ attitude, and to stop ignoring my legitimate questions. For example, it is reasonable to demand transparency when software developers market a product that claims to evaluate corporate risk, ready for presentation to executives, but where the evaluation is conducted using secret embedded calculations. Even if cVidya choose to never answer a single pertinent question about products, financial results, or the way they are organized, it is amazing what people will still find out about them. Connectiva made the mistake of thinking silence is the same as a news blackout. It is not. Marketing is a public activity. That is why businesses engage public relations representatives. And it means businesses cannot opt out of public examination, as and when it suits them.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is a recognized expert on communications risk and assurance. He was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and others.   Eric was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He was a founding member of Qatar's National Committee for Internet Safety and the first leader of the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team. Eric currently sits on the committee of the Risk & Assurance Group, and is an editorial advisor to Black Swan. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.   Commsrisk is edited by Eric. Look here for more about Eric's history as editor.