US-based investment firm Bridgewest Group has acquired Provoke Solutions, as part of plans to provide “substantial growth capital” for the Wellington-based technology specialists.
Reseller News can reveal that the transaction covers 100 per cent of The Group Limited, the holding company which owns and operates Provoke in New Zealand and North America, alongside subsidiaries SuiteFiles and the newly launched start-up SpiderWorks.
Terms of the agreement will see Mason Pratt remain as CEO of the Provoke brand both locally and globally, supported by a localised team focused on delivery and operations.
Meanwhile, corporate services will remain centralised, delivering back-office support for finance, human resource and technology functions.
“We have an amazing bunch of people working across our companies, and now have the resources to fast-track growth and create new job opportunities through Bridgewest’s expertise and financial support,” Pratt told Reseller News.
“Partnerships with global leaders like Bridgewest are extremely hard to come by in New Zealand, which makes this new relationship all the more exciting for our team.”
Headquartered in San Diego, Bridgewest is a global investment platform with expertise across technology, biotech, wireless communications, infrastructure for Internet of Things and semi-conductor sectors, in addition to real estate and financial services.
Bridgewest - which completed the deal through its Kiwi subsidiary Bridgewest NZ Holdings Limited - has been a major funder of Provoke for 18 months, working closely with the company directors since forming a strategic alliance in 2017.
“This is a very exciting transaction for us,” said Dr. Masood Tayebi, co-founder and CEO of Bridgewest Group. “Having spent the last 12-18 months looking to add a software services business to our high-tech portfolio, we wanted to take the time to ensure capability, culture and a focus on innovation were aligned with Bridgewest’s vision.
“We recognised that Provoke is a leader in enterprise software, especially in the cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning disciplines, and believe their design-led approach makes them an excellent partner for Bridgewest.”
According to Dr Tayebi, securing the executive leadership and providing continuous service to Provoke’s client base was a “non-negotiable” component of the acquisition.
Gearing up for growth
Founded in 2001, Provoke is a specialist Microsoft partner with expertise across cloud, custom software development and business intelligence, alongside unified communications, mobility applications and collaboration tools.
Recognised as Cloud Platform Partner of the Year in 2017 by Microsoft, the business specialises in enterprise deployments with key customers including New Zealand Defence Force, Fonterra, Spark and New Zealand Post, in addition to ANZ, Microsoft, Westpac and Z Energy.
Pratt said current growth aspirations will see Provoke’s New Zealand footprint treble in size over the next three years, underpinned by further investment in the banking and finance, utilities, education and manufacturing verticals.
Furthermore, the provider’s US operation - which is based in Bellevue, Washington - will also look to expand, supported by “ramped-up” business development activity in San Diego, and approved vendor status through Microsoft.
“We’ve always looked to lead the market when it comes to Microsoft technology, priding ourselves on being early adopters,” Pratt added. “Our close working relationship with Microsoft has been instrumental in creating this brand.
“Our intention is to now increase spend in research and development initiatives, with a focus on developing reusable IP, to better help our clients take advantage of emerging opportunities presented by IoT and edge computing.”
Whilst Provoke is the largest business within the group, Pratt said the investment also includes a focus on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses SuiteFiles and SpiderWorks.
Specifically, SuiteFiles offer cloud-based document management solutions to the small and medium business sector, and recently completed a Series A funding round via the Snowball Effect for growth capital.
In addition, SpiderWorks offers a SaaS-based workforce management product, ProjectWorks, which has been developed out of IP created by Provoke over the last 18 years.
ProjectWorks is a platform designed to support the operation of any services business, offering a toolset that helps project managers; run projects efficiently, track individual and team productivity, and manage project resources, including time recording, invoice creation and real-time debtor management.