By Robbie Allen, CEO & Founder
I’m incredibly excited today – but not for the reasons you might think. First, let’s start with some details:
1) We’ve been acquired by Vista Equity Partners and will be a subsidiary of STATS LLC. Vista is a $14+ billion fund and in 2014 was named the world’s top-performing private equity firm. In June 2014, Vista acquired STATS, the leading sports technology and data company whom we’ve had a relationship with dating back to 2007.
2) We will keep doing business as usual. Ai will be independent. We will continue expanding relationships with our current customers as well as aggressively growing our pipeline of new customers. Our name, our team, our management, our culture, and our office at the awesome American Tobacco Campus will all stay the same.
3) We’re going to grow like never before. Vista’s resources and STATS’ distribution will allow us to fast-track our Wordsmith natural language generation (NLG) platform across multiple industries including sports, business intelligence, media, personal fitness, healthcare, and beyond. Which reminds me: we’re hiring.
Sometimes these things just happen. We weren’t looking to be acquired, especially after completing a successful Series B round of funding this past summer. But after talking to the Vista and STATS management teams, it made a lot of sense for us and our investors. With Vista’s resources and product expertise, we could not pass up the opportunity to accelerate the build-out of the Wordsmith platform and related products.
What does it mean to be the subsidiary of STATS?
We got started in sports in 2007 and it will continue to be an important market for us, but sports will not be our only focus. Vista loved the fact that our technology is generally applicable across many industries and, by extension, many of their other portfolio companies. Business intelligence, media, finance, personal fitness, marketing, and healthcare are just some of the industries where Wordsmith can help make data more actionable. We’ll continue to work in all of those spaces. Request a demo today!
Can you build a great tech company outside of Silicon Valley?
Of course! The Research Triangle has been great for us and has not been an impediment in any way for building a great software company. Vista was fully supportive of us continuing to grow the company in North Carolina. We will continue to be headquartered in Durham and maintain our great office overlooking the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Existing customers won’t see any changes?
That’s right. This acquisition gives us the resources to double down on our investment in Wordsmith. We will continue to expand and grow our existing relationships and add new customers. The only change will be the accelerated growth of our product and development teams!
I started this post by saying how excited I am, but it’s not because this acquisition represents a successful conclusion to the company. Often acquisitions signal the end or, at best, a beginning of the end for a startup, its brand, its products, and its culture. That’s not what’s happening here. In our case, not only do we provide a great return to our shareholders, we continue to build something that is growing rapidly with a lot of upside. I’m just as excited about our company’s future today as I was when I raised our first seed funding back in May 2010. The main difference is that in 2010 I merely hoped Ai could be a significant company. Now, in 2015, I know Ai will be a significant company.
Ready to join us?