To understand Tech M&A in 2019, you must understand Private Equity. Bolt-ons, platforms, tuck-ins, roll-ups, plus an increasingly complex mixture of other strategies are turning the financial acquirers into the dominant force in Tech M&A today. Is your company on their radar? Join Part 2 of Corum’s Annual Tech M&A Report, as we look back at 2018 and ahead to the rest of 2019 in the world of Private Equity, are joined by a panel of the world’s leading firms. With mountains of cash to spend, aggressive deal teams and actively acquisitive portfolio companies, all technology company owners and executives must understand the role of Private Equity in today’s M&A landscape.

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2019 Private Equity Roundtable: Introduction

Tim Goddard  

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, wherever you happen to be in the world. And welcome to part two of our annual report here at Corum. This time looking at private equity, we'll also have other items as well. We do have a packed agenda. My name is Tim Goddard, EVP of marketing here at Corum.

Let's dive right in. We're going to have a couple field reports on deals we've just closed here, our February research report, part two of our annual report looking directly at private equity, and then we'll be joined by some luminaries from the world of private equity on our private equity round table. Really looking forward to them joining us. So that they have as much time as possible for Q and A, and do be thinking of questions you may want to ask them.

We're going to dive right in. We're going to start with Jeff Brown, based in Texas, who's going to tell us about a significant deal just closed down there in the healthcare space. Jeff?

Health Care Technology Acquisition Report: Collain Acquired By Harris

Jeff Brown

We're pleased to announce the transaction that fits squarely within one of Corum's top 10 disruptive trends for 2019, the health tech continuum. The North American health care business of LG of Korea was acquired by Harris Health Care, a Constellation software company. Many of you know LG is the Korean multinational conglomerate and maker of electronics, chemicals and telecom products.

Corum's client, LG CNS Healthcare, doing business as Collain Healthcare is a provider of innovative continuum of care solutions that focus on improved patient outcomes in the long-term, post-acute care industry. Their tightly integrated solution set includes EHR, population health and interoperability for skilled nursing facilities and assisted living.

This was a challenging divestiture that needed to be completed within a short timeframe due to the corporate strategy shift at LG. It was further complicated by the simultaneous acquisition by Collain of its strategic business partner during due diligence. All parties worked hard and collaborated well to achieve a very positive outcome for all.

Tim Goddard

Thank you Jeff. It's an exciting deal. Another exciting deal, here at HQ let's go to Corum President Joel Espelien. Joel.

Internet of Things Acquisition Report: Connected Holdings Acquired by Phillips Connect

Joel Espelien

Congratulations to Eric Collins and the team at Connected Holdings on their recent acquisition by Phillips Connect Technologies known as PCT. PCT is the IoT arm of Phillips Industries, a California based 90 year old industry leader in parts for the commercial truck and trailer industry.

Connected Holdings, with offices in Orange County, California, is an industry leading IoT platform with a long history in the vehicle and transportation industries with over 4 million devices deployed to date. Connected and PCT together are now developing a smart trailer solution known as trailer net which takes semitrailer telematics light years beyond basic GPS trailer tracking by integrating a number of valuable features and components.

The combination of PCT and Connected is a real game changer for this industry and highlights the importance of three of Corum's top 10 trends for 2019. IoT software, smart logistics and blue collar software. In addition, this is a great example of how we continue to see corporate marriages between traditional industrial companies and software targets. The value and importance of a comprehensive global search has never been greater. Back to you, Tim.

Tim Goddard

Thank you, Joel. Now let's go to our research report from the last month. And our research team led by Elon Gasper, and joined by Becky Hill and Matt Rung. Elon?

Q1 2019 Horizontal Technology Valuations and M&A: Payments, ECM and More

Elon Gasper

Thanks, Tim. We begin with the public markets where US, European and Asian indices soared in January, regaining most of their Q four losses. What a difference a month makes! But from chart patterns to policy risks, the situation remains volatile. We urge software execs, take Q four as a wake up call and don't hit the snooze button. If you're not raring to go to manage your company through a serious down cycle, it's more important than ever to take advantage of the still open window of opportunity for M&A exit.

