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THE NEW WAVE

LogMeIn keeps connections open

LogMeIn senior software analyst Jon Borthwick at the company’s Woburn headquarters. The company enables people to access information anytime, anywhere. LogMeIn senior software analyst Jon Borthwick at the company’s Woburn headquarters. The company enables people to access information anytime, anywhere. (Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
By D.C. Denison
Globe Staff / February 20, 2011

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Pig Pen, a character in Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts’’ series, was always accompanied by his own cloud of dust. Substitute data for dirt, and many of us today are living in similar bubbles — surrounded by information radiating from smartphones, laptop computers, and home and office desktop computers.

Connecting and managing that constellation of devices — so, for example, users can pull up a report on their computer hard drives from their smartphones — is the mission at LogMeIn Inc. The Woburn company aims to tame the digital cloud that surrounds information age Pig Pens.

“Yes, we’ve heard the Pig Pen comparison before,’’ said Craig VerColen, the director of corporate communications at LogMeIn. “We’ve all got our personal clouds, and our business is all about connecting all your devices, simply.’’

LogMeIn is part of a growing sector of the state’s technology industry that enables people to access information anytime, anywhere, in an increasingly mobile and interconnected world. It is also example of the long-term shift in the tech sector from manufacturing to services: LogMeIn doesn’t make devices, but adds to their value by allowing them to work better, together.

As personal computers and devices have proliferated, so has LogMeIn’s business. The company, founded in 2003, has connected through its software more than 100 million devices worldwide, and raised more than $160 million from stock offerings.

LogMeIn has achieved its success by taking paths rarely traveled by Massachusetts tech firms in the late ’90s, when no expense was spared by companies swimming in investor money. There are no high-priced servers running in the basement or customized equipment sitting on desks. The company’s hardware, VerColen states proudly, is “pretty much off the shelf.’’

LogMeIn’s sales strategy is also a reflection of the modern Internet culture. It’s based on a “freemium’’ model: give the product away, and upsell happy users into paying customers. Today, the company has over 11 million active users, but only 585,000 pay.

In 2010, LogMeIn reported revenues of $101 million, up 36 percent from 2009.

That’s enough to enable the company to break another Massachusetts technology mold that has persisted since the region’s first computer boom, which was built on selling high-priced hardware and software to large companies.

“We don’t have that enterprise focus that once dominated the Boston scene,’’ VerColen said. “We’ve been able to blur the line between the professional and the consumer.’’

D.C. Denison can be reached at denison@globe.com.

Correction: Because of a photographer’s error, Jon Borthwick, an analyst at LogMeIn, was misidentified in the photo caption that ran with this story.