Parabellum’s ieDigital outlines criteria for next add-ons

The banking software developer has acquired AI-based recommendation system Abaka.

Parabellum Investments portfolio company ieDigital is on the lookout for acquisitions that will add small business lending software, fraud analytics software and customer engagement and call management software to its product set that now includes AI-based recommendation system Abaka, Parabellum CEO Rami Cassis told PE Hub Europe.

Rami Cassis, Parabellum Investments

Further acquisitions will most likely be in the UK and the US. Parabellum was already looking to add more US companies to expand its presence in the US, on top of the acquisition of Connect FSS, a banking app and website developer for credit unions, based in Sandy, Utah.

“We are looking to diversify to grow our market share within the credit union market in the US,” said Cassis. “We will also be looking at the banking sector. We want to continue to grow both organically and by acquisition.”

ieDigital is a banking software developer headquartered in London that counts banks such as Santander, Sainsbury’s Bank and Lloyds among its clients. The acquisition of Abaka adds an AI-driven system known as ‘next-best-action’.

“The software predicts the types of financial and investment products banking customers will next want to buy,” said Cassis. “And the software predicts that based on a whole range of data points, whilst it sweeps the range of products that is available to the financial institution to which the software has been sold.

“It really is what people call hyper-personalisation. They’re able to substantially improve the level of engagement banking customers have with their own banks as well as the conversion rates of financial product sales to banking customers.”

Geographic fit

Abaka stood out from competitors because of its client list, its underlying tech and a cultural fit with the ieDigital team.

“The tech comes from France, a lot of the clients are in the UK and the focus of the business is to drive revenue in the US and the UK,” said Cassis. “We’re very much aligned in terms of where we want to take the business and the geographical markets.”

Abaka is headquartered in London with offices in France and the UAE. It began life as a software company founded by a group of engineers who studied together in France.

The company had been through a series of fundraises, but the next round was proving to be “a little bit difficult”, said Cassis, while some investors were also looking to cash out.

The management team is staying on, but all the previous investors are being taken out by the ieDigital acquisition. The Abaka website lists some of these as Ace & Company, Anthemis Group, Downing Ventures and Lingfeng Capital.

London-headquartered Parabellum is the family office of Cassis, who has been both a majority and minority investor in ieDigital since around 2010, during which time the company also delisted from London’s AIM network.

“The most important thing for the coming months is really to focus on integration and ensuring we all rally around a single brand, a single identity, a single culture,” said Cassis.