LDC backs education technology specialist Texthelp

Texthelp, a market leading international education and corporate software provider has secured a significant investment from LDC to accelerate its growth plans and further develop its software proposition.

Texthelp is a fast growing international business with an established and loyal customer base across the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Australasia. The firm employs 165 staff across its headquarters in Belfast, UK and offices in Boston, USA and Brisbane, Australia.

Texthelp has developed a number of software products including Read&Write, EquatiO, Browsealoud and WriQ which are used in both the education and corporate sectors to help students and employees with reading, writing and numeracy difficulties including those with dyslexia or working in a second language. Current customers include some of the largest school districts in North America and Australia, as well as Fortune 500 organisations. The company partners with the world’s leading technology brands including Google, Microsoft and Apple to deliver solutions that work across all major mobile, tablet and computer operating systems.

The business currently generates revenues of £19million with the majority from the North America market where Texthelp has a significant and growing presence. The firm also recently launched its services in the Middle East and South America with localised products translated into Arabic and Spanish. Having successfully transitioned to a software as a service (SaaS) business model, the business now benefits from both high recurring revenues and strong market growth in the global EdTech market.

LDC’s partnership with Texthelp will support the management team to realise clear growth opportunities in new and existing markets as well as driving new product development, particularly pertaining to the growing market for data analytics. The deal marks a significant return for Delta Partners who have supported the business from its earliest days as a start-up and through its various growth stages.

LDC is backing Texthelp’s existing management team led by CEO Mark McCusker, CTO Martin McKay and CFO Seamus Scullion. David Gilbertson will join the board as Non-Executive Chairman alongside LDC’s Steve Aston and Joseph Fison, who led the deal and were supported by Dan Gluckman. David has previously been CEO at EMAP and Informa as well as working with a number of private equity backed businesses including FC Business Intelligence.

Mark McCusker, CEO of Texthelp, said: “Texthelp was founded on our vision of a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers. With LDC’s help we can further our commitment to helping unlock everyone’s full potential.

This partnership gives us the added resources and expertise to bring our services to more organisations across the globe. LDC has a longstanding reputation of supporting technology firms and we look forward to working alongside their team during the next phase of our journey.”

Steve Aston, Director at LDC, added: “Texthelp is widely recognised as the market leader in its space based on its advanced products and global presence. Assistive technology not only helps people feel more confident but can also aid productivity. We are looking forward to working with Mark and his first-class team to bring Texthelp’s services to more people worldwide and continue to improve products to provide a best-in-class customer experience.”

LDC’s heritage and experience across the technology, media and telecommunications sector is unrivalled, having invested more than £875million into more than 110 businesses over the last 35 years. In addition to Texthelp, recent investments include, early careers recruitment technology firm Amberjack and IT specialist Littlefish.

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.  

Source: https://www.ldc.co.uk/news-insights/2019/05/ldc-backs-education-technology-specialist-texthelp

LDC invests £17.6 million in leading early careers recruitment technology firm Amberjack

Amberjack, the UK’s market leading specialist in designing and delivering Early Careers and large scale recruitment programmes for blue chip organisations, has secured an £17.6 million investment from leading mid-market private equity investor LDC.

Based in Berkshire, Amberjack provides its specialist services and software products to many of the UK’s largest employers, with a particular focus on Early Careers candidates – specifically graduates, school leavers and apprenticeship programmes. It uses proprietary cloud-based software tools to automate processes, manage application volumes and provide data driven insights to help assess and select candidates and also provide a professional experience to candidates. Its clients include major organisations such as Unilever, GSK, Mars, Network Rail, BP, Heathrow Airport, Virgin Media Liberty Global and members of the Big Four.

LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has invested £17.6 million of equity to support a management buy-out and accelerate the business’s growth strategy, including providing capital to support investment in the software and technology propositions and help the business to explore complementary acquisitions to broaden its service offering.

Amberjack’s services and software supports over 300,000 people start their career every year, and the business has grown by more than 15% per annum since it was founded in 2000. Its expert in-house team have extensive knowledge and experience in designing and managing successful Early Careers and large scale recruitment programmes.

LDC is backing Amberjack’s existing management team led by Chief Executive Cynthia Bostock and Managing Directors Sophie Meaney and Cassie Sissons. The deal was led by LDC’s Investment Director Chris Baker, who will be joining the board as Non-Executive Director alongside Alastair Weinel. Paul Bosson will also be joining the board as Non-Executive Chairman. Paul brings extensive experience to the Amberjack team, having held executive and non-executive roles in multiple private equity backed software and services businesses.

