August 12th, 2009

Rails Boxcar hitched to a new company: Tacoma group acquires Planet Argon Ruby on Rails hosting

Rails Boxcar hitched to a new company: Tacoma group acquires Planet Argon Ruby on Rails hosting

Roughly two years ago—along about the time I launched Silicon Florist—Portland-based Planet Argon was launching a project of their own: a hosting service for Ruby on Rails apps called Rails Boxcar.

And while I love all Portland and Silicon Forest projects equally, those first couple of projects I covered will always hold a special place in my heart. So today’s news that Rails Boxcar was headed north to Tacoma got my attention.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the strategic reasons driving the acquisition were. Tacoma-based Blue Box Group, one of the leading Rails hosts, acquires a group of customers as well as intellectual property and technology that they can use with their entire user base. And Planet Argon gets to do some strategic pruning of its portfolio in favor of having more time to focus on its core talents.

Planet Argon sees the sale of its “Rails Boxcar” service as a strategic decision, choosing to place more focused attention on design and development, including work on a number of in-house web-based products. Planet Argon solicited bids and proposals from regional competitors for the acquisition of Rails Boxcar, their web hosting solution for Ruby on Rails applications, which was launched in the summer of 2007.

That desire to help the company focus is spelled out in even greater detail on Planet Argon partner Robby Russell’s personal blog.

Fast-forward four years, the community now has several great solutions and options for hosting their Ruby on Rails applications. Knowing this, we began to look over the plethora of services that we offer and felt that we had been spreading ourselves too thinly. We were faced with the big question of: Should we focus our energy on trying to innovate in this competitive space or should we find a community-respected vendor to pass the torch to?…

As a byproduct of this deal, our team has an opportunity to focus our collective energy on designing and developing web applications, which has also been a central part of what we do for as long as we’ve been in business. We plan to speed up our efforts on a handful web-based products that we’ve been internally developing and hope to release in the near future.

I’m always a big proponent for startups focusing on their strengths. So it’s great to see Planet Argon taking some necessary steps to do just that. And if Blue Box Group gets a great hosting environment and the Rails Boxcar customers get a great deal out of it too? All the better.

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