US-based expense management firm Certify has bought Spain’s Captio, its first acquisition outside North America, as part of its ambitious “multi-brand” expansion plans.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Robert Neveu, president and CEO of Certify, told tnooz that Captio would continue to operate as a brand in its own right as part of Certify’s “multi-brand” growth plans.
Certify will offer a total of five brands including Abacus, which specialises in “real time” expenses technology and was acquired by Certify this summer.
Certify, which is backed by private equity company K1 Investment Management, also bought a corporate online booking tool from nuTravel Technology Solutions last year as the firm ramps up its range of products and aims to go head-to-head with Concur.
Neveu explained that Certify’s approach was not to create a “one size fits all” technology solution but to develop a range of platforms to serve different parts of the corporate market - from small firms of 25 employees or under, to those with thousands of staff globally.
“Captio will continue with its product road map, with its own team, as will Certify,” he added. “We will be able to share a number of services and technology. It’s about identifying the best practices across the group. The goal is not product domination as we don’t believe that one size fits all.
“There will be a lot of shared technology, such as the online booking tool, payments and receipt scanning, which are going to be offered through Captio.
“Certify believes in building a multi-brand strategy which we can take to customers, marketplaces and prospects. There will be growth across all our brands – with certain features and capabilities that products will have. It’s about having segmentation by market size.”
Neveu hinted that Certify would be making more significant moves in the near future without giving further details.
“K1 has a very strong appetite for this space and we have plenty of dry powder to continue to accelerate the business...Expect more announcements and more growth, revenue acceleration and meeting market needs.
“In North America, 50% of organisations with 1,000 employees or under are still using Excel or manual paper processes for expenses. In Europe, that figure is even higher. We see a green field with lots of opportunities for growth across our multiple brands – aggressive organic and inorganic growth.”
The purchase of Captio adds 60 employees to the company, on top of Certify’s existing workforce of 300 – a 20% increase in size.
The Spanish business was founded in 2012 and offers an end-to-end, cloud-based expense management platform with mobile capability. Its platform also has the ability to comply with different taxation requirements in countries such as Spain.
The move confirms Certify’s intent in moving into international markets – last year it expanded a partnership with the UK’s Sage Software to offer enhanced products to shared customers, while a deal with Western Union allows Certify to offer international payment capabilities to customers outside the US.
Following the acquisition, the enlarged company will have more than 10,000 customers in 90-plus countries and plans to offer expenses solutions to large, midsize and SME clients throughout Europe – especially in Captio’s key markets of Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.
Following the acquisition, Joel Vicient, Captio’s co-founder and CEO, will join Certify’s leadership team alongside Captio’s in-country managers.
“For six years we’ve worked very hard to create a tool that makes it easier for business travellers to record their expenses and for companies to manage those expenses and simplify reimbursement.
“Aligning with Certify will allow us to expand our product further, enhance support to existing customers, and secure new customers while accelerating our plans for growth.”