Pitch Best Venture Capital Deal 2019 – IC-Technology: Battery Ventures – Guardsquare

The Belgium Panel of Judges of the M&A Awards have nominated this deal for the M&A Award ‘Best PE Venture Capital Deal 2019 - IC-Technology’. This pitch was submitted by Pascal Vanden Borre of Stibbe.

Category:                  Best Venture Capital Deal 2019 – IC-Technology
Name of the deal:    Battery Ventures invested EUR 29 million and acquired a majority stake in Guardsquare.    
Date closed:            30th of January 2019
Published value:     €29 million            
Buyer:                      Battery Ventures            
Target:                     Guardsquare                
Seller:                      Guardsquare shareholders
M&A Database:     https://mena.nl/deal/11661        

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Involved firms and advisors target:
Legal Advisory: CMS

Involved firms and advisors buy side:
Legal Advisory Belgium: Stibbe
Legal Advisory US/UK: Cooley


Brief description deal / Deal outline:
Battery Ventures invested USD 29 million and acquired a majority stake in GuardSquare, the global reference in mobile application protection. GuardSquare develops premium software for the protection of mobile applications against reverse engineering and hacking. GuardSquare’s products are used across the world in a broad range of industries, from financial services, e-commerce and the public sector to telecommunication, gaming and media.

Battery’s global venture-capital practice spans technology sectors and investment stages ranging from seed to growth. Battery ferrets out companies with potentially cutting-edge, category-defining businesses in markets including application software, IT infrastructure and consumer Internet/mobile.

Deal rationale:
This transaction will enable Guardsquare to invest aggressively in sales, marketing, research & development, client successes and further expansion into the US market.

What is the impact of this deal for the company?
The company—whose technology is already embedded in more than a quarter of all Android apps on the market today—will leverage the partnership with Battery to invest more aggressively in sales, marketing, R&D, customer-success and further expansion into the US market.

What is the impact of this deal for the direct stakeholders?
The investment will be used to fund the expansion of the product portfolio and to accelerate growth across the business. This enables Guardsquare to put a turbo on further growth. It is also a great endorsement of the Belgian tech scene.

What is the impact of this deal on the society?
Guardsquare’s technology addresses a growing problem for enterprises rapidly undergoing digital transformation in industries ranging from finance to insurance and healthcare: As they innovate rapidly and deploy more complex applications on increasingly powerful mobile devices, they often struggle to make these applications—which run outside their corporate firewalls–secure. Indeed, for many organizations scrambling to keep up with new technology trends and an increasingly mobile centric customer base, security is almost an afterthought, even though mobile apps are particularly vulnerable to reverse engineering and hacking.

Why does this deal deserve a nomination?
GuardSquare is one of the leading fast growing technology companies in Belgium.

GuardSquare won the 2017 Innovate Finance competition (London), won Deloitte’s 2018 Technology Fast 50 Award as the fastest-growing technology company based in Belgium and is currently nominated for BNP Paribas Fortis’ 2019 Scale Up of the Year. Heidi Rakels, GuardSquare’s founder and president, was elected Data News’ 2018 ICT Woman of the Year in Belgium.

Battery Ventures is an internationally acclaimed leading technology investor, founded in 1983, which has raised over USD 6.9 billion and has invested in over 400 technology companies globally, resulting in more than 60 IPOs and 170 M&A events.

GuardSquare currently serves more than 650 customers in over 70 countries. 
As companies deploy rich applications quickly—including apps tied to new, Internet-enabled devices—the attack surface for hackers and other bad actors is increasing, making cybersecurity an increasingly complex problem. Guardsquare’s products are being used by the world’s biggest banks, IT providers and credit-card companies to protect their brands—and their bottom lines—against such malicious threats.
It is the global company’s first round of institutional financing.

Comments Panel of judges
Guardsquare is a fast-growing company with a clear strategic market story. It is clear that the company is led by a very experienced and professional team. In the eyes of the jury, Guardsquare has the potential to grow into a global player. It is commendable that the company has waited a long time to attract investors. Although it is unfortunate that the majority of the shares are no longer in Belgian hands, the jury believes that with the experience of Battery Ventures the global ambitions can be realized. The American party not only provides growth money, but also brings the necessary substantive knowledge.

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