Gilde Equity Management has sold BlueCielo, a Netherlands-headquartered global software provider, to a leading US software company Accruent.
BlueCielo provides solutions to blue-chip customers in pharmaceutical, oil & gas, chemical and utility industries across the globe to manage engineering information throughout the lifecycle of assets. BlueCielo Meridian software helps its customers manage risk and compliance, resulting in significant operational efficiencies.
Gilde Equity Management (Gilde) acquired BlueCielo in 2012 after it identified significant market potential for software solutions that facilitated the sharing of critical information across assets and teams within the same business. Major incidents such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico, highlighted the need for professional and outsourced software that could help businesses effectively monitor operations and mitigate risk.
Gerhard Nordemann, Managing Partner, Gilde: “BlueCielo is a transformation story. When we acquired BlueCielo in 2012, the company was regionally organized, with separate product units not talking to one another and heading in their own directions. When we brought in a team led by Dutch IT industry veteran, Willem-Jan Scholten, they had to roll up their sleeves because there was a lot of heavy lifting that needed to be done. The team successfully transformed BlueCielo from a project-based company to a highly integrated, full-service software provider.”
The first step in transforming BlueCielo was reorganizing the business structure to focus on customer groups rather than individual projects, which was followed by building a strong team. “Gilde brought in a lot of new talent into our organization”, said Willem-Jan Scholten, BlueCielo CEO. “We strengthened virtually all of our functions, especially the commercial and product teams.” Together, these changes allowed BlueCielo to rapidly launch new applications across its customer base, including mobile and cloud-based apps, leading to dramatic overall growth.
New product development was particularly important for BlueCielo and the company launched a large multi-year R&D program to transform its suite of on-premise client applications into single-tenant and multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. “Gilde really understood the need for BlueCielo, as an innovative company, to invest heavily in R&D to develop a next-generation, future-proof solution”, said Scholten. “In fact, 2017 is the peak year of our R&D investment program”. Earlier this year BlueCielo rolled out its flagship software suite Meridian 2017 while continuously expanding its cloud-based Meridian360 and mobile solutions.
“We are excited to have helped Willem-Jan and his great team transition BlueCielo from a small project-based software consultancy into a leading global software provider,” said Gerhard Nordemann. “We are particularly pleased with the pace of expansion into international markets that BlueCielo has managed to achieve”. During Gilde’s ownership period, BlueCielo has opened a number of international offices and now has locations in the US, Brazil, Singapore, and various European countries. The company has built a particularly strong presence in the US market, which now accounts for close to half of its revenues. Its clients include many of the Fortune 500 companies active in the oil & gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, metals & mining and utilities sectors.
John Borgerding, CEO, Accruent: “BlueCielo increases Accruent’s depth and breadth of innovative physical resource management solutions by adding engineering information management to our portfolio. This acquisition not only adds another complementary best-of-breed solution to our portfolio, it also establishes a new strategic growth platform with a strong geographic footprint in Europe, and expertise in additional industry sectors like pharmaceuticals, oil & gas and chemicals.”
The sale of BlueCielo is yet another successful milestone in what is turning out to be a banner year for Gilde. Earlier in 2017, the firm announced the sale of a leading global electric vehicle charging services provider, EV-Box, to the French multinational utility company ENGIE. Gilde has also made three new investments including a producer of focaccia specialty breads Boboli, a home furnishings retailer Leen Bakker, and a specialty software company Ultimo Software Solutions. In addition, several Gilde portfolio companies have made follow-on acquisitions over the course of the year: the staffing company Actief Interim has further expanded into Germany with the acquisition of TimeCraft while the healthcare IT company Impulse Info Systems has acquired NederCare and VIR e-Care Solutions in the Netherlands.
About BlueCielo - BlueCielo provides solutions to manage engineering information throughout the asset lifecycle. Its Meridian software connects maintenance and engineering, supports concurrent plant modifications, and improves data handover. BlueCielo solutions transform engineering data into actionable plant information, keeping users informed, compliant, and in control. With BlueCielo, owner operators run their plants more effectively, safely, sustainably, and profitably. The company is headquartered in the Netherlands and employs more than 170 FTE. www.bluecieloecm.com
About Accruent - Accruent is a global software company that helps organizations achieve superior performance by transforming how they manage their physical resources. Its innovative, industry-leading cloud-based software and services enable organizations to optimize all stages of real estate, facilities and asset management from capital planning through to IoT-based monitoring and control. With a proven track record across two decades, Accruent has created the only integrated SaaS-based framework and reporting platform for full lifecycle physical resource management. Over 6,000 global customers depend on Accruent solutions to drive out hidden costs, extend asset lifecycles, protect their brands, ensure compliance and deliver on the missions of their organization. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Accruent serves a wide range of industries in 149 countries around the world. www.accruent.com