Our Corum index in our practice reflect the changing times. Buyers did more deals, but fewer mega deals. The smart money continues to take some off the table as shown by the 40% increase in VC exits. Plus additional divestitures like Collain too. Including among the mega deals where in the vertical applications market, Dutch navigation and digital maps company Tom Tom sold its vehicle tracking telematics unit for a billion dollars at 6.5 times revenue to tire maker Bridgestone's European subsidiary. Bridgestone making a IoT and smart logistics trends bet that, like Connected Holdings, that it can gain new insights from 200 million data points a day.

And then the largest deal this year, payments processor first data was bought for 22 billion dollars and four times revenue by banking tech giant Fiserv, giving it a horizontal payments platform. Becky, how'd the rest of horizontal do?

Becky Hill

Very well. Sales multiples climbed back to their October levels. And EBIDTA based performance improved as well. Staying with payment solutions, invoice payments management, SaaS company Universum was picked up by PE backed payment services provider Heidelpay. Continuing its bolt on strategy with its third acquisition in the last month.

And order management and payments processing firm Unite U was was acquired by Brazilian eCommerce behemoth Vtex in its first US transaction. January saw a slew of deals in workforce management. Just last week, HR applications giant Ultimate was taken private for $11 billion and nearly 10 times revenue by Hellman and Friedman in the largest ever deal in the HR software space.

Providence equity backed E-learning company Vector Solutions bagged shift scheduling startup Crew Sense to extend its [TG3] scope into mission critical sectors including public safety and manufacturing. Another providence portfolio firm, health and safety compliance provider KPA, bolted on workforce compliance and monitoring specialists comply. It's first transaction under providence is Umbrella, an Australia workplace time and attendance management Boxsuite was picked up by HR and payroll firm Elmo to bolster its lineup for midsized businesses. And Sage divested its payroll solution unit to Accel-KKR-owned iSolved HCM for over 93 million dollars.

In the content management space, German enterprise content manager pioneer SERgroup was picked up by Carlyle. Thought Trace sold its enterprise content management assets to Konica Minolta, adding its specialized AI expertise to Konica's ECM practice. And here in Seattle, Slope, a tool for sharing creating assets, was picked up by Smartsheet to bring it into their project management collaboration fold.

Finally, in the logistics arena, Germany's Transporeon, which develops intelligent transport management platforms, swapped PE owners going from TPG capital to UK base HG Capital for 46 million dollars. And freight brokerage and logistics SaaS developer Our Freight Guy was picked up by PE backed Globaltranz as part of its ongoing M&A to extend its freight brokerage operations. Matt, what happened in IT services?

Q1 2019 IT Services Valuations and M&A: BPO & Systems Integrators

Matt Rung

IT services sales multiples reversed their 2018 decline with increases in both sale and inventory metrics. Turning first to systems integrators focused on specific ecosystems, Novikav backed Syntax systems snapped up two companies in late January. Freudeberg IT out of Germany for their expertise with the SAP ecosystem, and Emerald Cube for their expertise in public or private cloud deployment of JD Edwards ERP. Microsoft Azure specialist Capax Global out of Chicago was picked up by Hitachi Solutions America. And Salesforce and AWS specialist Square Peg was acquired out of Australia by Simplus to accelerate its global expansion into the Asia Pacific region.

Business process outsourcing saw a number of deals in service of diverse sectors. Employee benefits, administration provider Discovery Benefits was acquired by Wex for 425 million at 4.3 times sales to service consumer directed benefits like health savings accounts. India based Interglobe Technologies which specializes in the in the travel and hospitality sectors was picked up by private equity firm, Aion Capital Partners for 230 million. And finally, legal dispute BPO provider Garretson Resolution Group was acquired by Epiq Software for his expertise in mass tort and class action disputes for law firms, government agencies and corporations.

