Cardin Partners Announces Q3 2017 Edition of the 'SaaS Quick 25'

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Announced today, the Q3-2017 Edition of the Cardin Partners 'SaaS Quick 25' list includes several companies leveraging trends in AI, next generation Marketing Automation, FinTech, and employee engagement and retention.

An SaaS M&A advisory boutique, Cardin systematically tracks the growth of over 25,000 SaaS companies, globally. We publish a limited subset of companies and data publicly as part of our SaaS10k list.

In conjunction with this, we also publish a quarterly report of the fastest growing identifiable SaaS sectors.

As a reminder, the criteria to be considered 'emerging growth' are as follows:

  • Companies must end the quarter with a headcount between 20 and 100 employees;
  • Must have been in our database since at least the prior quarter.

HIGHLIGHTS AND TRENDS

Several companies this quarter are representative of broader industry trends:

Artificial Intelligence:

Blueshift, delivering AI-powered marketing automation; Finn.ai, a white-label AI-powered virtual assistant to enhance mobile banking customer engagement; and Fiind, with a platform to decipher buying intent from myriad and distributed behavioral cues.

Marketing Automation and Customer Acquisition:

The Google shopping SEM optimization company Sales & Orders is growing fast, as are several others in this segment, including the B2C full customer lifecycle automation platform Exponea. Tagove is advancing the customer success space with a platform for live, interactive, just-in-time customer assistance to increase adoption in the self-serve SaaS domain. Iterable have found success with their omnichannel B2C marketing automation platform, and Sendwithus, a local Victoria BC based company, are taking email marketing to the next level with integrations with leaders like SendGrid, SparkPost, and mailjet. They also integrate with Mailgun, offering high volume assured mail delivery with a developer-friendly API. Appropriately, Mailgun themselves cracked the list this quarter.

FinTech:

Capitalizing on the cryptocurrency updraft, Cryptopay are bridging the gap between Bitcoin and fiat currency with a smart wallet, seamlessly integrated with a pre-paid card product for on-line and in-store purchases. Cloud insurance platform Instanda are growing fast with their platform for the rapid online deployment of new and innovative insurance products, and Total Expert are in market with an enterprise-grade mortgage marketing and automation platform, enabling banks and mortgage companies.

Please see below for the complete list. If you are a buy-side group interested in access to the underlying growth data, or further SaaS10k list data, please contact us (below).

Company Primary Sector Employees Estimate Country Year Founded Description Institutional Backing
Taplytics Development Tools 24 Canada 2011 A/B testing platform for native mobile apps Yes
Blueshift Labs Marketing Automation 46 United States 2014 AI-powered marketing automation Yes
Sales & Orders eCommerce & Retail 27 United States 2013 Google Shopping SEM optimization No
Finn.ai FinTech 35 Canada 2014 Virtual assistant for mobile banking Yes
vrsus Legal Management Software 20 United States 2008 Digital case management platform No
Exponea Marketing Automation 98 Slovakia 2016 B2C full customer lifecycle automation platform Yes
CryptoPay FinTech 26 United Kingdom 2013 Bitcoin wallet & prepaid cards Yes
Hotech Hospitality 25 Turkey 1999 Hotel & hospitality technology provider No
Tagove Contact Center & Customer Support 20 United States 2015 Live chat software platform Yes
ITONICS Collaboration 56 Germany 2009 Enterprise Innovation Management software No
Empyr eCommerce & Retail 48 United States 2010 Online to Offline (O2O) Commerce platform Yes
Peakon Human Resources 71 Denmark 2015 People Analytics & Employee Engagement software Yes
Instanda Insurance 26 United Kingdom 2012 Cloud insurance platform Yes
Fountain Human Resources 23 United States 2014 Hiring platform for hourly workers Yes
Iterable Marketing Automation 79 United States 2013 Omnichannel B2C marketing automation platform Yes
7shifts Human Resources 57 Canada 2013 Restaurant Scheduling software Yes
sendwithus Marketing Automation 27 Canada 2012 Advanced email content management platform Yes
Optibus Public Sector & Works 34 Israel 2011 Public Transportation Optimization software Yes
Envisio Solutions Human Resources 24 Canada 2012 Strategy Implementation, Performance Management and Reporting software No
E-ISG Asset Intelligence Fixed Asset Management 24 United States 2003 Enterprise Asset Management platform No
BoardPAC Governance, Risk & Compliance 24 Sri Lanka 2006 Board Management software No
Fiind Marketing Intelligence & Analytics 31 United States 2014 Artificial Intelligence for Sales & Marketing No
Total Expert Real Estate 80 United States 2012 Enterprise-grade mortgage marketing & automation platform Yes
Mailgun Marketing Automation 42 United States 2010 Transactional email API service for developers Yes
Initiafy Human Resources 28 Ireland 2012 Contractor management software platform Yes

