RALEIGH – There’s a new unicorn headquartered in the Triangle: insightsoftware, now valued at about $4 billion after the three-year-old company with private equity backing closed an $800 million deal with Hg.

WRAL TechWire reporter Jason Parker interviewed insightsoftware CEO Jim Triandiflou, who joined the company as its chief executive in October 2020, via Zoom, the day the deal was announced.  Join WRAL TechWire as we go behind the deal.  A transcript, lightly edited, follows the embedded video.



WRAL TechWire reporter Jason Parker (TW): A privately-owned Raleigh company that has acquired 17 companies since its founding in 2018 today announced it has raised $800 million in a deal that values the company at about $4 billion.  Today, WRAL TechWire is sitting down with the company’s CEO for an interview.  Thank you, Jim, for joining us, welcome.

Jim Triandiflou, CEO, insightsoftware: Thanks so much, Jason, glad to be here, and it’s an exciting day for us.

TW: I’m sure it is.  Let’s just jump right in.  According to the announcement of the $800 million deal, the company is now valued at around $4 billion.  Let’s talk a little bit about why this investment deal was made, and why at this time, why right now?

Couple things, first of all, why now?  The markets are so good, valuations are healthy, and it was a bit opportunistic given the relationships that our current investors have with Hg, so that certainly came into play.  The other thing that came into play is the great performance of the company; we have our organic growth really rocking and rolling, and that hasn’t happened in a while for the company, so that’s a big factor.

We just completed two big acquisitions that we brought into the company, and so from a profitability standpoint, we’re very, very strong.  Those all contributed.

A little bit of the performance of the business, a little bit of the market conditions, a little bit of the relationships that our investors had with Hg, it all came together and culminated in this deal.

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TW: Excellent.  And with an $800 million raise, all from one investor, Hg, correct?

That’s correct.

TW: So interest in the company must have been high, especially given the market conditions you just discussed.  How and why did you decide on this being the amount of money to raise, and on the partner, your investor?

A lot of the rationale with the partner was prior relationships. TA Associates is in a number of other deals with Hg.  Our chairman, Mark Friedman, and his firm, ST6, is in a number of other deals with Hg.  It’s trusted relationships there, so unlike a lot of deals, we did not go far and wide and talk to a lot of potential investors.

We took a rifle shot with one target and said here’s what it looks like, we’d love to have you as a part of the team, and they were excited about what they saw, and that’s how the deal came together.

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TW: How will the investment affect operations for the company?

Just probably turbocharge us, I guess.  You know, 17 acquisitions over three years is a heck of a lot, and we’re going to keep going at that pace, although I do think it will change,

I think we’ll probably do bigger acquisitions, maybe fewer per year.  Last year, we did six acquisitions, that’s a lot in one year.  We’ll probably do fewer, but bigger ones.  A lot of the money will be used in that regard.

And then, you know, organic growth, sales, and marketing.  We’re hiring, we have 98 open jobs right now, in our company, around the world, so we’re going to keep hiring, keep growing.


TW: How many of those jobs are you hiring for in Raleigh?

About a third of them are for Raleigh, although in corona-times, things are more flexible than ever.  We’re pretty flexible about where the jobs are, but in a perfect world, we’d love to have about a third be right here in our headquarters.

TW: You’d talked a little bit with us previously back in February about the acquisition strategy for the company.  I know you’d mentioned that though the pace of acquisitions may slow, you are still looking at that.  You told us the goal is to acquire additional companies, all that provide any given office of a given company’s CFO the ability to have a complete portfolio of tools available to them.  So how is the absorption of all of these prior companies, especially the ones you acquired last year, proceeding, and what should we expect to hear from you all going forward for the rest of this year and going into 2022.

So far, so good, on the integration of the acquisitions.  We did Certent in December, which was the biggest acquisition we’d ever done, it brought us into the equity management space and disclosure management.  And then, three months later, we did the next biggest we’d ever done, it actually became the biggest we’d ever done, Logi Analytics, which is out of Virginia, and so those integrations are going well.  We do have some things in the hopper, hopefully in about two weeks or so, we’ll have another announcement on something that is outside of the U.S., so we’re full steam ahead.