Q1 2019 IT Services Valuations and M&A: Gaming Industry & Google

Elon Gasper

Consumer applications, sector multiples both grew in January. Sales based metrics, particularly buoyed by it, the core gaming sub sector. There were a number of deals to start the year in gaming where the platform wars are heating up and impacting M&A. Game voice and text chat developer Vivox was picked up by Unity, while Epic took in character renderings specialists 3 Lateral out of Serbia to enhance epic's Unreal Engine. In other gaming consolidation, Appeal studios sold it's outcast video game P, The THQ Nordic, their fourth acquisition in three months. Tick Tock games, The UK developer of third person shooter Strange Brigade was bought by Rebellion Development to be it's fourth UK studio. And in the mobile world, casual gamer Supertreat was bought by Israeli firm Playtika following it's December acquisition of another casual gamer Wooga.

In the glare of publicity for Disney's oncoming video streaming service, we've spotted deals such as free video streamer Pluto TV acquired for 340 million by Viacom to deploy it's own over the top service. And Magine TV Germany divesting it's TV streaming service to Swiss competitor, Zattoo. In music, streaming platform Akazoo was purchased for 400 million in a complex deal led by Macquarie to facilitate streaming industry consolidation in emerging markets. And in a bow to the 1990's the original peer to peer music sharing brand Napster was pocketed by streaming audio pioneer real networks.

Finally, Google made a couple consumer sector acquisitions last month including crowdsourced question and answer app Superpod, plus spent $40 million for Fossil's smartwatch IP and associated team to try to enhance Google's Wear OS platform.

Now for the second part of our annual report, our update on the private equity sector, it's changing impact and the top acquirers of 2018. with senior analyst, Amanda Tallman. Amanda.

Private Equity and Tech M&A Annual Report

Amanda Tallman

Thanks, Elon. Private equity buyers have become increasingly important in the tech M&A world. Terminology varies, but their deals are essentially divided into platform deals which are new acquisitions that standalone when first bought, and bolt on deals which they buy to add to those platforms. Our Corum index has tracked the rise of platform deal volume over the course of the last five years from slightly over 200 to nearly 500 last year, a 25% surge just in 2018.

Despite this continued increase and heavy competition among private equity firms for both types of acquisition targets, the top PE buyers remained remarkably stable last year where median deal count rose from 16 in 2017 to 21 in 2018, a 31% increase.

In particular, the same four tech savvy PEs led the pack in volume. This to set the pace for a fourth straight year with Insight a close second, TA Associates and Thoma Bravo also held their positions. All four have ranked among the top six since 2015. Mid tier changes include the rise of Providence Equity from eighth to fifth place, bumping Francisco down a spot, and Accel KKR reappearing on the list after an absence in 2017.

Making their debuts were GI Partners with several real estate related tech bolt ons and longterm hold PE ESW Capital. There are hundreds more pes in the crowded ranks we track below these of course. Bolt ons among these top acquirers surged outnumbering platform deals 3.6 to one versus just 2.7 to one the prior year. Driven by large numbers of cash rich buyers chasing smaller acquisitions to inorganically accelerate platform growth plus fill gaps in tech and product lines.

Fairly at carefully targeted search for PEs with portfolio matches must be part of an optimal M&A process. As an example of this sort of accretion, the number six acquirer Francisco partners announced it's 800 million dollar purchase of secure access software from Bomgar in April. Then under half a year later bolted on privileged access management company BeyondTrust, expanding Bomgar into a 300 million dollar revenue security software company.

Private equity mega deals the total 106 billion in value encompassing all of our sectors with vertical leading in both volume and value. Some deals were done between PEs. For instance, KKR bought out BMC for reported 8.3 billion from a consortium of other PEs, setting the stage for future bolt on purchases.