Cardin Partners Announces Q2 2017 Edition of the 'SaaS Quick 25'

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Announced today, the Q2-2017 Edition of the Cardin Partners 'SaaS Quick 25' list includes a wide range of emerging growth Enterprise SaaS companies, representing both vertical and geographic diversity.

Cardin systematically tracks the growth of over 25,000 SaaS companies, globally. We publish a limited subset of companies and data publicly as part of our SaaS10k list.

In conjunction with this, we also publish a quarterly report of the fastest growing identifiable SaaS sectors.

As a reminder, the criteria to be considered 'emerging growth' are as follows:

  • Companies must end the quarter with a headcount between 20 and 100 employees;

  • Must have been in our database since at least the prior quarter.


HIGHLIGHTS AND TRENDS

Several companies this quarter are representative of broader industry trends:

Zudy, a low-code (they prefer 'zero code') mobile app dev platform, exemplifies the move away from the encumbrance of having to hire hoards of C# developers for iOS development when rapid time to market and feature iteration are paramount.

ReFUEL4, which is riding the winds of the AI trend, is using machine learning to identify opportunities to help agencies and in-house teams optimize the content of their creatives for maximum conversion. Continuing the AI trend, we have Loom Systems, which applies AI to log analytics in the APM and DevOps domain.

A couple of companies in the employee scheduling and tracking domain crack the list – Jolt which serves QSR and retail employers, and Dovico, which enables simple mobile-enabled employee timekeeping.

RegTech is also hot. SOXHUB provides document management and compliance to F500 companies, Nimonik serves the EHS space with their quality compliance suite, and MetaCompliance is service GDPR compliance.

In the eLearning space, our Vancouver, BC-based neighbors Thinkific are on a tear. Their platform includes marketplace and ecommerce enablement, allowing anyone with monetizable courseware to be up and running in minutes.

Please see below for the complete list. If you are a buy-side group interested in access to the underlying growth data, or further SaaS10k list data, please contact us.

