SCRAPPY, YOUNG WEB START-UPS making apps for iPhones may be the darlings of the tech world, but enterprise software companies remain kings of the innovation economy in Massachusetts. And Parametric Technology Corp., a 27-year-old Needham company, is at the top of that heap.
A pioneer of computer-aided design software for engineers, PTC - as it prefers to be known - has in the last few years pushed into new areas of manufacturing. The company’s products help make sophisticated devices like smartphones smarter, but it’s also behind a whole different class of household appliance: more connected and more capable washing machines and refrigerators, for example. Some 27,000 clients worldwide use PTC software, including many of the world’s best-known brands - companies like Whirlpool Corp., Harley-Davidson, Hyundai Motor Co., and Caterpillar Inc.
“We help companies transform the ways they create and service products,’’ said Jim Heppelmann, chief executive officer of PTC.
Last year, PTC’s revenues jumped 20 percent to $1.2 billion, and its market value grew 25 percent to $3.3 billion, making it fifth on the Globe 100 this year, and the top technology company on the list.
PTC’s performance demonstrated the “payoff from long-range planning and a deep investment in their software architecture,’’ said Marc Halpern, vice president at technology research firm Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Much of that investment, including many of its 19 acquisitions, was made as PTC struggled to move beyond CAD in the 1990s and into the 2000s. That was a rough time for the company, which was beat by a growing number of competitors offering lower prices and moving more swiftly to Web-based technologies.
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