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How Strategic Acquisitions Helped Accusoft Drive Innovation and Growth


For over 30 years, Accusoft has developed groundbreaking digital imaging technology that has revolutionized the way applications manage and process content. From high-resolution image compression and file format conversion to data extraction and barcode recognition, Accusoft technology can be found in some of the most sophisticated and widely used software in the world. The company’s enduring success is built upon a combination of patented engineering innovations and key strategic acquisitions.

Humble Beginnings and Early Success

The origins of Accusoft go back to the late 1980s, when founder and CEO Jack Berlin got a hands-on look at one of the first digital cameras at a trade show and developed an interest in the nascent technology.

“I just fell in love with it and wanted to get involved in digital imaging,” he recalls. That desire led Berlin to found Pegasus Imaging Corporation in September of 1991. “It started as a hobby, but it became serious pretty fast.”

The company quickly found its niche selling innovative image compression and decompression technology that software developers could incorporate into their applications. Over the next decade, Pegasus Imaging made a name for itself thanks to advancements in lossy and lossless JPEG compression that were adopted by leading photo imaging companies such as Kodak, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Konica Minolta.

In 1998, Pegasus Imaging expanded into medical imaging with the groundbreaking PICTools Medical SDK. The company quickly made a splash in the market by solving the infamous “DICOM bug” associated with the Cornell codec, an open-source codec frequently used for lossless JPEG compression. Pegasus Imaging’s engineers were able to identify why the codec rendered some images unreadable after decompression and provide a means of both compressing images safely and decompressing files once thought to be corrupted beyond repair. That ability to quickly solve imaging problems helped make PICTools Medical a major success with some of the world’s largest medical technology companies, including GE Healthcare, McKesson, Philips Medical Systems, Siemens Medical Solutions, and Toshiba.

Evolution and Expansion

Although Pegasus Imaging enjoyed a great deal of success in its first decade, Berlin knew the company needed to grow if it was going to retain a competitive edge in the 21st century.

“The challenge with the technology business is you have to improve it or lose it,” he says. “You don’t get to sell the same product ten years later. You have to continue to innovate.”

The early 2000s saw Pegasus Imaging embark on a series of acquisitions that helped expand its business and continue pushing the boundaries of innovating in digital imaging. Each merger involved a strategic consideration of how it would position the company to evolve to meet the complex challenges of the future.

“People typically want to buy growth, but we look at it differently,” Berlin says. “We’re a big believer that the reason to buy companies is their customers, their products, and their people. Products are worth nothing without their people.”

In 2004, Pegasus Imaging acquired TMSSequoia, which had developed the most sophisticated structured forms processing and document image cleanup technology in the world. The people behind that technology, however, proved even more valuable to the growing company, contributing to the development of several proprietary innovations over the years that followed. Their ongoing contributions can be seen in products like FormSuite, which remains an industry leader in forms processing technology.

The TMSSequoia acquisition, along with the development of its lightning fast ImagXpress toolkit, set Pegasus Imaging on the path to becoming a much bigger player in the document imaging market. Its next major acquisition came in 2008 with the purchase of AccuSoft, a Massachusetts-based imaging software company best known for its powerful ImageGear SDK. No sooner had the deal closed, then Pegasus Imaging expanded once again by acquiring the UK-based Tasman Software, which had developed groundbreaking barcode recognition technology that would eventually be incorporated into the popular Barcode Xpress SDK product.

Over the course of just a few years, Pegasus Imaging had greatly expanded its portfolio of document imaging and processing solutions by strategically identifying the technology and engineering talent that could fuel the company’s growth. To Berlin, making the most of those acquisition opportunities are critical to sustained success in a competitive industry:

“It’s grow or die. We’re up against larger and larger competitors. Consolidation gives you market share and economies of scale. If profitability goes up, you can invest in new product development, marketing, and growth.”

In 2009, Pegasus Imaging changed its name to Accusoft Pegasus to rebrand the company as a key player to watch in the document imaging and processing industry.

Integration and Innovation

The acquisition of AccuSoft expanded the company’s market share and expertise, but it also created a new challenge for the engineering team. AccuSoft’s ImageGear SDK frequently competed directly with Pegasus Imaging’s ImagXpress. While there was no question that the newly rebranded Accusoft Pegasus would continue to support customers using these products, strategic decisions had to be made about their respective futures.

As the team evaluated each product, it quickly became clear they were the result of very different approaches to software development.

“ImagXpress was much easier to use, but it didn’t have all the platforms and features of ImageGear,” Berlin recalls. “Their idea was to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the product, and if somebody complained, fix it. Pegasus wanted to make everything perfect and add features very slowly. I think there was a happy medium there somewhere.”

ImageGear’s ability to support multiple platforms and the rapid development of modern compilers eventually made it a more attractive SDK for developers, but the Accusoft Pegasus team incorporated the best features of ImagXpress into it to make ImageGear an even better product. Throughout the integration, the company put new processes into place to strike a balance between speed and perfection. Product management structures were also established to improve feedback loops, lay down feature roadmaps, and keep to development timelines without compromising quality.

