DURHAM — Back in 1998, Billy Marshall and Jason Caplain first met while working as execs at Red Hat in downtown Raleigh.

Fast forward to today: Caplain is heading up his own venture capital firm, Bull City Venture Partners (BCVP), and is now one of the main backers of his friend’s latest venture.

Today, BCVP, along with Charlotte-based growth equity firm Frontier Growth, announced it had made a “significant” investment in ServiceTrade, a Durham-based software as a service (SaaS) platform for commercial service contractors.

While Caplain remained tight-lipped on the sum, Marshall disclosed it was about a “$30 million deal” — with the majority coming from Frontier.

“The new investors are now the controlling entity,” he told WRAL TechWire via a Zoom interview, adding that existing shareholders continue to hold a “significant percentage.”

Billy Marshall and Brian Smithwick

Marshall and his co-founder, Brian Smithwick, said they decided to partner with Frontier because they specialize in vertical SaaS. They are committed to the level of investment that “yields the type of growth that we believe is possible.”

Meanwhile, it’s the second time BCVP has invested in the company, initiating a bridge investment about a year ago.

“Combined with the power of Frontier Growth’s investment and knowledge, the BCVP team is proud to support this new partnership with our participation in this financing,” Caplain said.

WRAL TechWire photo (Copyright by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

WRAL TechWire photo (Copyright by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Scaling quickly

Founded in 2012 as a spin-out of another Durham tech company DunnWell, ServiceTrade currently caters to some 500 customers across fire protection, mechanical, and electrical industries, offering a platform to streamline their operations.

Now with the backing of Frontier, Marshall said the company is ready to scale quickly. That includes expanding its current team of around 70 employees.

“We’ve already hired close to 20 people since the beginning of the year, and I expect us to continue to hire  primarily in engineering, sales and marketing [roles], and also in support,” Marshall said.

However, given the uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic, he isn’t putting an exact number on it.

“We’ll have to take it day by day, as it relates to how the market is reacting. But our market is, generally speaking, essential workers. Our business has held up pretty well.”

Adding more products is also in the pipeline.

“Industry-specific, scalable, integrated field service management software has become a prerequisite for commercial services companies looking to find a competitive edge in their markets,” said Richard Maclean, managing Partner at Frontier.

“We are excited to partner with Billy, Brian, and the ServiceTrade team as they work to grow the company’s presence as a leader in the field services software space.”

Maclean, along with Frontier’s operating partner Chris Fountain and vice president Tyler Krueger, will join the company’s board of directors.