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TW: We look forward to hearing about that when that is ready, and when it has closed.  We talked a little about the nature of the coronavirus era and the pandemic.  How have employees been operating, and how have you found that experience to be, as the one who runs and manages the entire organization?

It’s interesting that I started with the company on October 1, and today is only my second day ever in the office.  So that’s a little weird.  I have nine direct reports, and one of them, I met for the first time ever, two weeks ago, at Wrightsville Beach, on the beach.  We met up on the beach, because she was there with her family, and I was there with mine.

As a tech company, we transitioned pretty quickly to being remote.  We’ve had our June quarter, our June quarter was the best we’ve ever had, so the business is performing really well.  We’re in no rush to get people back to the office, everything is voluntary right now.  If you want to be here, great, if you don’t, that’s all good, too.  It’s different times, but you get your rhythm, and I think we have our rhythm going in this world, and we’ll keep it rolling.

TW: How has the pandemic, on the other side, not the employee and the workforce side, but how has the pandemic affected client acquisition, or affected your ability as the CEO to pursue deals, whether those are acquisitions or otherwise.

You know, if you would have asked me 15 months ago to predict, I would have never predicted it would have gone as well as it has.  And I think that’s true for a lot of tech companies, I don’t think that’s just us.  With the pandemic, if you’re a finance organization, you want to have visibility, and your arms around your business more tightly than ever.  As I said, our June quarter was the best quarter we’ve ever had, so business is good.  But M&A, gosh, the M&A market is just so hot, who would have predicted that a year, or 18 months ago, in this pandemic world?  So it’s been happening.  I think the pandemic has required us all to think about things differently, and I don’t think it’ll ever go back to the way it was.

TW: Are there any trends that you’ve seen emerge during the last 15-18 months that you think are particularly salient, and are ones that you’re going to continue to follow?

You know, there are things in the world of finance, you see more and more around the consolidation and reporting of financial information.  People talk about AI and business intelligence and all that, and that is great, and that is happening, but I think just more fundamentally the desire for finance organizations to have true visibility across their organization, whether that’s how sales look, how things look in manufacturing, how things look in operations in general, it just really ramped it up.

When corona started, there was a good bit of fear that swept through the business world, “Are we going to be able to keep running our business?  How is this going to work?”  And that fear gave way to a new set of controls that really have finance organizations wanting to make sure they have their arms wrapped around their business.  We’ll see if that loosens up a little bit, as we’re in this new normal, but that was a trend that came through loud and clear.

TW: Thank you so much.  What else can you tell us, Jim, about this deal, or the future of this company, as you look forward and plan for the rest of the year or for 2022?

I didn’t know this when I joined the business, so it’s part of what I’ve learned, but if you’re running a finance business today, in any part of the world, in any industry, you probably have 20-30 different pieces of software that you need in order to run your business.  You’ve got to do payroll, you’ve got to reimburse your employee’s expenses, you’ve got to have a budget in place, you have to close your books, there’s about 20 to 30 different pieces of software.  The foundation of that is your general ledger system out of your ERP, and we’re never going to be an ERP system, but we want to do as much around that as possible.

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We’re in 9 categories of software today, we hope to get to 15-plus different categories of software, all in the office of the CFO, all wrapped around that ERP system.  I think you’ll see us keep growing, you’ll see us keep doing acquisitions, our goal is to get to $1 billion in revenue.  This investment with Hg is really going to help us on that path.

TW: Are you planning on building the team out in Raleigh?  Are you going to maintain a headquarters here, look at alternate or second headquarters locations as you grow?

No, we’re staying right here on Six Forks Road, just up from North Hills, where we’re headquartered.  We’re not going anywhere, we have a long-term lease, we took a second floor right before the pandemic–not the best timing, but think that over the long term it will work out–and we’re definitely hiring here in Raleigh.