And a few months later KKR divested Sedgwick's claims for 6.7 billion to the Carlyle Group, helping expand its insurance tech portfolio. Top PE acquisitions were dominated by enterprise sectors as disruption from cloud, SaaS and digital transformation provided opportunities to roll up critical mass in line with our platform effects trend.

Horizontal infrastructure in vertical showed the most increase in share with vertical surging to 45% from just 27% in 2017, driven also by other top tech trends like blue collar software. The vertical sub sectors of education, healthcare and government in particular saw notable deals, including government records management from Southtech Systems and legislative management from IQM2, both added by Vista equity to it's portfolio company Granicus.

The blue collar software trend impacted the horizontal sector as well. For instance, Providence Equity bought Corum client Exak Time, developer of workforce management solutions for the construction and field service industries to form it's new platform foundation Arcoro They then bolted on recruiting software specialist Birddog HR and payroll management player, Infinity HR, broadening the platform to help attract, manage and retain work force. And that's our look at the PE Tech M&A buyers in 2018. Back to you, Tim.

Private Equity Roundtable Introduction and Market Trends

Tim Goddard

Thank you, Amanda. Great work. And I'm very pleased now to introduce our private equity round table panelists. We're being joined now by Rene Yang Stewart from Vista Equity, where she manages the Endeavor Fund. Jeremy Holland from Riverside Company and Matt Picciano from Alpine Investors.

Guys, I'm going to ask you essentially the same question that we asked the panelists from the strategic buyers last month. And I you guys all have a slightly different take on it. And that's fairly broad, but I think you can take it in directions that will be useful to our audience of tech company owners and CEOs is, what are the trends that you're seeing that our audience should be aware of and be paying attention to as they build their company towards a potential exit in this year or in the near future? Renee, why don't we start with you.

Rene Stewart

Sure. I'll share both kind of a market trend as well as a tech trend. I'd say as you look at the last couple of years, probably the biggest market trend is that almost all major industries are evolving in a meaningful way thanks to software and technology. And I would say this isn't just a digital transformation, but it's also a business model transformation for a lot of these businesses.

Just to give you a couple of examples, in the auto industry, the business transformation is going from car ownership, so owning your BMW or your Ford, to having on demand transportation. So not owning a car, but leveraging Uber, Lyft, Turo for transportation needs. In the music industry it's going from content ownership. So buying CDs to on demand content accessibility. So instead of buying CDs, you're going to just pay for a Spotify subscription.

And even the software world is going through a business transformation, although it's well underway, which is moving from software ownership of having a perpetual license to the SaaS model. And so I'd say regardless of what industry you're in, if you're not thinking about evolving your business through both the digital and business transformation, there's a risk of being left behind.

Vista Equity on [TG6] Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Trends in Tech

Rene Stewart

The tech trend that a lot of tech CEOS are should be watching would be really around AI and ML, artificial intelligence and machine learning, being pervasive across all industries. PWC did a survey recently and four out of five executives believe AI will work next to humans as kind of coworkers, collaborators and trusted advisors.

And then McKinsey also put out a study that looked across all the different industries and verticals. And among the highest future adopters of AI, technology was number one, followed by financial services, transportation and health care. And so if you're not currently thinking about your AI, ML strategy, you definitely risk kind of getting disrupted by competitors.

It's why at Vista, we're really doubling down on all of our AI efforts across the portfolio. We're hosting AI summits, we're building a data scientist community, we've launched Vista Labs, we're creating partnerships with the leading AI ML innovators to help our portfolio companies.

And so we're definitely taking this both an opportunity and threat pretty seriously. And I would advise CEOs to really keep it top of mind if it's not already something that they've been thinking about.

Riverside Company and Alpine Investors on Smaller Tech M&A Deals

Tim Goddard

Great. Thanks, Renee. Now let's move over to Jeremy Holland. Jeremy, what are your thoughts in terms of trends they should be looking for, whether those are tech trends, market trends, or anything in between?

