Connection Capital, the leading private client investment business has announced the completion of the £10m Management Buyout of Impero, the leading e-safety, classroom, network and user management software provider based in the UK.
Clients of Connection Capital committed £4m to a combined debt and equity package alongside independent UK bank BLME, which is one of the most active in the UK mid-market
Impero was founded in 2002 and is a fast growing software business which has developed a comprehensive package solution for schools, colleges, and universities offering flexible networking and e-safety functionality together with powerful classroom management software solutions designed to promote a better, safer and more dynamic learning environment.
Its core software product, Impero Education Pro, offers real-time visibility of users’ computers in one central view, allowing teachers better control of the classroom and of pupil behaviour. It gives them the ability to monitor performance; ensuring that pupils remain focussed on set tasks whilst also monitoring or blocking access to websites, folders, applications, hardware and games.
Impero has also worked closely with organisations including the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Beat and students themselves to develop a dictionary of abusive terms and ‘urban slang’ that can be monitored to indicate inappropriate behaviour. The program scans pupils’ messages for any words or acronyms deemed inappropriate and then sends a report of violations to teachers. It also includes a new e-safety feature called ‘Confide’ which gives students a voice with which to report internet violations or bullying concerns, confidentially.
Impero Education Pro is already being used on over 1.6 million workstations in schools in 181 local authorities across the UK with significant scope for further growth. The business boasts sales in 37 other international markets, including the US where the company’s software is already used on nearly 200,000 workstations and where it aims to match its 25% UK market share within four years.
Connection Capital is a leading private equity investor in the UK SME market. Connection has backed the CEO of the business, Jon Valentine who is the founder and original architect of the software, to acquire the remaining two thirds of the business from his two partners. Jon will lead the rapidly growing company, which has increased its headcount from 8 to 80 since 2010, into the next phase of its development, supported by an able management team which has been significantly strengthened during the investment process.
Julian Carr, Partner at Connection Capital comments: “Jon has grown Impero into the leading classroom management, network management and e-safety software provider in the UK education market in an impressively short period of time. The fact that the business has achieved significant sales into the US is testimony to the strength of this market-leading product. We look forward to supporting Jon in developing the company further and increasing market share in the UK, USA and its other 37 international markets. The UK needs more innovative businesses like Impero.”
Claire Madden, Co-Founder of Connection Capital comments: “The SME market in the UK is very buoyant and this is an excellent example of the type of quality, highly attractive growth investment opportunity we can offer our clients.”
Jon Valentine, CEO of Impero Software comments: “This is great news for Impero. With the support of Connection Capital and BLME we can continue to grow and develop the business across Europe, the USA and other international markets.”
Jervis Rhodes, Head of Corporate Banking at BLME commented: “BLME is pleased to be supporting a market leader such as Impero to expand and develop their services in the UK and overseas. It is a challenge for many mid-market companies to secure reliable financing and gain bank support for management buy-outs. BLME is addressing this by providing competitive financing where we see attractive opportunities.”