On Tuesday, Appfire, a Boston-based company that makes tools for making software, announced that growth private equity firm TA Associates had invested $100 million in the company. Appfire paid for itself until May this year when Silversmith Capital Partners gave it $49 million. The business was set up in 2005. Since then, Appfire has bought six other companies that are part of the “ecosystem” of Atlassian. Botron, Beecom, Innovalog, Navarambh, Artemis, and Bolo are some of these companies.
Randall Ward, the co-founder and CEO of Appfire, says that the Boston-based company has been making money for more than ten years. Over the past year, Appfire’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) has grown by more than 100%, according to Ward, who would not say how much the company is worth or give specific sales numbers.
Since June of last year, the company says it has had to deal with the following:
The ARR went up by 103% compared to the year before. A 258% increase in business subscription income from the previous year (data centre only). 182% more money from subscriptions than the year before (data centre and cloud). So, why do you have to use institutional capital? Appfire wants to keep buying related apps with the money it just got. Ward says that Appfire has been buying new businesses about every six to eight weeks, and the company intends to keep up this rate.
Appfire started as a company that did professional work, but in 2013, it switched its focus to making products. The business says that it has “acquired domain expertise in designing, releasing, and distributing applications” through the Atlassian marketplace. Today, the company has 85 items listed on that marketplace, and these products are used in more than 110,000 places worldwide. Some of these products are business intelligence, publishing, workflow automation, and administrative solutions.
To be more specific, the company’s Bob Swift, Feed Three, and Wittified brand applications are made to help businesses like Google, Amazon, and Starbucks speed up product development by improving collaboration, security, reporting, and automation.
Ward told TechCrunch that the company started 15 years ago to make consumer software solutions. Still, we could see that programmes were getting smaller and that Mozilla was putting out plugins. When my co-founder and I were sitting on a warehouse floor in Maynard, Massachusetts, we came up with the idea for this company. We decided to call it Appfire, and wow, that was a great decision. Then, the two people heard about a project where a friend needed them to combine two different pieces of software with Atlassian’s platform.
Ward and his team had never used a platform called JIRA or a piece of software called Confluence before. “It was something we had never heard of before, Ward says. About three months later, we started a project, and soon after that, we were in touch with the people who had started Atlassian.
In 2017, Appfire decided that it wanted to be the largest app platform and aggregator with its whole business. Ward says that because of this, we decided to wind down all of the other small specific initiatives for Atlassian that offered services to clients and put all of our eggs in one market basket. After that, the company began looking for more money from other places. But Ward says that Appfire’s most recent round of funding was not necessarily a search for more money. When TA contacted Appfire, the company asked if it could set up more employee ownership programmes so that the employees could run the business. In addition, the company asked if it could give 1% of its total equity to the Pledge 1% project.
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