Jeremy Holland

Sure. The first one that comes to mind is what appears to entrepreneurs to be a blurring of the lines between private equity firms and venture capital firms. I think that not only with the panelists here today, but other firms as well, people may be surprised to know how much smaller or earlier stage as you may call it, private equity firms are becoming involved. As an example, I certainly recall when we acquired Arcos, our workforce management company from Corum, that you represented that was certainly less than than 10 million dollars of revenue or significantly less.

And I think about our credit analytics platform DMA that we acquired based in Portland, Oregon that was only a few million dollars of revenue at the time of a control acquisition. And neither one of those did we have at that time add on acquisitions lined up. So we were willing to start earlier. I think that a lot of entrepreneurs believe that they're just not big enough for a private equity partner. And I think that's no longer the case.

The second trend that's very common is there are many new forms of non-dilutive growth capital to SaaS businesses that are enterprise and growing well with great customer retention. To serve that market, Riverside now has what we call Riverside acceleration capital, which you can see at, which provides growth capital loans to companies as small as 3 million of recurring revenue, and they do not need to be profitable.

And what we're finding is a lot of entrepreneurs had been historically frustrated going to Corum or someone else, their attorney, private equity firms directly, looking for growth capital saying I need a million dollars, 2 million dollars, and everyone they talked to you said, "That's too early. That's too small. That's a friends and family round," and things like that. Which is great if you have friends and family willing to give you 2 million dollars. Many entrepreneurs don't.

And we're seeing a number of vehicles now being created to serve that market as the entrepreneur has seen with advice from firms like Corum that if you grow from 3 million of recurring revenue on an annual basis to say seven or 10 year, they're going to see significant equity value creation from A to B.

So it's really a great time to be a SaaS entrepreneur, whether they're in need of liquidity for one of themselves or their partners, or non dilutive growth capital. Back to you.

Tim Goddard

Right. Thank you, Jeremy. Matt, same question to you. Matt?

Matt Picciano

A couple trends that CEOs of tech companies should be mindful of in 2019 are both related to private equity. The first is generally private equity has become a bigger buyer of tech companies. The second is related to the size of business that private equity firms will pursue, especially within software. On the first point, anecdotally, as I've been talking with investment banks over the last several years, it seems like the buyer list that they're going after or reaching out to is including a lot more private equity firms driven by the fact that they are becoming more and more aggressive on valuation.

Historically, strategics were known as the most aggressive of payers or aggressive buyers when it comes to price. And that's starting to change or evolve into the more of a mixed bag depending on situation. Corum had spoken about that just before about how private equity has become a bigger, bigger player in the tech M&A landscape. And then a related point, my second one that I talked about was how private equity firms are going smaller to get into the tech space.

Or and especially software, with software companies. Historically, the private equity firms investing in the tech world were looking at bigger companies. As more competitions come in, more players have entered in the tech landscape, it feels like more and more private equity firms are going after smaller businesses.

So for the CEOS on the webinar today, that's something to be aware of is that historically, maybe you didn't think your business would be the right fit for a private equity firm, but that may no longer be the case.

Private Equity Funding Sources

Tim Goddard

Great. Thanks, Matt. All really useful stuff, guys. I really appreciate that. We're now gonna go to Q and A from our audience. So if you do have a question, please go ahead and send that through the window there on your right. Get us started, here's one that came in the ... I think it'd be interesting for each of you to answer to the extent that you're able. Maybe we'll start with you, Renee, but I think there might be some confusion among a lot of CEOs here. Where does the money that, we talk a lot about how much money there is out in the private equity world, where does that come from for you guys?

Rene Stewart

Sure. So we get almost all of our funding from institutional investors. And that includes endowments of universities, pension funds, and sovereign wealth funds. If you look at just through our pension investors alone, we serve over 50% of US pensioners by count. And through those pension investors, we're serving over 50% of teachers, and 40% of public safety employees. So firefighters, policemen, just in the US through the capital that we invest. And so we obviously worked very hard to make sure that we're successful in returning capital for those who serve the community really well.