All of these lessons would prove invaluable when Accusoft Pegasus acquired Adeptol in 2011 and added the company’s AJAX Document Viewer to its portfolio. While Adeptol’s browser-based viewing technology was undoubtedly innovative and correctly predicted what future web applications would require from viewing integrations, the product itself was Flash-based. In addition to being a proprietary technology, Flash contained multiple security vulnerabilities and was already on the decline by 2011.

The Accusoft Pegasus team got to work rebuilding the viewer using HTML5, making it much easier for developers to incorporate viewing features into web-based applications. As the new product took shape, it also allowed the company to expand into the growing market for cloud-based API integration products. Released as Prizm Content Connect in 2012, the HTML5 viewer would be rebranded in 2016 as PrizmDoc.

30 Years of Growth and Innovation

In 2012, Accusoft Pegasus rebranded once again to become Accusoft. Today, the company remains a pillar of the tech community in Tampa, FL even as it strives to expand its business globally. In 2021, Accusoft celebrated its 30th anniversary, a significant milestone for a privately held, employee-owned corporation that began as a hobby.

For Berlin, those humble origins and the long journey to success are what make a company like Accusoft special.

“It’s not just dollars and cents, but a sense of pride and competitiveness,” he says. “It stops being about money at some decimal point. It’s about the people and the legacy and seeing what you can do. We give back a lot to our community. I really enjoy that. We participate in our community, both in tech forums and charity drives and work days. If we cease being Accusoft or cease being Accusoft in Tampa, FL, that’s gone.”

Accusoft and Snowbound Join Forces

That same sense of pride and passion was shared by Simon Wieczner, President, CEO, and co-founder of Snowbound Software. Established in 1996, Snowbound first made a name for itself in the document imaging market with the RasterMaster conversion and imaging SDK. RasterMaster supports hundreds of formats and uses proprietary technology to quickly convert, archive, and display files in high resolution without loss of fidelity.

As two of the leading innovators in document imaging integrations, Snowbound and Accusoft routinely found themselves competing for the same customers over the years. “We were competitors, but not fierce competitors,” Wieczner recalls. “We would mostly run into each other at trade shows and talk about the market.”

Berlin first floated the idea of merging the two companies around 2015, but it wasn’t until much later that acquisition conversations turned serious. With so much money being invested in the tech industry over the previous decade, Snowbound had already received substantial interest from potential buyers, but most of the offers didn’t sit well with Wieczner.

“There’s been a craze over the last few years of growth equity companies looking for SDK companies,” he says. “They were offering good dollars, but without understanding our technology. So there was a little bit of distrust on my part. Some actually wanted to outsource everything and that would totally destroy the company.”

Many potential suitors were primarily interested in incorporating Snowbound’s technology into their own products rather than supporting existing customers and continuing to sell into the market. As conversations with Accusoft continued to progress, Wieczner realized that he’d already found the ideal acquisition partner.

“Accusoft understood the market, what our company did, and how we could fit together,” he says. “That’s why we felt ready to move on together.”

“Both Simon and I are passionate about the success of the company,” Berlin says. “It’s what small business people do. We tend to worship entrepreneurs that get in, build a shell, and get out with a billion dollars, but I don’t know if they’re fulfilled because there’s such fulfillment in seeing what you’ve built accomplish something.”

In late 2022, the companies moved ahead with a deal that saw Accusoft acquire Snowbound. The merger brings Snowbound’s RasterMaster® and VirtualViewer® products into the portfolio of Accusoft solutions:

  • RasterMaster®: A Java-based conversion and imaging SDK, RasterMaster can be incorporated into applications for all computing platforms, including Unix, Linux, Windows, and Mac. The SDK supports hundreds of document types through its proprietary format library and provides a variety of document imaging tools, such as annotations, redactions, OCR, text extraction, and image cleanup.
  • PrizmDoc® for Java, formerly VirtualViewer®: Developed to meet the demanding needs of the banking industry, PrizmDoc® for Java is an HTML5-based viewer that can be easily incorporated into web applications to allow users to view, annotate, and redact documents and images from any platform, anywhere. PrizmDoc® for Java’s library of APIs and out-of-the-box connectors for popular ECM applications (including Alfresco, IBM, and Pegasystems) make it a powerful tool for developers looking to quickly integrate advanced document workflow capabilities.

The Future

In keeping with Accusoft’s long history of strategic acquisitions, the Snowbound merger brings with it an influx of new customers, new technology, and new talent into the Accusoft family. Those resources will help the company to continue investing in innovation to compete in an increasingly high-stakes market.

“It’s a real challenge to incorporate other companies and take that risk, but they’ve done well with it,” Wieczner says. “We were deliberate in selecting an organization with a leadership team and product portfolio that would continue to grow, develop, and nurture what we have built at Snowbound.”

With three decades of experience and success to draw upon, Accusoft is better positioned than ever to meet the evolving needs of its customers and deliver a new generation of document imaging products powered by groundbreaking technology.