Ometria snags $2.5 mln seed

UK-based Ometria, a customer insight and marketing platform, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Inventure Partners led the round with participation from other backers that included SaatchInvest and Force Over Mass Capital. PRESS RELEASE LONDON, UK – 28 September 2015: Ometria (www.ometria.com), a customer insight and marketing platform built specifically for retailers and ecommerce businesses, has secured a further $2.5m in seed funding. The round was led by Inventure Partners, with participation from existing investors SaatchInvest, and new investors Force Over Mass Capital. Several strategic angels also participated, including Nickyl Raithatha, Founder and CEO at Finery London and previously Global Managing Director at Rocket Internet; Lee Hudson, COO at AppyParking; as well as Richard Fattal, UK MD at Grokker. The additional funding brings the total seed investment secured by Ometria to $5m, and will be used to increase the size of the Ometria team, and accelerate the development of Ometria’s SaaS platform. Ometria is also today announcing the launch of its retail-focused marketing automation solution, enabling ecommerce businesses and multi-channel retailers to not only better understand their customers, but to now use that understanding to power personalised automated marketing that increases engagement and drives significant additional revenue. Built on top of Ometria’s existing customer insight and predictive modelling capabilities, the marketing automation platform identifies where each customer is in their lifecycle, profiles their tastes and interests, and targets them with personalised messages to encourage them to make further purchases with that store. Recent case studies from brands such as Swoon Editions, Finisterre and MyTights have shown significant results, from a 323 per cent increase in email revenues, to a 92 per cent increase in customer reactivation. Ivan Mazour, founder and CEO of Ometria, said: “For over two years, we have given the fastest growing online brands and retailers the ability to truly understand their customers. I’m proud to announce that from today, Ometria is able to dynamically target each customer with individually personalised messages, and deliver a clear ROI without the need for any action on the part of the retailer. “I’m grateful for the validation provided by this investment round, and excited that Inventure Partners has joined our exceptional group of investors. With their support we will be able to accelerate our growth significantly, and help even more retailers increase revenues and customer engagement,” he continued. Sergey Azatyan, Managing Partner, Inventure Partners commented: “Having spoken with a number of retailers using the Ometria platform, it was clear that their offering delivered genuine value , and that their solution will be a must-have for all online businesses in the future. I look forward to joining the board and partnering with Ivan and his team to help them build Ometria into a global leader in retail marketing.” Ometria has seen 600 per cent growth year-on-year, and current customers include venture capital-backed startups such as Rad (Index), Swoon Editions (Index and Octopus) and Charlotte Tilbury (Venrex and Samos), as well as established brands such as Temperley London, John Smedley and House of Holland. The platform can be integrated in a matter of minutes, and the company provides an end-to-end solution which delivers both insight for the marketing team, and automated personalised communication which drives revenue and produces a significant return on investment. Existing investors in Ometria include Huddle founders Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Skimlinks founders Alicia Navarro and Joe Stepniewski, QXL founder Tim Jackson, Kelkoo founder Phil Wilkinson, as well as a number of other prominent technology founders, executives and angel investors. About Ometria: Ometria (www.ometria.com) is a leader in retail and ecommerce marketing, providing a SaaS solution which helps multichannel and online retailers use data to better understand their customers, and send personalised automated messages which increase engagement and drive additional revenue. Ometria was founded by serial entrepreneurs Ivan Mazour, Djalal Lougouev, James Dunford Wood and Alastair James, and is used by over a hundred retailers and ecommerce sites such as Swoon Editions, Rad, Charlotte Tilbury, Temperley London, John Smedley and House of Holland. The company is based in Mayfair, London and is backed by prominent VCs and investors, such as InVenture Partners, SaatchInvest, as well as founders and executives from Huddle, Skimlinks, Shutl, QXL, Kelkoo, Forward, Finery London and Wolf & Badger. About Inventure Partners: Inventure Partners (http://inventurepartners.com/) is an innovative investment fund focused on funding disruptive technology startups. The fund looks for teams with a novel approach to business models, and companies that are able to solve real problems and remove inefficiencies in the market. Inventure Partners backs a wide range of ventures across the technology industry, and the fund’s portfolio currently includes on-demand service Gett (GetTaxi), leader in US telehealth American Well, long-distance bus tickets platform Busfor, and others.

