Melbourne software company reveals how it scored a $10 million investment from a US private equity firm

A Melbourne-based software company has received a $US10 million investment from a US private equity firm to drive its international expansion.

PageUp People, which specialises in tracking the performance of workers, secured the investment from Accel-KKR after months of negotiations.

Chief executive Karen Cariss told SmartCompany she specifically targeted the United States to fund raise and didn’t seek to raise capital from the Australian market.

“My view was that because our predominant support that we were looking for was to underpin our global growth, we wanted to tap into the experience of the US investment market to deliver to that,” she says.

“We went out to the investment community in America…about 6 months ago and met with 20 firms and then shortlisted that to firms we had deeper conversations with.”

Cariss says PageUp went with Accel-KKR because of the firm’s experience and the partnership approach it offered.

“Accel-KKR have a good cultural fit to us and focuses solely on technology firms, so it has a lot of experience investing in our area and strong networks that will add a lot of value after the capital injection,” she says.

Cariss will not reveal the percentage of PageUp that Accel-KKR purchased under the terms of the deal but says the private equity firm now has a minority stake and one of the five seats on its board.

“It is fair to say PageUp is still majority owned by the two founders [Karen Cariss and Simon Cariss] and our employees continue to have a portion ownership and there is a strong commitment to employee ownership,” she says.

“More importantly, Accel-KKR’s team of Greg Williams and David Cusimano are our key contacts and they are now a connection for us to use on a day-to-day basis to help on our journey going forward and our international expansion.”

PageUp aims to further its existing operations in the United Kingdom and United States and establish a South-East Asian presence by opening an office in Singapore and putting people on the ground in China and India. Once PageUp is established in South-East Asia, Cariss says the company will look at Central and South America.

Page up has around 100 employees and wants to add another 10 to 20 roles over the next six to 12 months.

Cariss says the expansion is a “client-driven support strategy”.

“The majority of our clients are Fortune 500 or ASX listed and we are finding more and more that they are growing in those emerging markets, so it is important for us to support them in those strategic growth zones,” she says.

“I think it is a really great opportunity for an Australian technology company to be able to supply world class software around the world and this enables us to accelerate it.”



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