Tim Goddard

Absolutely. And, Jeremy, how about you guys at Riverside?

Jeremy Holland

Yeah, the same, our investors are all of those sources that she mentioned as well as university endowments, insurance companies, very diverse. I think what's important to know also though is that we put our money where our mouth is. A significant percentage of this is our our own dollars invested alongside our investors. And the final point being that they should know a traditional private equity fund, all of those on the line today have full discretion over the capitol.

So while we provide those pensioners, or work hard to provide those pensioners a good return, ultimately we're the ones writing the checks so and have the ability to make that final investment decision. So when we commit to make an investment, that is the final decision. There's no other party that we have to go back to for a final approval.

Tim Goddard

And, Matt, at Alpine is it about the same or are there some differences?

Matt Rung

Yeah, I'd say it's a similar mix. But maybe a couple of things to add to what Rene and Jeremy have said. And Jeremy was kind of alluding to this point. There's a variety of private equity firms, quote unquote private equity firms out there that don't have their own fund. And that they're typically called independent sponsors or fundless sponsors.

As Jeremy said, when you have a fund you can write the check, you have discretion over investing the money. If it's an independent sponsor or fundless sponsor you're speaking with where they don't have a fund, they're going to have to go back to their investors, maybe friends and family that they know to try to raise the money. And what that ultimately means is certainty a close is going to be much lower when you're talking with an independent or a fundless sponsor because they have to go get approval from someone else.

So something for sellers to be thinking about when they're evaluating their options and Corum as an advisor will help you through that and point out which ones do have committed funds and which ones don't.

Yeah. So That's definitely something we've found. And the big problem, sometimes you can make those deals work, but the trouble is you kind of have to do the sale twice, which means all the risks and pitfalls sort of happened twice and it can be difficult.

Private Equity Leaders on Profitability vs Growth

Tim Goddard

Good. A couple of other questions. We're coming towards the end of our hour, so maybe keep these answers brief if you have to go and then if any of you are able to stick around a little bit after our half hour mark, we certainly appreciate that. But if we could go around real quickly and just talk, where's the thinking now? Cause I know it sort of changes from year to year and from company to company in terms of how you look at profitability, sort of profitability versus growth question. Matt, why don't we start with you this time?

Matt Picciano

Yeah, for us, if you think about us on the continuum of private equity firms and there is one, as Jeremy was talking about before, there's some firms that are more growth equity focused. We're on the more later stage buyout, and tend to be on businesses that are profitable. So profitability ends up being an important part of our underwriting criteria. We certainly are looking for growth in the businesses, but the profitability is important for us. So I'll stop there because I know we have to keep it short.

Tim Goddard

Sure. Jeremy, how about at Riverside?

Jeremy Holland

We absolutely do not require profitability. We certainly want to see a very clear path to it, but we are willing to buy companies with great customer retention in enterprise SaaS below breakeven and we are even willing to invest more heavily into the J curve if you will, to higher rapidly out of the gate, even if that dips profitability further, to springboard out the other side to accelerate growth. But we are here to materially grow businesses in our hold period.

Tim Goddard

Alright. And then Renee.

Rene Stewart:  And I would say we're similar to Jeremy. We are growth investors at the end of the day so we're comfortable with businesses that are not profitable. In fact, in the Endeavor Fund, every one of our businesses is burning cash, but growing substantially. The way we look at it as is that we're willing to trade off a percentage of profitability for a percentage of growth. And so if it's going to cost you five percentage of profitability in order to just get one percentage of growth, then that trade off doesn't seem worthwhile. And it's something that we should think about in terms of the efficiency that you're getting for the growth.

But if you can kind of prove out that for every dollar that we invest, we're going to get a dollar more revenue in the long term, then we're perfectly willing to make that investment and trade off.