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Ometria snags $2.5 mln seed

Third time may be the charm for Russell Investments

The London Stock Exchange’s sale of Russell Investments is reportedly unraveling, which could bode well for private equity firms still interested in buying the investment manager. The plunge in the Chinese stock market since mid-June, plus investigations into some Citic Securities Co. executives, have caused the LSE’s discussions with Citic for Russell to “falter and may soon collapse,” Bloomberg reported on Sept. 22. The other two bidders for Russell — Towers Watson & Co. and China’s Shanda Games Ltd.— also appear to be out, press reports said. The LSE has to go back to scratch and begin talks with potential bidders, including private equity, sources said. This would be the third time traditional private equity has tried to buy Russell. Seattle-based Russell is the investment arm of Frank Russell, which is owned by the London Stock Exchange. Russell has $265.8 billion in assets under management as of June 30. The LSE put Russell up for sale earlier this year after receiving expressions of interest. The LSE conducted a “broad sales process” for Russell earlier this year where it sent out more than 50 books for the asset management unit, PE HUB reported in March. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are advising on the sale. In June, Reuters reported that Citic, Towers and Shanda were vying for Russell. The deal was valued at $1.5 billion. Since that time, Towers Watson announced an $8.7 billion merger with Willis Group Holdings PLC. The deal ended Towers’ status as a bidder for Russell, press reports said. Shanda dropped out of the process, a banking source said. Two private equity firms —CVC Capital Partners and TA Associates — made it to the second round of the most recent Russell auction, sources said. CVC dropped out because the price for Russell was too high, a source said at the time. The LSE may open the auction up to a broader group. Advent International and Genstar Capital also looked at Russell, the banking source said. If true, this would be the third time private equity has tried to buy Russell. Last year, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. put Frank Russell, including the investment management and index businesses, up for sale. The LSE, which mainly wanted Russell’s large index business, in June 2014 beat out a handful of PE firms and bidders such as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to buy the company, Reuters said. Executives for the LSE, JP Morgan, Russell, Advent and Genstar declined comment. Goldman, Towers, CVC, and TA could not immediately be reached for comment. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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Third time may be the charm for Russell Investments

Lone Star raises offer for UK property firm Quintain: Reuters

U.S. private equity firm Lone Star raised its offer for Quintain Estate and Development Plc (QED.L) to 745 million pounds ($1.13 billion) on Friday, sending the British property firm’s shares up about 7 percent. Lone Star’s revised offer comes a day after The Times reported that activist shareholder Elliott Capital Advisers had taken control of a 12.9 percent holding in Quintain and felt the original offer undervalued the company. The new offer represents a 10 pence per share increase over Lone Star’s original offer and a premium of about 31.8 percent to Quintain’s closing price on the day before the first offer was made. Lone Star had in July made a 700-million-pound offer to buy Quintain, hoping to gain access to one of London’s few remaining large-scale development opportunities. (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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Lone Star raises offer for UK property firm Quintain: Reuters

Lyceum invests in Coryton Advanced

Lyceum Capital has invested in Coryton Advanced Fuels. Financial terms weren’t announced. Oakfield Capital has exited its stake. U.K.-based Coryton develops high performance fuels for the aviation and motorsport industries. Livingstone Partners advised Coryton. PRESS RELEASE London, 24 September 2015 Livingstone’s Industrial sector team has advised Coryton Advanced Fuels, the market-leading fuel blending and consultancy services business, on securing significant investment from Lyceum Capital to accelerate its international expansion. The investment will enable the company to grow its range of added-value services and production capacity in the UK, develop existing export markets in Germany and expand into new markets in the US and Asia. The transaction also provides an exit for Oakfield Capital, who originally backed the founders in 2010. Based on the Thames estuary in Essex, Coryton develops high performance fuels for the aviation and motorsport industries, as well as bespoke and standardised fuels for the automotive sector, where its products are used to support research and development activities and the testing and certification of engines, lubricants and fuel additives.   The facility is one of the most advanced of its kind globally. The business was founded five years ago following the acquisition of the Coryton specialist fuels blending facility from BP plc by co-founders Craig Goodfellow and Diane Lance with support and financial backing from investor group Oakfield Capital. Since then, it has expanded its products and consultancy services, and built a portfolio of global customers including JCB, Ford, Airbus, Bentley and Jaguar Land Rover, reaching sales of £12m in its last financial year. Coryton will be led by incoming Managing Director Nick Pye, alongside co-founders Craig and Diane. Craig Goodfellow, co-founder of Coryton, said: “Bringing an experienced investor like Lyceum on board will help us scale the business while staying true to its founding principles, and deliver our ambition: expanding our capacity in the UK and developing new high value services and new export markets around the world.” Nick Pye, incoming Managing Director of Coryton, said: “Over the last five years, Craig and Diane have worked hard to build a position of real strength in the technical fuels market with a proposition that is centred upon Coryton’s customers. I’m excited to work with a private equity backer with such a strong reputation of growth investment.” Roy Merritt, partner of Oakfield Capital and outgoing Chairman of Coryton said: “It has been a great achievement to build Coryton into the exceptional company that it is today – testament to the solid grounds built by the founders. It has been a real pleasure to work with Craig and Diane, and I am sure that the next phase for the company will ensure a highly successful future for Coryton and its staff. “Livingstone played a critical role in securing this excellent outcome for the Coryton shareholders.  The Livingstone team were always on top of the detail and on the front foot dealing with issues when they arose. Their knowledge of the sector and rigorous understanding of the business allowed them to reach a genuinely global buyer set.  They drove a very competitive process involving both trade and private equity bidders to achieve an outstanding result for us.”   Graham Carberry, Managing Director at Livingstone London, added: “With its focus on technical innovation and service, Coryton has become the preferred partner to several major OEMs – and won a number of high-profile business awards. We have been delighted to work with Craig, Diane and Oakfield to deliver this successful transaction and to bring in Lyceum as a partner to support Coryton’s ongoing growth and investment.” Notes to Editors: About Livingstone Partners LLP Livingstone is an international mid-market M&A and Debt Advisory firm, with offices in Beijing, Chicago, Düsseldorf, London, Madrid and Stockholm. Its 100 staff complete c.50 deals per annum. www.livingstonepartners.com

