Verdane invests in software companies Meltwater and Jobylon

Joakim Kjemperud talks to PE Hub Europe about Verdane’s investment in Fountain Venture’s portfolio comprising two software companies.

Jørn Lyseggen and Joakim Kjemperud
Jørn Lyseggen (left) and Joakim Kjemperud

Verdane is investing in Fountain Venture’s portfolio to acquire stakes in software companies Meltwater and Jobylon, PE Hub Europe can reveal.

Meltwater offers software products across media, social, consumer and sales intelligence segments. Brands such as Google, Kellogg’s and AstraZeneca use Meltwater’s services. The company’s total annual recurring revenue in 2022 was $478 million and adjusted EBIDTA was $36 million. It has 2,300 employees, 27,000 corporate customers worldwide and 50 offices globally.

Jobylon is a recruiting software provider. Its customers include PwC, Santander and McDonald’s.

“We have a super flexible mandate that allows us to cater for different deals,” Joakim Kjemperud, principal at Verdane, told PE Hub Europe. “That can be minority or majority positions, single investments or portfolio investments. This deal with Fountain Venture is really leveraging that flexibility.”

Fountain Venture is the investment firm of Norwegian entrepreneur Jørn Lyseggen, the co-founder and executive chairman of Meltwater, which was founded in Olso but is now headquartered in San Francisco. In August, Meltwater returned to private ownership following public trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange, as Marlin Equity Partners and Altor took the company private. Verdane will work alongside the two firms, Lyseggen and Meltwater’s management to grow the business.

Stages

While Meltwater and Stockholm-based Jobylon are both B2B software-as-a-service businesses, they are at very different maturity levels, leading to different approaches when it comes to value creation.

Meltwater is much more mature, with an existing global presence. “We will work with them to create the best product out there, both from a technical perspective and from the user friendliness side,” said Kjemperud.

In Jobylon’s case, Verdane will position itself for Jobylon to “leverage us as they see fit”, said Kjemperud. “Jobylon is more of a local Nordic HR software, and we have a lot of expertise in scaling SaaS in the Nordics,” he added. “We also have a large portfolio of related assets that we can draw experience from.”

Organic growth will be the main target, according to Kjemperud. “We’re always opportunistic and keen on exploring M&A of course, but it’s not the main focus,” he added.

The Nordic tech segment remains interesting for Verdane. “It’s a massive market, with thousands of companies in our investable universe,” said Kjemperud. “Everything from generic B2B applications to very specific ERP, project management and HR solutions for certain industries.”

The investment in Fountain Venture was made through Verdane’s Freya XI fund, which in September closed at its €1.1 billion hard-cap in an oversubscribed fundraise, with an over 100 percent re-up rate of commitments from its predecessor fund.