Sometimes engineers need more than a good pair of specs to find the right component. Billing itself as "The Engineering Search Engine", GlobalSpec offers engineers, scientists, and related professionals a searchable online database of supplier catalogs. Its SpecSearch search engine lets registered users search by specifications to find technical products and services, such as mechanical, electrical, and custom manufacturing offerings. Its Engineering Web search engine indexes millions of pages of engineering content. GlobalSpec also offers a suite of more than 70 product and industry specific e-newsletters. The firm was founded in 1996 by engineers John Schneiter and Thomas Brownell. Today it is owned by IHS.
Global market information and analytics company IHS purchased GlobalSpec from Warburg Pincus in 2012 for some $135 million. It made the deal as part of its strategy of expanding through acquiring information-intensive companies in industries in which it already has a significant presence, such as energy, defense, manufacturing, and technology. (The acquisitive IHS has snapped up nearly 30 companies since the beginning of 2008.) IHS is also planning to use the deal to gain a bigger audience of engineers to which it can market its other products and services. Meanwhile, GlobalSpec plans to benefit from its new parent company's global scale and industry expertise.
GlobalSpec has a user base of nearly 7 million people. Its SpecSearch and the Engineering Web are integrated into a single, unified user experience on the company's website. Content consists of some 56,000 digitized catalogs that feature some 2.3 million products and more than 194 million searchable product specs. Manufacturers pay to list their products; in return, they get leads from users who click on their products.
The company also produces advertising-supported e-newsletters and online events. The newsletters cover topics such as aerospace technology, alternative and renewable energy, medical equipment design, and robotics. Its online, interactive events are targeted at the business-to-business industrial marketplace, and cover various engineering, manufacturing, and technology-specific fields.
In addition to its headquarters office in East Greenbush, New York, GlobalSpec has offices in Tarrytown, New York and Baltimore, Maryland. It also has an international presence in Shanghai, Taipei, and Mannheim, Germany. Parent company IHS employs people in 30 countries and reaches businesses and governments in some 165 countries.
Former owner Warburg Pincus invested some $20 million in GlobalSpec in 2000. The funds fueled rapid growth at the company that year, when it grew from 10 to 120 in about eight months.
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