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Boutique Execs Say Model May Be First of More to Come

An Irvine startup launched by former UST Global Inc. executives is finding early success with big-name companies that need custom software development and Web design.

Verys, which launched in June 2012, has a steady roster of about 15 clients, including American Airlines, AAA and Hyundai Motor America Inc., which is set to move into its new U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley this month.

“There’s just not a lot of custom development boutique shops. I think we’re on the forefront of a shift here,” said President Mike Zerkel. “We’re a viable alternative to offshoring, and our growth and receptivity is proof of that.”

The company is projected to have more than $2.5 million in sales this year as more clients look for agile alternatives to large software makers with rigid business models.

“This model isn’t set up for remote delivery,” said Zerkel, who ran global sales for UST for 12 years.

Chief Executive Chris Antonius was a general manager at the Aliso Viejo-based software maker for seven years. Both were instrumental in increasing the company’s sales to more than $650 million and securing a client base of Fortune 100 companies.

Verys, which leases a 2,000-square-foot office near John Wayne Airport, is attracting young engineers across the country as it ramps up business. The company employs about 15 people in Irvine and 45 companywide.

Its projects typically last three to six months. Other services include consulting, cloud computing and subscription-based software packages.

Deadly Cute

Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s latest licensing product was inspired by its legions of fans who craved another take on their favorite video game characters.

The Irvine-based company is prepping the launch of its Cupid Deadly line of toys in another nostalgic move to win over fans from years gone by.

“It’s basically taking some of our iconic characters from that hard-shaped fantasy kind of look, shrinking them down, and making them kind of cutesy,” Chief Operating Officer Paul Sams said during an interview last month at BlizzCon, the company’s annual fan fest at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The new lineup, which draws from title characters from its World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo franchises, originated from customer feedback, particularly from female gamers, who make up a much larger contingent of its massive fan base than one might imagine.

A quick panoramic of BlizzCon, peppered with elaborate costume designs and body paint, told that story.

The feedback has altered Blizzard’s strategy for its popular licensed-products business line, which has extended to comic books, art exhibits, and now a full-length movie slated for release late next year, Sams said.

“We’ve been able to refine how we shape our business models, how we shape our pricing, how we go to market.”

QLogic Snags Data Center Win

QLogic Corp. picked up a design win from Tokyo conglomerate NEC Corp., which will use the Aliso Viejo-based networking equipment maker’s 16-gigabit fibre-channel connections in its data centers.

QLogic’s offering handles three times the transactions, doubles the throughput compared to traditional 8-gigabit fibre-channel connections, and is billed to be 40% faster than 10-gigabit connections, increasing performance while reducing data transfer time between servers and storage.

NEC had $3 billion in sales and a $308million profit in the 12 months through March, the end of its fiscal year. It underwent a massive restructuring during the past few years that shed some 20,000 jobs across the globe.

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