Private equity investor takes majority stake in software firm

Guy Harrison

SmartSearch, an Ilkley-based provider of digital compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) software, will receive a significant equity investment from Triple Private Equity.

Triple will now take a majority share in the business and will work alongside the existing management to deliver on the company’s next stage of growth, with SmartSearch founders and existing shareholders retaining a minority stake in the company.

Founded in 2011, SmartSearch has grown from start-up to scale-up. Its platform and technology enables firms to navigate increasing regulatory demands including AML compliance, customer due diligence, Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) procedures.

It is used by more than 7,000 client firms and 60,000 users in a range of regulated markets including legal, accountancy, property and financial services.

To support both its core markets and continued expansion among enterprise clients, SmartSearch launched its next-generation platform last year.

Guy Harrison, CEO, said: “Triple are an excellent match for SmartSearch in its ambitious next phase of growth. The business is especially looking forward to calling on their deep expertise in scaling mission critical, B2B risk and compliance software.”

Martin Cheek, co-founder and managing director, said: “Having founded the business with John Dobson, I am incredibly proud of what we have built at SmartSearch, the world class technology we have developed and the talented team we have created.

“In a little more than a decade, SmartSearch has grown from a Regtech start-up, to a trailblazing technology company that is driving the digital compliance revolution.

“This major investment from Triple is a true testament to the hard work of our nearly 200-strong team who, alongside Triple, will be instrumental in this next stage of growth.”

Mads Hansen, head of investments and managing & founding partner at Triple, said: “We are pleased to announce Triple Private Equity’s first investment in SmartSearch.

“SmartSearch is a market leader in governance, risk and compliance in the UK, a key investment space for Triple.

“The company has shown consistent growth and profitability and provides a high-quality software platform for its clients. We look forward to partnering with the SmartSearch team to pursue the company’s next stage of growth.”

Ben Shepherd, head of value creation and founding partner at Triple, added: “We are excited to partner with SmartSearch.

“Its exceptional team and clients to continue their strong growth and quality products and services.

“Leveraging Triple’s expertise and network, we are confident in our ability to support SmartSearch’s growth opportunity as the leading UK compliance platform.”

SmartSearch was advised on the deal by Rothschild (corporate finance), Squire Patton Boggs (legal), KPMG (financial and tax), Park Place (founders advice) and Liberty (management advice).

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