Cynthia Bostock, Chief Executive at Amberjack, said: “Amberjack’s growth is testament to the fantastic service our teams provide to all of our clients and the increasing sophistication required in large recruitment campaigns and specifically for junior talent.

“We’ve grown Amberjack to become the undisputed market leader in our sector and are looking to expand our service offering even further with LDC’s investment. The support of an established private equity partner with comprehensive experience in helping firms that provide technology services will help us accelerate our ambitious growth strategy.”

Chris Baker, Investment Director at LDC in the South, said: “Amberjack offers a market-leading proposition that enables companies to be more sophisticated with their Early Careers and high volume recruitment campaigns and attract, identify and hire the best talent for their business.

“With Cynthia, Sophie and Cassie at the helm, it’s no surprise that the business is growing with increasing momentum and has built an enviable client list. We look forward to working with the team to continue to build on their exceptional achievements to date.”

The deal forms part of LDC’s pledge to invest £1.2billion of capital in ambitious high-growth firms over the next three years and follows a record year in 2018 for the mid-market investor, which invested £437million of equity in 23 new deals nationally.

LDC was advised by James Cowper Kreston, Gateley plc, HMT, Silxo and PMSI Consulting.

Amberjack was advised by Spectrum Corporate Finance and Clark Holt.

Article Footnotes

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.  

LDC backs Littlefish

Managed IT Services Provider Littlefish has secured a minority investment from leading mid-market private equity investor LDC. The investment will support the management team at Littlefish to accelerate the company’s organic growth strategy. Details of the transaction are not disclosed.

Headquartered in Nottingham, Littlefish provides managed IT services, IT consultancy, cloud services and cyber security services. The company has grown a strong client base across the public and private sectors, including well-known names such as Blackstone Property Management, Farrow & Ball, Studio Canal, PDSA, NSK and Macquarie Energy, and it currently supports more than 35,000 users worldwide with a 24/7/365 service.

Led by Chairman Graham Gilbert, Chief Executive Steve Robinson (pictured above) and Services Director Richard Roome, Littlefish has averaged annual growth of over 40% in recent years. The business is on track to record revenues of £18million for the current financial year, up from £1million in 2010. Today, the firm employs more than 200 people across its Service Centres in Nottingham and Greater Manchester.

LDC’s minority investment will enable Graham, Steve and Richard, who remain as majority shareholders, to accelerate their current growth strategy through investment in new products and services, including its nascent cyber security offering. As part of the deal, LDC has also committed to providing further follow-on funding for complementary acquisitions.

Commenting on the deal, Steve Robinson, Chief Executive at Littlefish said:

“We have a fantastic team at Littlefish and with their hard work and dedication we’ve been able to grow the business into a truly formidable player. We know what our customers want and how to deliver it successfully. To embark on the next stage of our strategy we need to bring a partner on board that will give us the firepower to build on this momentum and scale, as we continue to successfully compete against our much larger rivals.

“Our partnership with LDC will allow us to do just that. The LDC team is committed to our ongoing journey and their flexibility, strategic expertise and financial support will help accelerate our growth plan. Their considered approach, and comprehensive understanding on what we want to achieve made LDC the right fit for us and we’re looking forward to working with them as we continue to take our market-leading services to more customers.”

The transaction was led by Investment Directors David Bains and John Green at LDC in Nottingham.

David Bains, Investment Director at LDC, said:

“Since Graham, Steve and Richard acquired Littlefish in 2010 they have diversified and transformed the business. Its year-on-year growth demonstrates the strength of the proposition they have developed, as well as their unwavering focus on quality and customer service. They have built an enviable offer and despite the firm’s success so far, Littlefish is still only at the beginning of its journey.

“We know the business well and the ambition, drive and vision the team has demonstrated over the past eight years is exactly what we look for in a management team. It’s an exciting time for Littlefish and we’re looking forward to supporting the next stage of the company’s development.”

Debt facilities were provided by HSBC to support the transaction.

LDC was advised by Gateley PLC (legal), BDO (tax), RSM (financial due diligence), Armstrong (commercial due diligence) and Silxo (IT due diligence).

Littlefish was advised by Clearwater International, Browne Jacobson (legal) and KPMG (tax).