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Lyceum invests in Coryton Advanced

Long Ridge exits Portware

FactSet Research Systems has agreed to acquire Portware LLC for a cash consideration of $265 million. Portware, which was backed by Long Ridge Equity Partners, is a provider of financial information and analytics. PRESS RELEASE NORWALK, Conn., Sept. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS) (NASDAQ:FDS), a leading provider of integrated financial information and analytical applications to the global investment community, today announced that it has agreed to acquire all the issued and outstanding membership interests of Portware, LLC (www.portware.com) for cash consideration of $265 million. FactSet will fund the acquisition with an expansion of its existing revolving credit facility. Following regulatory review, the transaction is expected to close before the end of FactSet’s first fiscal quarter. Portware is an award-winning, multi-asset execution management system (“EMS”) that is trusted by the world’s largest asset managers. With global clients that stretch across North America, Asia and Europe, Portware delivers products, services, and solutions that transform the way financial institutions analyze, communicate, and execute investment ideas. Portware achieves its success through its highly customizable EMS and its Alpha Vision analytics. Portware embeds its solutions in the middle of each client’s trading ecosystem as it integrates tightly with other key components. Portware emphasizes automation of simpler trades to free traders to focus on adding more value to the most complex trades. “Portware is a highly innovative firm, with keen insight into the trading ecosystem, and strong recent success in the market. We are thrilled to welcome this talented group of individuals,” said Phil Snow, CEO of FactSet. “Portware’s tools and expertise in trading are an exciting complement to our current offerings. We are excited to enhance the productivity of FactSet users as we integrate Portware into adjacent workflows within our client base.” “Portware’s explosive growth over the last three years, despite the difficult environment, is a testament to our strategy and vision for the industry, and we’re excited to bring our proven innovation and people to join the FactSet family,” said Alfred Eskandar, CEO of Portware. “Like FactSet, we believe in putting our clients first and constantly thinking of ways to enhance the client experience. We’re confident that our similar cultures and commitment to excellence will result in a collaborative environment for our people and an incredible opportunity to develop new and exciting products for the industry.” About FactSet FactSet, a leading provider of financial information and analytics, helps the world’s best investment professionals outperform. More than 62,000 users stay ahead of global market trends, access extensive company and industry intelligence, and monitor performance with FactSet’s desktop analytics, mobile applications, and comprehensive data feeds. FactSet has been included in FORTUNE’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, the United Kingdom’s Great Places to Work and France’s Best Workplaces. FactSet is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ (NYSE: FDS | NASDAQ: FDS). Learn more at www.factset.com, and follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/factset. About Portware Founded in 2000, Portware, LLC is the financial industry’s leading developer of broker-neutral, automated trading solutions for global equities, futures, options and FX. With offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, and Hyderabad, Portware works in partnership with its clients to create highly integrated solutions to streamline workflow and increase operational efficiencies on trading desks worldwide. Portware’s flagship product, Portware Enterprise, is a fully customizable trade management and execution system for single stock, portfolio, basket, automated and algorithmic trading. For more information, please visit www.portware.com.

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Long Ridge exits Portware