Hopefully we all know never to fight a land war in Asia, nor mess with a Sicilian when death is on the line (usually), as history doesn’t just rhyme, it repeats itself. Hitler didn’t learn from Napoleon; Harry and Meghan seem oblivious to the scorn and antipathy generated by the arrogance and entitlement of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson – experience matters.
It feels pessimistic to always find the negative repetitions, and God knows we don’t need any more pessimism given the flock of black swans which have glided into view since March 2020, whether landing on the banks of Silicon Valley, or the Trussonomic peaks of inflation.
To that end, I’m casting my mind back to Autumn 2017: a company intending to dominate its software niche, and whom we’d represented since 2008 had grown significantly, and achieved ARR of around £23m; constant currency organic revenue growth of 10%; reported recurring revenue £20m, equivalent to c60% of group revenue; a focus on SaaS, and a drive to M&A. In 2012 it had moved to AIM at a market cap of c£10m, and developed an initial base of institutional investors: many more followed and did well. The company sold to PE for £1.1bn in 2022.
This week a company reported results: this company intends to dominate its software niche, and reported ARR of $24m, with constant currency organic revenue growth of 10%. It reported recurring revenue of about 60% of group revenue; a focus on SaaS, and a drive to M&A. It had delisted from a joint listing on Euronext in 2015 at a market cap of £3m, after which we were able to tidy up and develop an institutional register. The market cap has since grown 20-fold.
Sound familiar? The comparison is between Ideagen and Sopheon [SPE]: having found greenfield territory to dominate with a full suite solution, and a product which simplifies otherwise significant operational challenges, Sopheon is driving to succeed, organically and through M&A, in InnovationOps (management and co-ordination of globally disparate teams involved in innovation for likes of Mondelez, Honeywell and 3M – see the new finnCap Tech Hub demo here) – and to cap it all Barney Kent, a strikingly good look alike for Matt Bellamy of Muse but more importantly COO of Ideagen 2012-2021, is on the Sopheon board as NED, to bequeath his obvious experience.
Rhyme or repeat? Doesn’t really matter – Sopheon has proved it has risen to the challenges it set itself 2 years ago with a new CEO, and given confidence to its expectations to double revenue every 3-5 years (just as Ideagen did every 3 years).