SEP and BGF back IT businesses to create market leader in enterprise online content storage and collaboration

Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), the UK’s leading growth equity and venture capital investor for innovative companies, and BGF (Business Growth Fund), established to help the UK’s fast growing smaller and medium sized businesses, today announced their co-investment of growth capital in SkyDox, a provider of cloud-enabled document collaboration software for the enterprise sector.

A total investment of £20m has been made by SEP and BGF, as well as management and other employee shareholders. SEP led the transaction.

The investment enables SkyDox to join forces with Workshare, a document comparison and policy management business, which has a strong position in the legal sector; and will fund growth of the combined business.

SkyDox enables business users to keep large quantities of sensitive information secure, to share files and collaborate efficiently on content while reducing the cost of electronic storage and network traffic. SkyDox was established in March 2009 and regularly handles thousands of file collaborations per week on behalf of significant blue chip customers including the NHS, PwC and the European Court of Human Rights.

Workshare was founded in 1999 and is a strategic supplier to a broad range of professional services companies, particularly within information-centric vertical sectors. Handling millions of the world’s most sensitive documents, Workshare’s customer base spans 70 countries and includes more than 60% of Fortune 1000 companies.

The investment will enable the launch of the first policy-based document collaboration platform, under the Workshare brand, which will allow business users to work across mobile, tablet and desktop devices via the cloud. In addition to maintaining its focus on the legal industry, the combined business will look to target new customers in other professional service sectors and encourage broader viral adoption of the software for non-subscribing business users.

The market for online content storage and collaboration software is projected by IT market analyst Gartner to grow to $8 billion by 2014. The market for cloud enabled collaboration tools is being driven by businesses seeking to enable knowledge-based employees to work securely and at their convenience from fixed and mobile devices and to reduce the costs of email traffic, storing and archiving.

SkyDox is led by CEO Anthony Foy. He has previously held positions at European data centre business Interxion, where he led 22 consecutive quarters of revenue growth which earned him the Data Centre Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2011; and Broadbase and Redbrick where he successfully oversaw multiple acquisitions and successful integrations. SkyDox’s chief technology officer, Barrie Hadfield is the former CTO and co-founder of Workshare.

Following the investment, experienced telecommunications and software executive, Duncan Lewis will join SkyDox as independent non-executive chairman. He previously sat on the boards of Vislink plc and Equant, and currently is chairman of NextiraOne, Apsmart and Nui and a non-executive director of Spirent Communications (LON:SPT).

Anthony Foy, CEO of SkyDox, said:

“By joining forces with Workshare, we are uniquely positioned to help knowledge-based employees improve productivity, without sacrificing enterprise information security requirements. The investment will enable us to deliver on our plans for developing the most comprehensive, effective and secure collaboration platform on the market that integrates into existing productivity, document management and enterprise content management applications.”

Andrew Davison, Partner at SEP said:

“We think this transaction is a fantastic growth opportunity. Workshare will become a significant player in the enterprise online content storage and collaboration software market. The IT market is experiencing rapid transition and with the proliferation of mobile devices, businesses increasingly need solutions that will enable their employees to collaborate securely and efficiently on content generation with colleagues and clients.

Chris Hodges, investment director at BGF, commented:

“We look forward to working alongside the management team and Duncan in his role as non-executive chairman. We are also delighted to be co-investing with SEP and by combining our respective investments we have been able to make a significant impact. We will increasingly look to work with private equity firms, angel investors, venture capital trusts and others to expand the growth capital available for small and medium sized UK businesses.”

Torch Partners advised SkyDox on the fundraising. Mishcon de Reya provided legal advice and legal due diligence services. PwC conducted financial due diligence and Intuitus provided IT due diligence services.