PE investor exits cloud services provider

Mike Wardell

Private equity investor Livingbridge has agreed the sale of Giacom, a Hull-based specialist cloud services marketplace which provides cloud services to SMEs via the Information Technology Consultants (ITC) community.

The investment was originally made from the Livingbridge 6 fund. The business has been acquired by Digital Wholesale Solutions. (DWS)

The deal also marks an exit for minority shareholder, LDC which has been invested in Giacom since 2016.

Founded in Hull in 1999 as an internet service provider, Giacom now offers a one-stop platform for all the cloud software, infrastructure and IT support services that an ITC might require to transition an SME client into a public or private cloud environment, and then manage them on an ongoing basis.

Livingbridge first invested in Giacom in 2017, having identified the potential to capitalise on SMEs’ increasing adoption of cloud software, and their need for ITCs to help them navigate the ever-complex digital landscape.

Since then, Giacom has become the UK’s largest independent cloud portal, with a highly specialised and large-scale distribution platform.

Its cloud platform now services over 70,000 end-user SMEs and over one million individual licenses, via its 3,400 ITC clients.

Giacom has also seen significant revenue growth over the last four financial periods, growing at a CAGR of 52.1% – primarily driven by the industry shift towards cloud-based solutions.

Since March the business, led by CEO Mike Wardell, has grown both its revenue and SME base, and has continued to win new ITCs in line with previous months.

It has committed to closing the digital divide and increased its provision of Microsoft 365 licenses to schools across the UK during the pandemic by over 50,000, alleviating the strain on the country’s education system.

Adam Holloway at Livingbridge, said: “It has been a real pleasure to partner with Giacom over the past three years by providing the support required to transform the business and rapidly build market share.

“With more people working from home over the long-term and companies overhauling their strategies to maximise workforce productivity, cloud technology adoption is only expected to accelerate.

“We wish Mike and his team the best of luck in fulfilling this potential.”

Wardell said: “This has been a highly successful collaboration with Livingbridge. Their experience in the tech sector and of growing businesses and their deep digital skills have enabled us to build on the strong momentum we had generated before our partnership, and reach the next level.

“We are now well-positioned to embark on the next step of our growth journey with Digital Wholesale Solutions, and look forward to developing our future together.”

DWS is a channel-only software platform business providing IT, communications and cloud products and services to over 2,500 UK partners, with expertise in Voice, Mobile, Unified Comms and Connectivity services.

Terry O’Brien, CEO of DWS, said: “I’ve admired the Giacom business for a number of years – a great channel-only business, obsessed about delivering great products and a great experience for partners through a great platform.

“We have so much in common in terms of focus, ways of working and values. Bringing together these two high growth businesses in Unified comms and Cloud services is a huge step forward in our plans to support an ever converging ICT partner channel.

“I think this will be great for our combined 5,500 partners and I am really looking forward to working with Mike and his team at Giacom.”

The principal advisors on this exit for Livingbridge included Alantra (Corporate Finance – James Chapman-Andrews, Oliver Norman, Jamie Dickson and Milan Vashi), Pinsent Masons (Legal), PwC (Commercial due diligence) and KPMG (Financial due diligence).

The principal advisors for DWS were EY (Financial due diligence) and Eversheds (Legal).