5 deals that use tech to solve fleet management issues

Equistone, Main Capital and Battery Ventures are among the PE firms making deals in the fleet management segment.

When discussing the current macroeconomic climate, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the words “supply chain disruptions”. Private equity firms are finding ways to tackle those issues, with software as an aid to vehicle management an area of special interest.

Ranging from heavy-duty transport to hire cars, PE Hub Europe covered many deals in the vehicle and traffic management software segment. Here are five recent deals that caught our attention (in reverse chronological order):

1 Equistone drives home majority stake in Nexus

Halfway through January, Equistone acquired Nexus, a B2B vehicle rental aggregator platform, from Phoenix Equity Partners.

Nexus is a tech-driven business mobility provider with 550,000 vehicles across 2,000 locations. In 2022, the firm had more than 4 million rental reservations.

The Leeds-based company plans to launch product innovations in 2023 to assist the shifting mobility requirements of its customer base. In addition to increasing its investments in Nexus Connect, a mobile application that aims to streamline the rental process for end-users while on the move, Nexus also expanded into the plant hire and taxi market.

2 Battery Ventures snaps up Vimcar and Avrios

In early January, Battery Ventures made a combined growth-equity investment in a pair of cloud-software companies that operate in the European fleet-management sector, Avrios and Vimcar. The combined investment was €200 million, PE Hub Europe understands.

The two firms have over 250 employees and tens of thousands of customers in industries such as construction, technical field services, healthcare, manufacturing and government.

“Vehicles are a fact of life for those businesses and they need software to manage what’s become a pretty big and complex cost,” Zak Ewen, partner at Battery Ventures, told PE Hub Europe. “You have to know that your drivers are compliant. You have to manage fines, you have to manage damages and repairs, insurance policies, end of life for leases. The minute you have 10, 20, 30 plus vehicles, which is not huge in the grand scheme of things, it starts to get pretty complicated.”

3 Equistone takes majority stake in BUKO

In another early January deal, Equistone acquired a majority stake in BUKO Infrasupport and BUKO Waakt, providers of outsourced traffic and safety management systems in the Netherlands.

BUKO Infrasupport, headquartered in Barendrecht, specialises in offering end-to-end outsourced temporary traffic management systems. BUKO Waakt provides temporary remote security systems with a focus on camera surveillance, intrusion detection systems and access control systems.

“BUKO is already very well positioned – we want to build on this and further strengthen its service offering and market position in the Netherlands through organic growth,” said Hubert van Wolfswinkel, partner at Equistone’s Amsterdam office.

The firm is “also considering opportunities for expansion into neighbouring countries through strategic acquisitions”, added Tanja Berg, investment director at Equistone.

4 Innova Capital sells stake in Inelo Group to Eurowag in €300m deal

In late October, Warsaw-based Innova Capital reached an agreement to sell a 100 percent stake in Inelo Group to Eurowag in a deal worth in excess of €300 million.

Inelo provides integrated IT services for heavy-duty transport in the CEE region. The company’s product offering includes driver time analysis and calculation software and GPS satellite location software to aid driver vehicle tracking, routing and vehicle monitoring.

Innova received a “bunch of unsolicited approaches” for Inelo towards the end of 2021, according to senior partner Krzysztof Kulig. “That meant that the market was quite interesting for an exit.”

5 Main Capital launches logistics software group FleetGO Group

Halfway through September, Main Capital acquired logistics software companies Wanko and FleetGO. It combined the two companies to form a new logistics software group, FleetGO Group.

The new group will serve the SME and corporate market in the DACH and Benelux regions with Wanko based in Ainring, Germany and FleetGO based in Hattem, the Netherlands.

“The market for supply chain software offers significant growth opportunities for the DACH and Benelux regions and is also becoming increasingly important for companies from an ESG standpoint,” said Sven van Berge, head of DACH activities at Main Capital Partners.

PE Hub Europe expects to see more deals in the vehicle, traffic and fleet management software segments.