Company Primary Sector Employees Estimate Country Year Founded Description Institutional Backing
Zudy Development Tools 26 United States 2013 Innovative low-code mobile app development platform. No
ReFUEL4 AdTech 91 Singapore 2014 AI to predict creative campaign performance. No
Winsar Infosoft Hospitality 64 India 2001 Cloud based, modular PMS. No
JL Systems Association & Membership Management 23 United States 1982 Association management eCommerce and CMS. No
Jolt Human Resources 67 United States 2012 Employee scheduling and task tracking for QSR and retail No
SourceGain Human Resources 26 India 2010 Cloud based Applicant Tracking No
Kooomo eCommerce & Retail 43 United Kingdom 2000 End-to-end eCommerce platform No
Paper.li Marketing Automation 43 Switzerland 2008 Innovative content curation as a service Yes
Thinkific Learning 57 Canada 2012 Self-serve Learning Management System and marketplace platform Yes
Loom Systems Development Tools 33 United States 2015 AI meets log analytics Yes
Gecko Labs Business Process Management & Automation 22 United Kingdom 2012 Marketing automation for university recruitment Yes
SOXHUB Governance, Risk & Compliance 40 United States 2013 SOX document management and compliance for the F500 Yes
Acuity Scheduling Scheduling Software 20 United States 2006 Appointment scheduling made easy, for the solopreneur No
SimpleLegal Legal Management Software 29 United States 2013 Cloud based legal management software Yes
RealSavvy Real Estate 23 United States 2014 Real estate broker marketing automation and CMS/ CRM platform Yes
Forecast.it Human Resources 23 Denmark 2011 Cloud delivered agile project mangagement software Yes
Nimonik Governance, Risk & Compliance 35 Canada 2008 EHS and quality compliance software No
ReportGarden Marketing Intelligence & Analytics 68 United States 2014 Multi-channel report aggregation for agencies No
MetaCompliance Governance, Risk & Compliance 75 United Kingdom 2006 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance platform No
Core 7 Technologies Fixed Asset Management 28 Canada 1998 Multidisciplinary business management software No
Beamery Human Resources 35 United Kingdom 2013 Recruitment CRM and marketing automation platform Yes
CoSchedule Marketing Automation 58 United States 2013 Editorial calendar management and collaboration platform No
Sigma Conso Finance & Accounting 49 Belgium 2002 Intercompany accounting reconciliation and forcasting software No
Dovico Software Business Process Management & Automation 26 Canada 1993 Simple, easy, mobile-enabled time keeping tool No
Frrole Marketing Intelligence & Analytics 23 United States 2010 AI enabled brand and campaign monitoring and analytics Yes

Cardin Partners Announces Q2 2017 Update to Global SaaS10k List and Top 5 Sectors of Enterprise SaaS

The 5 Fastest Growing Sectors of Enterprise SaaS

One of the most illuminating things that results from Cardin Partners’ data-first approach to tracking the SaaS software space is the kind of analysis we can do with respect to sub-sector and vertical software market growth. If you haven’t already reviewed our Global SaaS 10k list, please have a look. In updating the figures through the end of the second calendar quarter of 2017, we note the following 5 fastest growing segments of the SaaS software space: 

Sector / Vertical Q2/Q1 Growth [Implied CAGR] Sector Leaders Notable Transaction
Governance, Risk & Compliance 8.2% [37%] MetricStream
FICO
April 6, 2017: Rivo Software was acquired by Sphera Solutions (Genstar Capital-backed) for an undisclosed amount
Finance & Accounting 7.3% [33%] Intuit
Concur
Xero
Sage
July 25, 2017: Intacct entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Sage Group (LON: SGE) for $850 million
Data & Analytics 6.0% [27%] SAS
Teradata
Tableau
April 28, 2017: Cloudera (NYS: CLDR) raised $225 million in its initial public offering, valuing the company at $1.92 billion
BPM & Automation 5.7% [25%] Genpact
OpenText
May 25, 2017: Appian (NAS: APPN) raised $75 million in its initial public offering, valuing the company at $704 million
Hospitality 5.1% [22%] Expedia
Amadeus
Sabre
Airbnb
April 5, 2017: Availpro was acquired by AccorHotels (PAR: AC) for an undisclosed amount
Overall 3.7% [15.5%]

What’s perhaps most remarkable is the rate at which the software space is growing relative to the World Bank GDP Growth Data, which suggests a 2.4% annualized global growth rate; the SaaS software space is presently growing 6.5 times as fast as the world economy. This is not a big surprise, as indeed the BVP Cloud Index reflects that the market capitalization of the world’s largest publicly traded SaaS businesses has grown more than 18%, YTD (and has grown nearly 50% faster than the broader NASDAQ index, overall). 

Cardin Partners Launches as M&A Sub-Sector Specialists

Brent Holliday and Andrew Jones, founders of Garibaldi Capital Advisors (GCA), have spun out Cardin Partners as a specialized M&A boutique. Lead together by Jones and Corporate Development Strategist Brent Bolleman, Cardin will specialize in M&A advisory, with a specific focus on select sub-sectors of the global technology markets. Within each sub-sector, they maintain and publish semi-annual data-driven research, including a quarterly-updated global list of the associated growth stage private companies. The first of these will be released at the end of Q3-16, and will serve as the definitive global list of the fastest growing HR Technology Software and Technology Enabled Services businesses.

