Looking back on 2020, there is no doubt that it was an extremely challenging landscape to navigate. Which makes it all the more impressive to look back at last year and see how well our portfolio navigated the myriad challenges, and also how the ECI team reacted, resulting in one of our busiest years of investments, exits and acquisitions to date.
The ECI team completed 5 new platform investments across the year including:
- In February we reinvested in leading online platform ATG alongside its new owners. Read more
- In March our investment in fund and asset manager advisory firm, KB Associates, completed. Read more
- In July we invested in international critical connectivity provider, CSL. Read more
- In September we invested in predictive analytics software business, Mobysoft. Read more
- In December we invested in CIPHR, a leading UK provider of HCM software solutions.
2020 was also a busy period for portfolio realisations with 5 completed across the year:
- In January we sold education services consultancy mthree to Wiley, a global leader in research and education. Read more
- A month later we sold theatre ticketing agency Encore Tickets to US digital platform, TodayTix. Read more
- Also in February, Auction Technology Group was sold to TA Associates, acquired alongside Proxibid a leading US provider, combining the two businesses under the ATG Group. Read more
- In November, premium pet food brand, MPM, was sold to 3i, generating the highest return of 2020, at 4.4x. Read more
- In December IoT connectivity provider Arkessa was sold to a former ECI investment, Wireless Logic. Read more
2020 has been a busy period of further bolt-on activity across the portfolio, supporting our investments to make 10 additional bolt-on acquisitions with several further acquisitions in the pipeline. In a difficult year, it has been good to see the ECI team help our investments add value through sourcing acquisitions, in particular demonstrating ECI’s global M&A capability, with half of the acquisitions completed headquartered internationally.
- In February Auction Technology Group acquired Proxibid, as part of a deal with ECI reinvesting alongside its new owners, TA Associates. Read more
- Also in February, The Clear Group acquired Light & Legal Indemnity Solutions, which provides specialist advice in relation to Rights of Light insurances. Read more
- In March, Moneypenny joined forces with VoiceNation and Ninja Number to strengthen position in the US market. Read more
- Also in March Content+Cloud (then called IT Lab) acquired Sol-Tec, one of Microsoft’s largest Azure partners in the UK and a globally awarded ‘Azure Influencer Partner of the Year’ Finalist. Read more
- In August, Arkessa acquired Sim Services, a Netherlands-based connectivity services provider. Read more
- In October, The Clear Group acquired Brokerbility Holdings Ltd, its largest acquisition to date. Read more
- Also in October, Investis Digital announced it was further strengthening its digital expertise through the acquisition of Microserve. Read more
- Auction Technology Group acquired Auction Mobility, the US-based provider of customised auction software, website design and e-commerce solutions for auctioneers, also in October. Read more
- In November, Travel Chapter welcomed Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages to its network of brands. Read more
ECI in the community:
2020 has seen great progress on some key initiatives at ECI. This has included:
- our continued support of Level 20 which aims to improve gender diversity in the private equity industry
- we were one of the initial members of the 100 Black Interns initiative, committing alongside 80 asset managers to hire 100 black interns in 2021 to support better diversity in the industry
- we joined Out Investors, a global network for LGBT+ investment professionals
Our designated charity for 2020 was the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, whose aim is to educate young people, & those with responsibility for them, about their mental health & wellbeing. We raised money for them across the year (and are still fundraising here!) including our ECI LEJOG weekend, when for World Mental Health Day we collectively ran, cycled and swam from Lands End to John O’Groats. The Trust does a fantastic job supporting young people to look after their mental health, and whilst we selected Charlie Waller pre-COVID-19, the partnership felt particularly relevant as the year progressed.