Assessio’s switch to ‘pure software player’ aided Main Capital exit

Assessio's revenue almost tripled under Main's ownership, said Main's Wessel Ploegmakers.

Main Capital Partners‘ transformation of e-assessment company Assessio from “a software-driven player to a pure software player” helped open an exit route for the company amid an uncertain economic backdrop, partner Wessel Ploegmakers told PE Hub Europe.

Stockholm-based Assessio provides digital services for recruitment and development. Main, a software investor based in the Hague with more than €2.2 billion in assets under management, announced at the end of August that it will sell Assessio to Pollen Street Capital.

Main received a multiple that was many times its investment, said Ploegmakers.

Around 50 percent of the company’s revenues were recurring and software-driven and 50 percent consultancy-driven when Main invested in 2019. Now, 85-90 percent are software-driven – meaning there were “limited effects” on the business from the wider macroeconomic outlook, said Ploegmakers.

“Market growth was around 15-20 percent and organic growth in recurring revenues was above 25 percent, which proves that you can create attractive exit routes in more uncertain environments,” said Ploegmakers.

Assessio’s revenue almost tripled under Main’s ownership. “In the end, it was close to €30 million,” he added. Assessio grew that number while maintaining a high profitability margin, he said.

Main helped the business grow via add-on acquisitions and organic growth. “We acquired players in the market we felt had an interesting offering adjacent to the offering of Assessio, and integrating that into a new platform and by building market share.”

Main Capital backed Assessio in three add-on acquisitions: HFMTalentindex and Eelloo from the Netherlands and People Test Systems from Denmark.

Assessio’s market position also solidified, especially in the Netherlands and the Nordics, said Ploegmakers. “They have a platform that is stronger than what the competition has to offer, because we combined the pre-hire and the post-hire so we can also follow employees along in their journey.”

Strategic interest

Once that work was completed, it was a natural moment to sell, said Ploegmakers. “We have been winning more than 200 new customers a year and it’s either we continue building that, or a new owner takes it over.”

The sale process brought in interest from “some larger US strategics” as well as financial firms like eventual buyer Pollen Street. The strategic suitors were primarily US companies desiring a footprint in Europe, he added.

While Main has exited Assessio, it still has exposure to the HR industry. Some of its investments in the sector include Textkernel, a provider of AI-powered recruitment services that automate processes throughout the entire recruitment cycle, and Perbility, a cloud-based provider of HR software services.