GCA will continue to provide advisory services exclusively to Canadian technology clientele nationally with local offices in BC and Ontario. GCA will also remain an exempt market dealer under National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements and Exemptions (“NI 31-103”) for the purpose of executing both debt and equity capital raising mandates.

The two firms share complementary objectives, and will remain in close collaboration. Both Jones and Bolleman will remain active as advisors to GCA.

Jason Lemkin on the logic of hiring an M&A Advisor to Sell your Business

Jason Lemkin is one of my all-time favorite guests on Jason Calacanis' typically brilliant This Week in Startups. Lemkin's had two major exists: Nanogram Devices exited to Wilson Greatbatch Technologies (NYSE:GB) (Now NYSE:ITGR), for $45M, and then EchoSign to Adobe for an undisclosed but presumably large sum (although Jason claims to be unhappy that the figure was ultimately too low).

In the first case, he hired an advisory firm (TM Capital, a mid-market boutique like Cardin). In the second case, he didn't, and he claims to have regretted it. His reasons are simple, but the point remains: hire an advisor, if even only to ensure that a professional is managing an otherwise emotionally turbulent and often extremely distracting process.

Why You Should Hire an M&A Advisor to Sell your Company

The calls inevitably start the moment you win a big contract away from a major. The major is publically traded and annoyed. They also have a corporate development group that is in the business of turning upstarts into acquisitions. The phone rings, “We’ve taken notice of your company in the market; we’re impressed; we’d like to discuss a partnership; are you available to chat?” And so the courtship begins, and it’s a highly codified one for which CEOs are often not well prepared.

As your financial partners will take the opportunity to remind you at quarterly board meetings, any company that is on the institutional equity capital financing path is expected to yield a liquidity event; that fuse was lit many moons ago, when the first big VC cheque landed in the bank. And not just any old liquidity event will suffice; if you’re emerging as a fund-making investment in your partner’s portfolio, it will need to be significant multiples of invested capital, and it cannot take forever. LPs are waiting for a return; the next fund is brewing; time is ticking along.

On the presumption that you rebuff these early approaches and continue to focus on growth, dialogues will develop over time. Some should actually evolve into new commercial partnerships, and others will have originated with existing commercial partners. Inevitably, though, it will be time to act; the time will come to originate a fulsome process to crystalize the value of the business; to retire obligations to your financial partners, and to collect the hard earned financial reward for founders and employees.

In the context of M&A for exit, it has often been said that businesses are bought, and not sold. It’s an age-old truism in transaction advisory, and it generally holds. The only robust counterexample is when a business is either so attractive on a financial basis, or so far ahead of the rest from a strategic perspective, that it trades at the will of the seller to one of a few obvious buyers. But as is far more often the case, a process doesn’t start until the first willing buyer knocks on your door – and typically not for the first time, but at that right time when the board agrees now is the time to seriously consider an exit.

Once this happens, the CEO and executive team are plunging into a territory of the largely unknown. They are on the precipice of immersion in a process that is typically far too distracting – and time consuming – to execute successfully, if one also expects to run, grow, and operate a company in parallel. After all, no process guarantees an exit, and you must run the business in the meantime; it was a full-time job before, and so it remains. In short: the breadth and depth of transaction experience, knowledge, time, and energy required to orchestrate a fulsome sell-side M&A process is immense. It will cost you sleep, and it will hurt your head. You’ll need a market savvy, dispassionate, confident partner in the process – and a robust and capable team behind them that can provide the analysis, preparation, marketing, and due diligence functions that are either beyond your experience, or beyond your capacity, or both.

In the end, there are myriad reasons to hire a professional advisor, but a few in particular stand out: a dispassionate partner with whom you can continuously discuss and rationalize strategy, who is compensated only when a successful outcome is achieved, can unburden you from an immense investment in time and energy, and who is bound to increase the value of the offer by a multiple of their ultimate compensation.