WRAL TechWire spoke with Kevin Kemmerer, CEO at Brightly Solutions, about the transaction and about what comes next for the firm, formerly known as Dude Solutions. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and appears below.
Kevin Kemmerer, CEO, Brightly Solutions (Kemmerer): We started talks early this year, with the intent of recapitalizing the business by bringing on a new PE partner alongside Clearlake Capital to help us scale the company.
We also chose to talk with a handful of strategics – we received a lot of interest from both PE and strategic investors.
While we entertained several interested companies, Siemens came out on top. We’re very excited about the clear strategic fit we have with Siemens and look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership.
WRAL TechWire: So, how did the $1.6 billion deal with Siemens come together?
Kemmerer: Over the years, we’ve seen our industry and our clients change rapidly. Regulatory compliance is getting more challenging, the health of global infrastructure is high on agendas, and sustainable assets are becoming an even more essential part of how our world works. We’ve expanded our vision and solutions to help our clients navigate through this change, acquiring four companies, investing heavily into R&D, and expanding our product portfolio.
I met the Siemens team about a year ago to provide an update on our business. They came back a couple of months later to express interest in acquiring the company. We weren’t interested in selling then, but we continued to speak frequently and, of course, they were one of our first calls in this process. Siemens was steadfast in their interest to acquire Brightly, and reacted very swiftly once we approached them about our process. Over the due diligence process, we both gained even more appreciation for our teams’ synergies.
Background and impact
WRAL TechWire: When you were appointed from your interim CEO role to become the firm’s CEO, was bringing the company to the point of becoming an acquisition target a part of the expectations?
Kemmerer: My goal was to build the best team and the best company to open up all opportunities. That’s what we did and that’s what we will continue to do. We will continue to hire talented workers for Brightly.
WRAL TechWire: The company rebranded earlier this year – why?
Kemmerer: Our branding initiative was independent of this transaction. We had been planning and preparing for the rebrand for more than a year in response to the evolution of technology, the industry and our vision of where we are taking the company.
WRAL TechWire: How will the company’s current workforce be impacted by this deal? Any changes that will come about as a part of how the deal is structured?
Kemmerer: Our business will be supercharged by combining with Siemens. This acquisition is a tremendous growth opportunity for our employees. Siemens is planning to significantly increase R&D resources to accelerate our roadmap deliverables. We also expect to significantly expand our sales and marketing resources. Our organization structure won’t change – Siemens plans to run Brightly as a fully owned subsidiary within the Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) business unit. The Brightly management team is here to stay; we will run as a stand-alone company.
Future is bright
WRAL TechWire: Prior comments from the company to WRAL TechWire indicated that the company believed that it had growth potential – then there was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with about 20% reduction in workforce in the months following – the announcement of the acquisition this week noted growth possibility as well. What have the last three years been like for the company – and for you as an executive of the firm?
Kemmerer: We’re pleased with both the topline growth of the company and the transition to a highly profitable company over the last few years.
We have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to help our clients capitalize on a few key megatrends: digitization of formerly manual processes, massive investment in infrastructure upgrades, and massive investment in energy use reduction and net-zero carbon commitments.
We have been pleased with the recent shift by society to seriously tackle climate change. These key trends have really driven our business growth and our future opportunities.
WRAL TechWire: What’s the future look like, assuming the deal closes? Where are we moving toward as a country and global community, with regard to building quality, infrastructure, and smart, IoT technology in building industry?
Kemmerer: With this transaction, we’re combining Brightly’s innovation engine with Siemens, one of the most successful and admired companies in the world.
Their size and global footprint will enable us to have an even greater positive impact on society.
Together we will be leveraging digital representations of the physical “built” world to create tremendous operational and energy efficiencies for our clients.