Silverpeak advises Armilar Venture Partners on Continuation Fund transaction

Armilar Venture Partners, the largest venture capital firm in Portugal, is an investor in several leading software companies, having started to invest more than a decade ago. Since then, their stakes have grown enormously in value, as the companies went from strength to strength and some became widely regarded as the market leaders in their sector.

Armilar Venture Partners wanted to offer its limited partners a liquidity option through a Continuation Fund.

Silverpeak was appointed due to its track record with enterprise software/SaaS growth companies, deep relationships with late-stage technology investors, and excellence in execution of complex transactions. The deal team designed an accelerated process, targeting a selection of knowledgeable investors who could confidently invest with a limited due diligence process. Silverpeak advised Armilar Venture Partners on structuring the transaction and managed the process from start to finish.

Joaquim Sérvulo Rodrigues, Partner at Armilar Venture Partners said: “Silverpeak provided exemplary support throughout this complex transaction. The strength of their relationships with investors enabled us to solicit indicative offers within a few weeks of their engagement. Their team then skilfully negotiated the right structure to accommodate the requirements of all parties. We were able to rely on their advice throughout the entire process.”

Pietro Strada, a Managing Partner at Silverpeak added: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Duarte, Joaquim and the Armilar Venture Partners team in establishing their new Continuation Fund. They have an impressive track record with great tech companies. This new vehicle will facilitate additional value creation over the next few years for their limited partners and the new investor.”

Sentryo

Sentryo is the pioneer in solutions dedicated to managing the cyber risk of M2M networks and industrial control systems. Sentryo’s ICS CyberVision empowers control engineers as the front line of defence to ensure integrity, continuity and security of their industrial processes. It leverages unique AI algorithms to give them comprehensive visibility on their industrial assets, so they can easily identify vulnerabilities, detect anomalies in real-time and work with IT to fight cyber-attacks. Sentryo’s ICS CyberVision is used every day by large corporations in the energy, manufacturing and transportation markets.

Silverpeak originally worked with Sentryo on a fundraising round during which time we assisted management in developing a comprehensive long term strategic growth plan to become the de facto leader in Europe and enter the US market. Shortly thereafter Sentryo were approached by a strategic buyer and again as lead adviser, Silverpeak were appointed to map the marketplace, identify and contact potential buyers and negotiate a transaction through to final completion.

Thierry Rouquet, CEO of Sentryo said, “Silverpeak have been the long-term corporate finance advisers to Sentryo, and helped engineer the previous round of financing based on an ambitious international drive. When Sentryo was approached unexpectedly they were once again ready to help and conducted a rapid scan of interested parties before helping us negotiate the win-win deal with Cisco. During this whole process, Silverpeak always acted speedily and professionally. We especially appreciated their international reach as well as the local support. To be honest, at many junctures, they helped us to convince our shareholders of the considerable potential of Sentryo, resulting in a price which, in many ways, went beyond our expectations.”

As a serial entrepreneur, Thierry knew the ropes and had a clear objective of building a world leader in the cybersecurity sector applied to industry. From starting the business to reaching a leadership position in Europe and to joining forces with the world leader in networking (and the inventor of the Internet of Everything moniker) took just 5 years, which is a credit to the team and its backers. Along the way, Silverpeak helped keep the ambition alive through funding first and then the Cisco transaction, which proved to be a fantastic exit for the financial shareholders, as well as a great recognition for the team and the resources of a large firm to continue with their vision.

Throughout the journey, Silverpeak delivered steadfast support maintaining the level of ambition required in the face of startup competitors who were raising up to 10x more funds than Sentryo who, in the end, proved to be the most capital efficient of all. The Cisco transaction demonstrates we were right in supporting Sentryo and its backers, and shows, once again, the value of Silverpeak’s technology specialisation as well as its efficient delivery across Europe.

This is the fifth transaction that Silverpeak has completed in the last three months.

