Status:

Realised

Commitment:

£17m

Date of investment / Realisation:

2011 / 2017

Sector:

Technology | Software

Buy & Build:

2 completed acquisitions

“Horizon Capital's support enabled us to build our product and technical capabilities and deliver new solutions to customers across the global marketplace.”

Heath DaviesCEO, Clearswift

Background

In light of ever-increasing cyber threats and regulation, Horizon Capital carefully mapped the security-software and services markets.  Clearswift was identified as a widely respected asset providing mission-critical solutions to a global spread of more than 2,500 blue-chip customers across government, defence, law & order, critical infrastructure and the financial service sectors. 

Clearswift was acquired in 2011 as a well-invested and attractively positioned business in need of commercial focus.  Working alongside a strong new senior management team, Horizon Capital helped build an efficient sales and marketing engine while significantly expanding the product suite.

The Journey

At completion, Horizon Capital appointed veteran software experts as NX Chairman and NXD.  Over the next twelve months we strengthened the team, attracting a new CEO, FD, CTO and CSO and investing in product management capability.  The new and enlarged team brought innovation, energy and significantly increased productivity.

Horizon Capital’s investment in product engineering built on Clearswift’s reputation as subject experts in DLP and deep content inspection, solving challenges presented by complex and very large data files.  The new roadmap saw innovative solutions developed in governance security,  adaptive loss prevention and endpoint security alongside feature enhancements for Clearswift’s traditional online email and web gateways.  Clearswift is now recognised by Gartner as a market leading DLP-vendor. Clearswift’s go-to-market proposition was streamlined with greater emphasis on direct sales and key resellers. 

Buy and Build

Two add-on businesses were acquired, enhancing Clearswift’s endpoint device security functionality and providing deeper decryption capability.

Realisation

During the investment period, Clearswift’s revenue growth accelerated and profits rose more than sixfold.  The business was sold to RUAG International, a strategic purchaser in early 2016 for £76 million.

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