Cleo, which like other companies involved in business-to-business (B2B) technology, saw rapid growth in the past year as online commerce and communication accelerated, has received a strategic investment from an affiliate of alternative investment firm H.I.G. Capital.
The companies did not disclose how much the investment was, and Cleo declined to provide an update of previous investment rounds.
Mahesh Rajasekharan, president and CEO of Cleo, told Modern Shipper the investment will “strengthen our leadership position in an emerging software category” and ecosystem that “Cleo created.”
Headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, Cleo is an ecosystem integration SaaS platform company that controls and integrates the movement of B2B enterprise data. The Cleo Integration Cloud platform provides more than 4,000 customers worldwide with supply chain visibility into revenue-critical end-to-end business processes across the ecosystems of partners and customers, marketplaces and customers’ internal applications.
Rajasekharan said H.I.G. represented the right fit for Cleo as it went in search of a growth partner.
“We’ve enjoyed robust, double-digit [and] above-market growth, so thus far we’ve been largely able to fund our own growth,” he said. “Now, as e-commerce-driven digital transformation is exploding across industries, we know we need to scale faster as our category expands. So we’ve been prudent, both as to timing and selecting the right growth partner.”
H.I.G. is a global alternative investment firm with over $44 billion in equity capital under management. In the transportation and logistics space, H.I.G. has made strategic investments in Capstone Logistics and Cardinal among others.
“To compete successfully, companies across industries need to master increasingly complex B2B information flows and integrate the applications running the enterprise. Cleo has the platform that helps its clients meet these challenges,” Timur Akazhanov, managing director of H.I.G., said in a statement. “[Cleo] is positioned for further growth as e-commerce and the exponential market growth of digital information flows continue to expand the need for user-friendly, rapidly deployed and feature-rich platforms like Cleo’s.”
Cleo has been backed by an investor group led by Alpine Investors and Peterson Partners.
Rajasekharan noted that the investment is key to helping Cleo expand in a market segment that could top $5.5 billion this year, according to Gartner.
“This new relationship with H.I.G. Capital will help Cleo innovate faster and deliver more value to our customers and the industries we serve,” he said. “But above all, it underscores the market’s confidence in the rapidly growing ecosystem integration software category that Cleo created and that’s good for everyone.”
UBS Investment Bank served as exclusive financial adviser to Cleo and Guggenheim Securities LLC and Harris Williams served as financial advisers to H.I.G.
“We believe Cleo offers best-in-class cloud integration platform technology following years of heavy investment in product development, which is now earning high praise from customers, and is being adopted at a robust rate. We are thrilled to partner with Mahesh and the Cleo team to continue to accelerate the company’s growth trajectory,” Akazhanov added.
Rajasekharan said strategic planning will remain collaborative with the company’s board. A representative of H.I.G. Capital Investors will join the board and the search will begin for a few additional industry executives with relevant expertise to join as well in the months ahead.