Thoughtonomy

The acquisition will see Blue Prism’s connected-RPA platform distributed and supported as a turnkey SaaS offering, helping accelerate the deployment of digital workers across market verticals and into mid-tier enterprises worldwide. Silverpeak acted as exclusive Lead Adviser to Thoughtonomy.

Thoughtonomy’s secure, award-winning enterprise grade SaaS solution, leveraging Microsoft Azure, enables an on-demand Virtual Workforce and full Intelligent Automation platform. This acquisition joins the power of Blue Prism’s connected-RPA platform with Thoughtonomy’s software, allowing customers to quickly and more easily drive improved productivity and customer experiences, without needing to set up a dedicated infrastructure to support their program.

It gives enterprises a way to access and leverage embedded and fully integrated AI technologies such as computer vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to address a complete range of use cases from back office to front office. Additional features, including ready-to-use channel interfaces such as chatbots and web-forms coupled with Thoughtonomy’s integrated AI-enabled digital workforce manager, IADA®, helps companies scale their automation strategy at speed.

“The acquisition of Thoughtonomy will support a broader strategy to strengthen our portfolio with cloud offerings that deliver value and enhance customer experience,” says Alastair Bathgate, Co-founder and CEO, Blue Prism. “Thoughtonomy brings valuable knowledge and experience in the development and implementation of cloud-based intelligent digital workers, with a successful track record of delivering its solutions to mid-tier enterprises in a number of industry verticals complementary to the areas of the market Blue Prism has served.”

Thoughtonomy’s intellectual property and embedded Marketplace will also extend Blue Prism’s Digital Exchange DX capabilities – an intelligent automation marketplace comprising customers, technology and channel partners – while enhancing the company’s overall push to deliver RPA services with leading cloud services providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and IBM.

“We’ve been working with Blue Prism since our foundation in 2013, and we’ve built out our unique SaaS and intelligent automation capabilities to leverage their best in class RPA software,” says Terry Walby, CEO & Founder of Thoughtonomy. “Together as leaders, we plan to broaden and simplify access to the most advanced digital workforce capabilities on the planet.”

This combination of capabilities will provide enterprises with even greater flexibility for their automation projects offering them the ability to choose between SaaS or dedicated infrastructure. Together both companies will continue to build out the strongest partner network in the industry aimed at driving up customer adoption in key market verticals including financial services, telecoms, insurance, retail, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, professional services, energy, utilities, public sector and outsourcing providers. This also includes commitments to support partner enablement, sales, pre-sales and implementation on a global scale.

Thoughtonomy has delivered year on year growth of over more than 250 per cent over the past three years and has customers spread across four continents. In 2018, the company was ranked fourth in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 and 11th in the Deloitte 2018 UK Technology Fast 50, cementing its position as one of the fastest growing UK-headquartered technology companies and one of the brightest stars in global AI.

Silverpeak worked with Thoughtonomy as lead adviser examining both private equity investment and strategic acquirers globally culminating in the agreed acquisition of Thoughtonomy by Blue Prism.

Paddy MccGwire, the Managing Partner at Silverpeak leading the process added, “Terry and the team at Thoughtonomy have developed a great business in the six years since founding, developing the market leading intelligent automation SaaS RPA platform. Blue Prism will provide a great strategic and cultural fit to continue to exploit the market opportunity.”

For more information please contact Paddy MccGwire: pm@silverpeakib.com

Other advisers to Thoughtonomy were: Taylor Wessing, lawyers; Smith & Williamson, tax.

Oxbotica

We also advised Oxbotica on their successful £14m funding in their first institutional investment round in 2018. The additional investment coincides with the appointment of Ozgur Tohumcu as CEO joining from Tantalum and previously Ericsson, who will lead the business on its next chapter of development.

Oxbotica, whose mantra is “any vehicle, any environment, any time” customers include: driverless shuttle trials at Gatwick airport; driverless cargo pods at Heathrow airport; partnering with Addison Lee to bring self-driving taxis to London; and other sectors in every hemisphere.