Post-Acquisition Support from Leading Private Equity

Tim Goddard

That's great. We are technically at the end of our time. I'm going to keep asking questions for a little bit longer if you guys are able to stick around. If you have to drop off that's certainly understandable, same to you folks on the audience side. So feel free to bow out whenever you need to. But there's an interesting one that just came through that I think is notable. And, Matt, I'll start with you again on this one because I know what you have a somewhat unique perspective on it. But how do you look at the resources that you provide the companies that you do acquire? What's your take on that?

Matt Picciano

Yeah, sure. So our model, going back to what I was saying around the continuum, we are focused on the later stage, probably more mature profitable businesses. And the type of deal we are typically doing is a full buyout where we bring a CEO into the business as part of the transaction. And that's for situations where the current owner of the company is looking to either retire or maybe transition out of his day to day operating role. Be a board member or just focus on product.

So it's a bit of a different solution than most private equity firms, which are looking to back the current team. And therefore the resources we bring to bear in a company tends to be a lot around management from the CEO of the business as part of the transaction. And then surrounding the CEO with additional players, CFO, VP of Sales, et cetera. That tends to be a big driver of our model. We have a playbook behind it. But I would say that's the big differentiator for us.

Tim Goddard

Thanks. And Jeremy, what about at Riverside?

Jeremy Holland

Yeah. We've been around for more than 30 years and we've built up an internal stable of operating partners. That title can be a little bit misleading in that we're not necessarily running those businesses day to day. Typically they are a board member, in many cases, chairman of the board, but they're there to help the CEO add to the management depth, grow faster.

We also have some operational specialists who can come in and work on things on a project basis. But these dozens of operating partners that we have in house are there to drive growth. We have a more recently formed sales excellence team that can go in and build an entire sales group from the top down in terms of compensation structure, go to market strategy, and so many other things as we find, especially in these call it three to 10 million of recurring revenue businesses, they have a great product and it's working and the customers love it and great retention, but they have not had the capital backing to accelerate very quickly into market.

And so we're willing to build those organizations for them or with them to help them get from 5 million of recurring revenue to 20 or 40.

Vista Equity Acquisition Practices and Closing

Tim Goddard

Great, great. And let's close this out with Rene.

Rene Stewart

Yeah. We were founded with the premise that we were going to create value by operating expertise. And rather than just providing capital. And so since our founding 20 years ago, we have built up an entire operating arm to help enable our portfolio companies be successful. We have 120 people in that group alone. And because enterprise software is all that we do, they really almost kind of behave like a software company.

We have expertise in under the CTO around AI ML, around dev ops, product management, under our sales leaders. We have experts that can help on sales ops, on marketing, on even with your sales comp plans. Our goal is that there's no point in reinventing the wheel. We would rather take the best practices that we've collected over the last 20 years across our hundreds of companies, software companies that we've invested in to enable our portfolio companies to be as successful as they can be.

Tim Goddard

Great. Thanks, Rene, and thanks to everybody on the panel. I think this has been a very, very valuable for our CEOs to sort of understand the landscape of private equity firms, especially ones in your tier, which is high quality all across the board, and the differences and similarities within that.

Thanks again to everybody for sticking a little bit late. Look forward to seeing you here next month for our wrap up of our annual report where we'll have representatives from the seller's side, and we'll have folks who have sold their companies recently joining us. Looking forward to having you.

And now a note here from CEO Bruce Milne.

Bruce Milne

Great presentations, guys, amazing. I'm running a special conference February 28th, the Boomer Conundrum for all your boomers out there. You don't want to miss that.

Tim Goddard

Thanks, Bruce. Absolutely. You can register for that with our partners at WFS, visit to attend that. If you are of that age, a lot of what we've talked about today, very, very relevant. A lot of other events coming up. I hope to see you at. And for now, let's go to our close.