After months of rumors that
Given the obvious potential of this deal to Iron Mountain, the question is less about why they would want to acquire a service provider in general, and more about why Stratify in particular. E-discovery services is a large, fragmented market, and there is no shortage of players to choose from. That said, I think they found Stratify a compelling target for 3 reasons:
- Good Technology: Unlike many service providers, Stratify (or Purple Yogi, as it was originally called) started life as a product company. It went through several incarnations: starting out in 2000 to “personalize the internet” for consumers, it soon moved on to knowledge management for corporations, before finally settling on e-discovery services for law firms. To fund all this, it raised over $30 million in venture capital and invested a good chunk of that in product development. The result is a sophisticated product that goes far beyond the review platforms that most other service providers have built.
- Right Size: Many acquirers like companies in that $20-30 million in revenue range. On the one hand, they are big enough to provide a solid platform for growth; on the other, they are small enough to be affordable. When
analyzed the market, it will have found the vast majority of targets either too big or too small, leaving it with only a handful of players to consider, like Stratify, Cataphora and H5. Iron Mountain
- Willing Seller: It is no secret that Stratify’s largest shareholder, the venture capital firm Softbank, is winding down and was looking to sell its stake in the company. That, together with the inevitable fatigue that sets in after 7 years of slugging it out, most likely made Stratify a willing seller.
So, on paper, this is a good deal for both sides. Stratify gets a decent return for many years of work;