Portfolio company, SwipedOn, strikes a home run!

In December 2017, SwipedOn – a young company that provides a sleek, simple and modern visitor management solution, closed a successful capital raising round of $1m with the bulk of the funding coming from Enterprise Angels (members, AngelEquity investors and EA Fund 2 LP), K1W1 (investment company owned by The Warehouse founder, Stephen Tindall) and NZGCP (formerly NZVIF) (New Zealand Growth Capital Partners).

Less than a year later, those investors are benefiting from a 2.4x return on their investment as SwipedOn closes another successful deal; this time its successful sale to Britain’s Smartspace Software PLC for $11 million.

Including the limited partners of EA Fund 2, a total of 82 Enterprise Angels Investors will benefit from the sale. EA Fund 2 is making its first distribution to 63 Limited Partners with the proceeds.

From humble beginnings SwipedOn™ started out in the small rural town of Timaru, deep in the heart of the South Island. As the company grew, Hadleigh Ford, founder of SwipedOn, moved the company to Tauranga. The good news is that the new owners, Smartspace Software PLC, will be keeping the operations in Tauranga along with the current 20 staff.

Smartspace Software were impressed with the Tauranga location and as part of the deal the British company will send employees on secondment to Tauranga as an incentive for current and new employees. Hadleigh and the rest of the SwipedOn management team will also stay on after the sale. With the ongoing success and expansion, they are looking for new premises and also to hire nine more staff for software development and sales support.

The SwipedOn software complements SmartSpace’s existing business and broadens its offerings to clients which includes meeting room, desk management, wayfinding and carparking. The software can link multiple locations, notify employees of visitor arrivals via email and messaging, and custom print visitor identity badges. It can also be used for staff movements in the office.

Some may question the early sale of this growing company but both Hadleigh and SwipedOn’s Chairman Ben Kepes, believe that earlier, more frequent moderate exits are better overall, rather than fewer ones in the hundreds of millions or billion dollars.

Enterprise Angels Manager, Nina Le Lievre, notes that the results of their early stage investments so far seem to differ to that of their counterparts in the US, where there appear to be more total failures with a very small number of bigger wins. “Our portfolio is looking more measured with more ‘thoroughbreds’ rather than ‘unicorns’. The angel industry is still relatively young in New Zealand, but we are quietly confident of achieving good results.”

Launched in 2013, SwipedOn has built an elegant iPad-based Visitor Management solution. Used by thousands of companies globally, and tracking the status of two million visitors worldwide, with 2300 customers in 29 countries. Large well known corporations like Fujitsu, Estee Lauder, Mitsubishi and Hugo Boss are just some of the high profile companies using its software. The company has grown its ARR (annual recurring revenue – a key metric for software-as-a-service companies) from $846,000 in September 2017 to $1.6m in August 2018.

Around the world, businesses are upgrading their visitor books to digital systems. The three main drivers for this upgrade are:

Nailing those first impressions. A modern and seamless signing-in system at reception gives a positive first impression
Increasing business efficiency. SwipedOn automates all of the manual components when registering a visit (or signing an employee in or out).
Aiding with safety, security and regulatory compliance. SwipedOn knows exactly who’s on site, making it a valuable tool for anyone concerned with on-site security and health and safety regulations.
SwipedOn™ replaces these outdated visitor books with a sleek, simple and modern visitor management solution. The SwipedOn software manages worksite visitors for varied business sectors, for example, construction sites, corporate offices, hospitality… basically anywhere that good security and a more professional visitor reception experience is important.

The founders and investors built a highly experienced board to guide the company to the next level. The board is Chaired by Ben Kepes, entrepreneur, professional director, experienced investor, and technology commentator. Investor Director is Colin Groves, Chair of Oriens Capital and Waikato Rugby, former head of M&A for Tetra Laval and an active NZ and UK company director and Enterprise Angels Investor.

Further articles on the sale of SwipedOn can be found on Stuff and the NZ Herald.