LDC has partially exited its investment in Kirona, a leading developer of workforce-driven software, through a £20million secondary buyout to Living Bridge.
Cheshire-headquartered Kirona provides field force automation solutions, which includes mobile application software that supports engagement between businesses and their workforce. In recent years, the firm has successfully capitalised on the proliferation of smartphone technology in the commercial sector to generate operating efficiencies.
The deal comes almost exactly three years after Investment Director Simon Braham and Jonathan Bell, Director and Co-Head LDC’s Manchester office, backed the original management buyout of Kirona, which was led by CEO David Murray and CTO Neil Harvey.
Working with the management team, LDC provided strategic support to the business as it achieved sustained and significant growth, notably through breaking into vertical sectors, such as healthcare, local government, construction and facilities management, and exporting to new international markets, including continental Europe, North America and Africa, alongside its partners Northgate, Civica, BT and Vodafone.
In 2012, LDC provided additional equity to support management in its acquisition of Xmbrace, the leading software company which provides dynamic resource scheduling software under the “DRS” brand, principally to the responsive repairs market. The team has successfully integrated the acquisition into the Kirona Group, including offices in Watford and Caen in Northern France. It has invested further in combining the software solutions to create a unique end-to-end scheduling and mobile product which generates further improved ROI for its customers.
During LDC’s tenure, Kirona has more than doubled its staff to 73 employees in 2014 (2011: 33), trebled revenues and materially increased earnings. Overall, the deal provided a 2.2x return on LDC’s initial investment. Following the secondary buyout, Braham will step down from the board at Kirona, but LDC will continue to hold a minority stake in the business going forward as a co-investor alongside Living Bridge.
Simon Braham, Investment Director at LDC in Manchester, commented: “Kirona’s software proposition chimes with board room priorities as organisations from across the private and public sectors continue to target workforce efficiencies and drive cost savings.
“David and Neil, supported by highly committed teams in the UK and France, have done a superb job in developing and growing the business over the last three years. Their strategic vision has been instrumental in creating value and increasing the size of the market opportunities. As ongoing investors, we look forward to seeing Kirona progress and offer both our sincere thanks and best wishes to the team as it continues its growth journey.”
David Murray, CEO of Kirona, said: “This has been a tremendous period of growth for our business and we see this continuing in the years ahead, especially with the on-going support of a committed team both here and overseas. LDC’s support has been unstinting and we look forward to working with Living Bridge who, alongside LDC, will help us achieve our long-term ambitions for the business.”