Paddy MccGwire, Managing Partner at Silverpeak said “ This is our sixth transaction announced in eight weeks. It is great to see this iconic British HQ deep technology global business demonstrating the confidence of its investors so quickly. And I’d like to congratulate Co-Founder CTO Paul Newman, who also is the Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute, on being awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal.

Choice

Maxxton is a software as a service (SaaS) solution to simplify the operational and reservation processes for hospitality managers. Its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform caters specifically to the needs of the short & medium-term accommodation rental sector. Maxxton automates time-consuming manual work, improves efficiency, increases bookings and reduces staffing costs for hospitality organisations.

Silverpeak worked as lead adviser to map the marketplace, identify and contact potential buyers and negotiate a transaction through to final completion. We approached both strategic & financial buyers globally and closed the transaction with Fortino to continue building the business with the CEO.

Justin Stebbins, Director, added “This transaction represents the most logical next step for all parties involved and Fortino will strategically assist management during its next stage of growth.”

Paddy MccGwire, the Managing Partner at Silverpeak leading the process added “We are delighted to have advised on this transaction – further strengthening our position in hospitality software.”

Loot

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to UK Digital Bank, Loot, on Royal Bank of Scotland/Bó’s investment, who join strategic investor Portage (Wealthsimple) as well as SpeedInvest (investors in Holvi, Curve) and Global Founders Capital (investors in iWoca, Kreditech, Facebook).

RBS has taken a 25 per cent stake via Bó, the digital-only bank it plans to open later this year. Mark Bailie, CEO of Bó, said: “Loot is a really exciting brand and one that we’re proud to be associated with. Through its innovative use of technology and intention to change the status quo, it’s quickly built a following of loyal customers, with potential for rapid future growth.”

Loot launched in 2014 to help students and young people better manage their finances. All verified customers are provided with a pre-paid debit card and offer personal insights into spending patterns, allowing users to set daily or weekly budgets or even put aside money for larger #LootGoals.

Commenting on the transaction, Paddy MccGwire, Managing Partner at Silverpeak, said: “Having advised Loot on this strategic investment by Royal Bank of Scotland, we look forward to working with Ollie and the team on their next phase of growth.”

Dictate IT

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Dictate IT, a leading provider of digital dictation, outsourced transcription, and speech recognition services to 27 healthcare providers in the UK and Ireland, on its sale to Clanwilliam Group, the global healthcare technology provider.

The acquisition brings Dictate IT under the umbrella of the rapidly expanding health investor, Clanwilliam Group, as part of the mergers and acquisitions strategy that it launched in 2014. As a result, Dictate IT will be able to expand its reach, make further investments in its solution and realise all the benefits of partnering with other companies in the Group to strengthen its market position.

Silverpeak played a significant role in the sale, working with Dictate IT as financial advisor running an M&A process: from the preparation phase, identifying and contacting a global array of knowledgeable counterparties, negotiating the deal terms with multiple parties, and managing through to completion.

Commenting on the deal, Paddy MccGwire, Managing Partner at Silverpeak, said: “This is another successful health-tech company sale to a strategic acquirer having followed a twin track private equity and strategic process. I have been impressed watching Dictate IT’s Managing Director, Mark Miller develop the business over the last 14 years. This has included developing its proprietary medical speech recognition engine built on a state of the art DNN (Deep Neural Net) acoustic model and using cutting edge RNN (Recurrent Neural Net) language rescoring – the solution outperforms all other solutions currently available and has achieved the market leading position. The sale to Clanwilliam Group provides the opportunity for Dictate IT to accelerate its growth trajectory in an entrepreneurial culture. The simultaneous sale of its Indian associate company added complexity to this multi-jurisdiction transaction. “

Mark Miller, Managing Director at Dictate IT, said: “I would recommend Silverpeak without hesitation. A sale of a company is, for most, the culmination of many years of work and the outcome of the sale will likely define much of the hope and aspiration for the years ahead. It is important to get it right and to choose people who are totally committed to the best outcome. The Silverpeak team work extremely hard, are capable and knowledgeable and involve themselves in every aspect of the transaction. They maintain a steady focus on the outcome and a good humour which is important when dealing with things over which so much importance is attached.”

