Wise Equity’s Montefusco: OneTag to aim for US expansion

Buying a technology firm allowed Wise Equity to diversify away from the supply chain risks in its typical industrials and manufacturing investments, says Ilaria Montefusco.

Wise Equity will push programmatic adtech platform OneTag to penetrate “major” European countries and then approach the US market, Ilaria Montefusco, an investment manager at the firm, told PE Hub Europe.

In mid-September, Milan-based Wise Equity announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire OneTag. The Wisequity V fund will acquire a 55 percent stake, with OneTag’s founding partners reinvesting to hold 45 percent.

OneTag, also headquartered in Milan, is a technology company specialising in programmatic advertising, a means of buying and selling online advert placements.

“Our objective is to start growing in the European market at first, with the final objective to build a reality that is extremely competitive in the US because the US is the heart of programmatic,” Montefusco said.

To reach those markets, Montefusco envisions using M&A, in addition to organic growth. “We believe that there is a tangible opportunity of growth, also through acquisitions, since the market is a very fragmented one,” she said.

Wise Equity will aid OneTag in finding the “key people” to help it develop the market. These people will utilise their local relationships on the supply and demand side. “OneTag technology will do the rest,” Montefusco added.

“Companies with a tech team could see an opportunity in becoming part of a bigger group, and at the same time we could bring people with key competencies in a faster way than one could do with a standard recruiting process,” Montefusco said.

Investing in technology is not typical for Wise Equity, which has mainly focused on industrials and manufacturing. But price increases in energy and raw materials have made life difficult in the industrials sector, which helped lead Wise Equity to add OneTag to its portfolio. “From our side, investing in a tech company was also an opportunity to reduce the exposure to this supply chain risk,” Montefusco said.

OneTag’s specific niche of digital advertising also piqued Wise Equity’s interest. “Clearly, advertising is not an anti-cyclical industry, it is cyclical,” Monstefusco said. “Programmatic is the most effective way of doing advertising as you have a real time match between demand and supply, based on algorithms that can maximise the ROI for advertisers.”

But OneTag’s growth plan is delinked from the wider market, according to Montefusco. “They are growing by acquiring competitors’ market share and they have the potential to continue doing so,” she said. “That is the other reason we wanted this kind of asset in our portfolio.”