The specialist in smart cash flow management Cashforce has been taken over by its German counterpart TIS. For investor Michel Akkermans, this is the second exit in four days.
“My plan to retire has completely failed.” At 62, entrepreneur and investor Michel Akkermans is busier than ever. After announcing a sale of one of his lots – Gent Awingu – on Monday, the price was up again three days later.
This time, the growth company Cashforce, which originally comes from Herentals, changes hands. The company, which was founded in 2013 by entrepreneurs Nicolas Christiaen and Bart Claes, has developed a software platform that quickly visualizes companies’ cash flows and working capital. That way, managers can identify pain points in day-to-day operations and save money, but also preventively analyze where problems are likely to arise. Cashforce’s clients include multinational companies such as Kellogg’s (grain), Kimberly-Clark (hygiene) or Suitsupply (men’s clothing).
We have had offers in the past, but we did not accept them. Now we do it because industrial logic is so crucial.
German fintech player TIS takes over Cashforce completely. “We have worked closely with them in the past,” said CEO Nicolas Christiaen. “The collaboration clearly showed how complementary we were in terms of product, but also geographically. We have had offers in the past, but we did not accept them. Now we do it because industrial logic is so crucial. ‘
Beautiful in every way
How much TIS puts on the table for the acquisition is not stated. According to Akkermans, who co-negotiated the deal as chairman of the board, it is ‘a nice deal at all levels’. “This agreement is good for the company, for the employees who all stay on board, and – I’m not kidding – for the shareholders.”
Cashforce gives multinational companies like Kellogg’s, Suitsupply and Kimberly-Clark insight into their cash flows.
Akkermans came into being in 2015, in two ways. He invested through his personal investment company Pamica and in addition, the VC fund Volta Ventures – in which Akkerman’s participates – was an early investor. Over the years, the Dutch growth fund Inkef, state investor PMV and the major banks Citigroup and BNP Paribas also joined. The latter two also served as a kind of sales channel for the software, introducing their business customers to Cashforce’s solutions.
The majority of the shares were still owned by the two founders. Civil engineer Nicolas Christiaen joins the transfer to acquirer TIS. Bart Claes, a theoretical physicist by training, was no longer operationally involved in Cashforce since the beginning of 2021.
For Akkermans, it is the second exit in a few days. ‘Pure coincidence’, smiles the entrepreneur, who after the sale of the fintech company Clear2Pay retrained to become an investor. ‘I have 20 companies in my portfolio. Then it can happen that two things fall in one week.
I consider myself more of an entrepreneur than a financier.
Akkermans emphasizes that in his career as a financier he has never pushed companies he participates in to a sale. ‘I am an atypical investor, in the sense that I consider myself more of an entrepreneur than a financier. Seeking an exit is never the driving force behind what I do. I think long-term and actively try to contribute to development. If a sale is in the interest of the company and the founders, as here at Cashforce, then it is of course possible. But I have never actively started looking for a buyer. “
Akkermans’ previous exit
Since Michel Akkermans changed gears in 2015 as a financier of young companies, he has already made about twenty investments. Five of them have since been sold.
- Citymesh: The Hasselt IT group Cegeka acquired Citymesh in 2020 and is in the process of leveraging the network specialist to become a full-fledged fourth telecom player.
- Binding: Connective, an Antwerp-based company that makes solutions for digital signatures, was sold in November 2021 for 70 million euros to the American competitor Nitro.
- Intix: The Scandinavian billion-dollar fund Summa Equity bought the majority stake in Mechelen Intix in March this year. This company is active in tracking and tracking transaction data. A large number of large banks use the technology, among other things.
- awingu: Earlier this week, the Canadian Corel announced that it is acquiring the Ghent-based specialist in software for safe work at home, Awingu.