Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), one of the UK’s most active private equity houses, has led the £2.7 million investment in intranet software specialists Orchidsoft Limited (“Orchid”).
A total of £2.2 million has been provided by Maven funds, which includes a £700,000 investment from the Finance Durham Fund, in addition to a £500,000 follow-on investment from existing backers Northstar Ventures, from the recently launched North East Fund supported by the European Regional Development Fund. The funding will enable the business to expand its sales and marketing efforts across the UK and US and to grow its team of 45 employees to over 100 by 2022. The Finance Durham Fund was established by Durham County Council and overseen by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham.
Orchid has been a pioneer in developing and selling intranet solutions for over 20 years. As the market has shifted towards cloud-based solutions, the business invested heavily in developing its own globally scalable cloud-based platform called Oak. The flexibility of its ‘out of the box’ intranet platform, which has no set-up or configuration costs, makes it suitable for businesses of all sizes and the software is now being used by hundreds of thousands of people every day across a multitude of sectors. Since its launch in 2016 Oak has been adopted by a range of high profile, blue-chip customers, who join an impressive list of house-hold brands the company already works with such as Aldi, Comic Relief, Halfords, Pizza Express, ITV, Virgin Money and Newcastle Building Society.
Orchid has designed Oak with user experience, engagement and simplicity at its core. The software’s ease-of-use enhances communication and collaboration, enables knowledge sharing and streamlines administration tasks for any size of organisation. The solution is extremely intuitive, and Oak can be implemented, populated and maintained without the need for any consultancy, technical or design resources. All upgrades and new features are also rolled out seamlessly via the cloud.
The cloud services market, and SaaS in particular, has grown rapidly in recent years and a paradigm shift in the market is taking place, with the delivery of software moving away from traditional on-premises software to cloud based solutions. In 2017 27.8% of global enterprise applications were delivered as SaaS which is forecast to increase significantly to 86% by 2022. Intranets are increasingly becoming more essential and deeply embedded in the operations of an organisation. The UK intranet market is estimated to be worth £630m annually, with the wider European market 5x larger and the US market 6x larger.
Orchid was founded in 1993 by Ajay Sood. CEO, Sukh Ryatt, joined the business in 2009, bringing over 26 years of sales, business management, project and marketing management experience, and has been instrumental in planning and executing the company’s ambitious sales and marketing strategy.
Maven has significant experience of backing other ambitious software companies, including the mobile app developer hedgehog lab, compensation management software solution provider Curo, and led the £6 million MBO of the CRM specialist ProspectSoft. Today’s investment is the seventh deal from the £20 million Finance Durham Fund, which is managed by Maven.
Michael Vassallo, Investment Director at Maven, said: “Orchid is a hugely exciting business, which addresses a large and growing market, and we are delighted to support the roll-out of its innovative cloud-based intranet software across the UK and overseas. We have been highly impressed by the management team and our technical diligence has shown the Orchid product suite to be best in class. The co-investment deal between Maven’s Investor Partners network, Northstar Ventures and Finance Durham is a fantastic example of Maven’s client funds working alongside regional funds in the North East to provide a local business with a sustainable funding package to enable it to grow globally.”
Sukh Ryatt, CEO at Orchid added: “Our amazing team have created something really special with Oak and it’s been an incredible year for us, with record sales and growth and now with this transformative investment, which will allow us to scale our business globally. We’re thankful for the great funding partners we have in Maven, Northstar Ventures and Finance Durham and look forward to working together with them to make a noise from the North East that’s heard around the globe!”.
Alex Buchan, Investment Director at Northstar Ventures, said, "We’ve worked with Orchid for several years now after being impressed with the team and the potential for Oak. We've been delighted to give our support and funding to help the development of the product and are really happy to see another of our investments expanding and heading for even more success."
Sarah Slaven, Business Development Director at Business Durham said: “We are delighted that the Finance Durham investment will support Orchidsoft’s continued growth when establishing its head office and training centre here in Durham. Orchid has been a pioneer providing intranet solutions for over twenty years and we look forward to working with Sukh and the team in this next exciting phase of development for the business.”