When he first started Bomgar in Ridgeland, Joel Bomgar had a plan for when potential investors came calling on his remote support solutions firm.
He heard inquiries from numerous companies since its start 11 years ago, but it was TA Associates that met all the criteria. Last Thursday, Bomgar announced that the Boston-based private equity firm had purchased a majority interest in Bomgar. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Our screening criteria, which we set out 11 years ago, was that we were not going to do this unless it was right for our employees, our customers and our investors,” said Bomgar, 34, who will step down as chief executive officer, but will remain with the company as chairman of the board.
“None of the others met our criteria on all three. Our vision and our method of operation is that our employees are all treated equally and are going to own stock at the same price per share.
Plans call for the headquarters to remain in Ridgeland and for its 200 employees to stay with the company.
Moving the company “wasn’t even in the negotiations,” said Bomgar. “TA Associates told us that their intent was for us to stay in Ridgeland.”
“A huge part of a software company is the intellectual property and the engineers that create that property,” said Bomgar. “That is all based here. TA saw a huge value in the team we built. They were adamant in the process that neither of us did anything that disrupts that value.
“Their plans are entirely around growing the company,” he said. “TA is what’s called a growth equity investor, meaning they plan to recapture their investment through growth.
“They believe in Bomgar. They saw boundless potential. TA doesn’t make small investments. They wait until a company achieves a certain size and scale then they become interested.”
Bomgar is creator of the Bomgar Box, which enables technology support professionals to securely access and control remote computer systems and devices anywhere in the world.
Bomgar’s products can support a variety of devices — from laptops, servers, smartphones and tablets, to point of sale (POS) systems, medical devices and kiosks — as well as conduct remote training and presentations and manage third-party vendor access.
Bomgar founded the company in 2003 at the age of 23. Today, it has more than 8,000 corporate customers in 65 countries. It has annual sales revenue of more than $50 million.
Bomgar employs more than 200 people, and most are in Ridgeland. It has offices in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., London, Paris and Singapore, mainly staffed with sales representatives. Its product is produced by contract manufacturers all over the country.
TA Associates is one of the world’s largest global growth private equity firms. The firm has invested in more than 430 companies around the world and has raised $18 billion in capital. With offices in Boston, Menlo Park, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong, TA Associates leads buyouts and minority recapitalizations of profitable growth companies in the technology, financial services, business services, health care and consumer industries.
“Their goal is not to be day-to-day managers,” said Bomgar. “I’ve been running the company 11 years, but I felt like any value I could bring to the company, I could do as chairman of the board instead of as a day-to-day manager.
“And that resulted in joint recruiting to interview and recruit the peron who would take the reigns. I was clear that Matt Dircks was the most capable candidate. I’m pleased with the way things came together.”
“We are very pleased to partner with an experienced investor like TA Associates,” Dircks said in a statement. “We see numerous avenues to build even greater value in Bomgar by not only accelerating the organic growth the company has enjoyed since its founding, but also looking at exciting new market opportunities. The consumerization of IT paired with the influx of devices making up the Internet of Things is creating demand for new ways to access, support and manage remote systems. With TA’s guidance, we will have additional experience and resources to fully leverage these opportunities.”
Ashutosh Agrawal and Hythem T. El-Nazer, directors at TA Associates, will join the Bomgar board of directors.
Bomgar could have walked away completely from the company, but decided to stay.
“After 11 years I feel like it’s a child going off to college,” said Bomgar. “I feel like I’ve made the majority of investments I can make. I think it’s the right time. I won’t call it bittersweet. I guess I would best characterize it as a sweet position.
“But, there are incredible values left to be had. They said they want the continuity and my input.
“I just want to make sure the next 11 years are just as good as the last 11 years.”