April 2, 2017 - News

Version 1 Investment to Drive International Growth

The €90 million Version 1 investment, which will enable Version 1’s further expansion into the UK and Europe, will see London based investment firm Volpi Capital take a significant stake in Version 1. Volpi Capital specialises in partnering with ambitious management teams in growth companies to assist them to achieve and accelerate their international growth plans. This Version 1 investment will be Volpi’s first investment in an Irish company and its largest investment to date. The deal is also expected to be the largest investment in an Irish company so far this year.  

This is the second Version 1 investment round which will see its first round investor, Development Capital, exit in this round and 40 senior managers in Version 1 become shareholders. Development Capital exits Version 1 with a 250% return on its investment after a period of just three years.

 

Version 1 was founded in 1996 by Justin Keatinge and John Mullen and is today one of the fastest growing IT services companies in Western Europe. The company has grown through planned developmental acquisitions to become a trusted technology partner to major domestic and international customers across all industry sectors in the UK and Ireland. The company will deliver in excess of €100m revenues this year, while at the same time, delivering outstanding customer satisfaction and world-class employee engagement.

 

The company has expanded rapidly through organic and acquisitive growth. It is now embarking on its next phase of growth which will see it target more substantial acquisitions while also looking to the European market. The company intends to target the same rapid expansion over the next three years.

 

This Version 1 investment will see all of the original shareholders stay on with the exception of its first round investor, Development Capital, who have successfully exited as part of this deal, two years earlier than originally anticipated. Founders Justin Keatinge and John Mullen will remain as Board members with former COO, Tom O’Connor, taking up the role of CEO.

 

Clearwater International acted as exclusive financial adviser to Version 1 and to Volpi Capital.

 

Version 1 CEO, Tom O’Connor said; ‘’We have over-achieved against the plans we had when we welcomed Development Capital as an Investor to the Group in 2014. As we look forward to the next 5 years, we anticipate further strong organic growth in Ireland and the UK, together with more acquisitive growth in the UK and in Europe as we continue to build the Version 1 brand and prove our mission that IT can make a real difference to our clients’ businesses. With much speculation abounding about the impact of Brexit, we firmly believe that there continues to be massive opportunities for well-run customer focussed Irish firms to expand and grow internationally. I would like to pay tribute to our first equity investor, Development Capital, whose investment helped us scale and whose involvement at board level has helped us become a better managed company, and progress us towards our goal of being IPO ready..’’

 

Tom went on to say ‘’We are delighted to welcome Volpi Capital as the new equity investor to Version 1. We found in them a real core values fit to Version 1, with an approach to business and growth focus that matches our own ambitious plans. They are fully aligned to our core values and Version 1’s growth plans in the coming years and are the ideal partner to help us achieve our ambitious plans. Our first round of funding enabled us to complete three acquisitions in the UK. This round will enable us to make more substantial acquisitions and aggressively drive organic growth. I am also particularly excited about the dynamic of having so many of our Senior Managers participate in the next phase as shareholders, and indeed we anticipate that this number will grow in the coming years with promotions and new hires. We have always taken the approach that long-term success is driven by balancing what can sometimes be conflicting demands in the areas of employee engagement, customer satisfaction and profitability and we believe that the dynamic a broadly-based ownership structure creates is a great guarantee of maintaining balance across all three areas.’’

 

Commenting on today’s announcement, Volpi CEO Crevan O’Grady said ‘’We are very excited to be partnering with Tom and his management team as we set out to achieve Version 1’s growth plans in the coming years. Version 1’s specialist offering, plans for acquisitive growth and desire to internationalise make it an excellent fit for our investment strategy. We back ambitious management teams and in Version 1, we certainly have found that. Throughout our process, we have been hugely impressed by Version 1’s management team, their track record of achievement and their adherence to their core values. Volpi will work with this team to help them grow internationally and to provide with the level of funding this growth will require. Our values and our approach to business is very similar so it is the ideal base upon which to build a partnership.’’

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