Workwave and EQT have announced that it has separated Workwave from IFS. IFS bought the company back in 2017, giving it a significant presence in the US. However, Workwave was targeted at smaller organisations, offering specific vertical field service solutions in sectors such as pest control.
Workwave has never quite fitted into the wider IFS strategy of targetting larger organisations. This became apparent during an interview with Darren Roos, CEO, IFS, when EQT acquired Acumatica. Workwave seemed to fit better with Acumatica and competes with it.
Roos noted: “The conflict that you call out is Workwave, it is focused on the SME space in North America and that is one area we need to define.” That conflict is now resolved with this announcement.
Deepening the investment with acquisitions
To support the separation, EQT and TA Associates have further invested in the company. In addition, Workwave has acquired two companies, Real Green this week and Slingshot, last month. Slingshot provides customer call centre software and customer support in the field service market.
The announcement about the Real Green announcement was made on June 22. It brings together two leading providers in the field service industry. Real Green provides field service applications to support the lawn care, landscaping, pest control and tree care industries. Its solution, Service Assistant, is the leading solution in the green industry. Neither party disclosed the terms of the deal.
Bill Nunan, President and CEO of Real Green, will stay on as the head of Real Green operations within WorkWave. Nunan commented: “After years of watching WorkWave develop alongside Real Green, we’ve long known that the combination of these two companies would create something special.
“We are thrilled to be joining such a progressive solutions provider that shares our commitment to helping customers thrive, and who so strongly supports the continued growth and development of Real Green solutions, and our passionate customer base.”
A new power in the field service industry.
Independent of IFS a much larger Workwave will become a powerful force in the field service industry. It currently focuses mainly on North America with a single international office in Italy. It will be interesting to see whether it looks to expand internationally.
David F. Giannetto, CEO at WorkWave, commented, “WorkWave is now entering a phase where our products will improve and expand rapidly as we increase what was already an industry-leading level of investment into our technology development and support capabilities.
“The acquisition of RealGreen represents two successful and fast-growing companies coming together to create something truly special. It marks the beginning of a new chapter where WorkWave will help our customers go beyond service to create effective, fast-growing, highly profitable service organizations that also deliver the best service experience possible.”
The link with IFS is not completely severed. Darren Roos, CEO of IFS, will become the Workwave chairman of the board. He is also a board member of Acumatica, another EQT portfolio company. Roos commented: “I am confident that, under David Giannetto’s leadership, WorkWave will continue to transform into something unique. WorkWave is expanding its position as a market leader to new verticals and continuing to solidify the deep connection with its customer base that it is known for.”
Serent Capital, the previous owner of Real Green retains a shareholding in the new company alongside EQT and TA Associates. The transaction should complete by the end of June 2021.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Workwave did not seem to fit within either IFS or Acumatica. So sensibly, EQT and TA have decided to separate it from IFS and let it flourish independently. To assist with that, it has taken a leaf out of the IFS services strategy book acquiring Slingshot. In 2019 IFS acquired mplsystems delivering it a multi-channel contact centre solution. The Slingshot acquisition delivers a similar capability to Workwave independent of the IFS solutions.
Workwave now has the backing for further acquisitions and will look to grow both organically and inorganically. Johannes Reichel, Partner within EQT Private Equity’s Advisory Team and Workwave board member, commented: “Having followed WorkWave closely under IFS’ ownership, we are extremely impressed by the management team’s execution of transformative strategic initiatives.
“This has cemented WorkWave’s position as an industry leader helping to create the best service organizations possible and thereby generating superior growth. Further, we are very excited about the recent transformational acquisitions and the strategic value they will bring to the WorkWave platform and WorkWave’s customers.”
For IFS, the divestment will allow it to focus on larger enterprise customers. As a result, there should be little overlap between the two companies as they both continue to expand.