Chris Tottman reflects on Brightpearl's journey.
In 2009 a great friend and former colleague, Kat Clarkson, who'd run some products at NetSuite did some due diligence which led to the NewVoiceMedia investment in 2010. Charles Grimsdale loved the work and asked if he could use Kat to look at what was going to happen beyond "Sage Line 50" (Sage's SME product) and she duly obliged.
That led to Notion Capital doing a seed investment in Brightpearl having met Chris Tanner and Andrew Mulvenna with Paul Watson (my old co-founder) in a disused nightclub (their office!) in Bristol. Brightpearl was super early, particularly for ERP, with less than £200k ARR. But, as Paul said, "the product has so much value compared to the opposition for such a small price". Paul invested in 3 Rounds.
Fast forward a little and my old colleague at MessageLabs, Stephen Millard, was running a retail consultancy - he put together an investor event for Brightpearl - and I found out today that's when Maurice Helfgott invested. Another sliding doors moment! Maurice became the Brightpearl Chairman a few years later.
Fergus Gloster joined as NED in 2015, after I intro'd him - he's a very special NED!
Brightpearl needed a change of direction as the company became more complex and more enterprise & Andrew Porter arrived as CTO to create the first FlowMonster in Retail - but what was weird here was my friend & co-investor Scanes Bentley designed the FlowMonster thesis at Accenture. This only doubled down my belief on the direction of travel.
Then Derek arrived as CEO. Derek sold his company to Symantec the year before we sold MessageLabs to Symantec - he was moving back to the UK from the US and wanted something he could scale. This shared history was very compelling for me in the belief that he could build a great company
Maurice joins as Chairman in 2018!
Then Nick Shaw joins in 2019 - also ex Symantec - as CRO. I think Nick was the missing piece of the jigsaw. We introduced Derek to James Palmer (who also worked with us at MessageLabs) on M&A which unlocks a key acquisition which takes Brightpearl's ARR to $30m.
So many sliding door moments lead to Brightpearl being acquired by Sage. Which reminds me "what comes after Sage Line 50?"