Sentryo

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, has been instrumental in securing €10M in Series A Financing for the cutting-edge Industrial Internet cybersecurity firm, Sentryo. The funding, which completed in November this year, reflects the growing significance of Sentryo’s distributed technology architecture against the backdrop of increased industrial cybersecurity attacks.

Advice on the valuation of the company and the size of the round was provided by Silverpeak to the Sentryo Board.  Silverpeak’s team of finance experts also delivered strategic guidance prior to approaching the market for investors in Europe and the United States. In order for Sentryo to move forward with its expansion activities in the US from Q2 2018, Silverpeak recommended a two-phase approach for the funding. The first phase with Sopra Steria and BNP Paribas Développement completed in April, and the second tranche with Omnes and Alliance Entreprendre which has just been finalised.

Thierry Rouquet, CEO at Sentryo, said: “It was a pleasure to work with the Silverpeak team across their London and Paris offices. Silverpeak worked tirelessly to close the round and came up with an innovative two step closing which allowed Sentryo to meet its goal by bringing together both financial and strategic investors. We look forward to driving the business forward, including its expansion in the US which the financing in place now allows.”

Sentryo specialises in solutions that protect operational technology from the threat of cyber-attack. The company’s ICS CyberVision platform gives control engineers comprehensive visibility on their systems, detects anomalies and accelerates response to cybersecurity incidents to minimise the impact. The funding will be used to accelerate not only expansion in the US, but across Europe too.

Jean-Michel Deligny, a Senior Advisor at Silverpeak, said: “Industrial cybersecurity is a strategic topic but still an emerging market. Sentryo shows technical excellence as well as a focused indirect selling strategy and is expanding to the US, based on key partnerships with the likes of Cisco and Siemens. This makes Sentryo one the most capital innovative and efficient companies in the business and this is why Silverpeak took on the assignment. As always, Silverpeak showed the sort of tenacity which is needed for a successful financing.”

Alex de Gandt, Director at Silverpeak said: “We explored various financing options, and contacted investors globally, both strategic and financial. In the end, the round brings the best of French investors, to support an ambitious plan to expand in Sentryo’s core European markets, as well as grow in the US. We look forward to continue working with Sentryo as the company accelerates internationally.”

Ticketer

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Ticketer, the UK’s leading provider of bus ticketing technology, on its investment by Tenzing Private Equity

Since entering the market in 2010, Ticketer has grown to become the UK market leader at the forefront of smart electronic ticketing technology across the bus sector. Ticketer’s software enables passengers to use the latest payments technologies, whilst providing bus operators with real-time performance insights to improve efficiency, service levels and profitability.

Widely renowned as the most innovative provider in the industry, Ticketer’s clients include some of the largest national operators, including First Bus, Arriva, and Go-Ahead, and some 70% of the UK’s regional operators. The company has achieved outstanding revenue growth of over 50% year-on-year over the last three years.

Tenzing has backed the senior management team, led by John Clarfelt and Gordon Montgomery. Together with its Entrepreneurs Panel, Tenzing will support the team’s ambition to grow the business in the UK and internationally.

Silverpeak worked with the company as lead advisor to map the marketplace, identify and contact potential investors and negotiate a transaction through to final completion.

Gordon Montgomery, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Ticketer, said: “Silverpeak were incredibly professional and supportive throughout. They went above and beyond in helping to get the deal over the line.”

David Ford, Director at Silverpeak, said “With the current growth in Smart Transit and Mobility-as-a-Service, Ticketer has many opportunities to help its clients produce better transport experiences. Working with the great team at Tenzing will help them achieve that much faster.”

Pietro Strada, Managing Partner at Silverpeak added, “We are very proud to have worked on this transaction with John, Gordon and the whole Ticketer team.”