New York based private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) has taken a majority stake in AIM Software and plans to work with the company as a strategic partner to accelerate geographic expansion and drive up revenue by 40% to 50% over the next year.
WCAS declines to detail the size of its investment in AIM Software and its exact holding, but explains that the investment includes funds for AIM Software shareholders as well as direct capital investment into the company to support strategic growth. AIM Software’s management team, which was advised by Marlin and Associates, is also investing capital into the company, creating a co-investor, strategic partnership.
Josef Sommeregger, global head of operations at AIM Software, says: “We took the decision to look for a partner a while ago, when our data management applications began to be successful and we could see global opportunities for expansion. We were looking for an investment partner that would help us accelerate growth and which had expertise in the US and UK markets where we wanted to grow. WCAS is an interesting firm with the expertise and a network of customers and contacts that will help us achieve growth.”
From WCAS’s perspective, Eric Lee, a WCAS general partner, says: “We have invested in financial technology for over 25 years and have studied the reference data and data management markets over the past decade. There are three key things that attracted us to AIM Software: its innovative business application approach to data management, which we believe is a game changer; its strength in German speaking Europe and the applicability of it products and capabilities to the US and UK markets; and its creative and energetic leadership team.”
In line with its strategic partnership with WCAS, AIM Software will continue to build out its GAIN platform and data management applications. It will also continue to be operated by its existing management team, with the addition of WCAS executive Jurgen Leijdekker as chief operating officer, and Sandeep Sahai, former president and CEO of Headstrong, which was acquired by Genpact in 2011, as chairman of the board.
Initial activity will support AIM Software’s effort to build presence in the US market, where it has a handful of tier one accounts, a strong pipeline and set up a second office in New York late last year to provide account management, professional services and local support. The company is also targeting the UK market and may consider a move into Asia at a later stage. To date, as a Vienna-based Austrian company, AIM Software’s strength has been in German speaking countries. It has offices in Luxemburg, Switzerland and France, more than 100 customers and 70 employees.
Noting AIM Software’s existing expansion plans and WCAS’s network of customers and contacts, Sahai says: “We will take an aggressive approach to growth in New York and London over the next 90 days, immediately bringing in 10 new hires and then hiring more local staff to increase the company’s sales, analysis and implementation capacity in New York and London. Over the next year, we plan to increase headcount by 25%.”
Looking further ahead, Lee concludes: “We do not have a fixed timeframe around our investment in AIM Software. The company has bright prospects and our focus is on building an enduring, strong and highly competitive company. We expect to be involved for several years and will then see where the future lies.”