Private equity, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mergers and Acquisitions, Content, Small business

Vista Equity Acquires Small Business CRM Software Unicorn Pipedrive

Raj Sabhlok, CEO, Pipedrive
Raj Sabhlok, CEO, Pipedrive

Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners has acquired Pipedrive, a CRM (customer relationship management) platform for sales and marketing teams in the small and midsize business (SMB) sectors. The deal establishes Pipedrive as a unicorn -- essentially, a privately held company with a valuation of at least $1 billion.

This is M&A deal number 466 that ChannelE2E has tracked so far in 2020. See the complete M&A deal list here.

Pipedrive's existing investors -- Bessemer Venture Partners, Insight Partners, Atomico, DTCP, and Rembrandt Venture Partners -- remain minority investors in the CRM software company.

On the one hand, CRM platforms such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 enjoy critical mass among ISVs (independent software vendors), channel partners and end-customers. But on the other hand, Pipedrive has proven that CRM customers welcome disruptors and innovators.

The evidence: Pipedrive, founded in 2010, is used by sales teams at more than 95,000 companies worldwide. The company, headquartered, has roughly 600 employees. Ahead of the Vista Equity agreement, Pipedrive in June 2020 named former Zoho and ManageEngine leader Raj Sabhlok to succeed Timo Rein as CEO. Sabhlok previously built Zoho into one of the world's largest SaaS applications providers.

Vista Equity Acquires Pipedrive: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the investment, Sabhlok said:

"Pipedrive's overwhelming acceptance by over 95,000 sales teams around the world has been exhilarating. Reaching 'unicorn' status and partnering with Vista will enable us to accelerate our mission to support SMBs as they continue to digitize their businesses in order to grow. Our goal is to successfully deliver on the bold vision that Pipedrive set earlier this year – to provide our users with powerful tools that cover the whole customer journey. This means developing a holistic set of products for various customer-facing teams – from helping marketers find leads, supporting sales teams to close deals, to serving customers success professionals to upsell and nurture relationships."

John Stalder, Vista Equity Partners
Monti Saroya, Vista Equity Partners

Added Monti Saroya, co-head of the Vista Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista Equity Partners.

"Pipedrive's industry accolades are well-deserved, but nothing is more telling about the strength of the company and its technology than the tremendous demand for its solutions and the loyalty of its customers. We look forward to partnering with Pipedrive and its existing investors to provide disruptive, innovative and value-driving sales enablement solutions that help teams sell with certainty and efficiency."

Concluded John Stalder, managing director at Vista Equity Partners:

"As more and more small- and medium-sized businesses look to accelerate their digital adoption to grow and thrive, Pipedrive has proven itself an invaluable partner with solutions that drive revenue growth to its customers. We see a tremendous opportunity to work with the Pipedrive team and their partners to continue to grow the business and serve small- and medium-sized businesses globally."

Pipedrive CRM for Channel Partners and MSPs?

ChannelE2E is checking to see if or how Pipedrive plans to engage channel partners and managed IT services providers (MSPs). Both Vista Equity and Pipedrive CEO Raj Sabhlok have deep knowledge of the MSP market, especially in terms of small business IT management and automation.

Vista Equity's MSP-friendly investment portfolio includes data protection provider Datto and infrastructure monitoring firm LogicMonitor. Datto recently launched a successful IPO. Also, Pipedrive minority investor Insight Partners owns stakes in multiple MSP-friendly companies -- including IT management software providers Cherwell and Kaseya; endpoint security provider SentinelOne; and data protection company Veeam. Cherwell just announced an MSP partner strategy; Kaseya is exploring a potential IPO or another type of financial event; and SentinelOne just raised $267 million at a $3 billion valuation.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.