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Fleet Complete equity acquired by pension fund, guides for 10x growth

This morning Fleet Complete, a global leader in connected vehicle technology and software, announced that it sold equity to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, a large fund with $193.9B (Canadian) in assets as of June 2018. Ontario Teachers’ is buying equity from existing shareholders, including Madison Dearborn Partners, which retains some equity in Fleet Complete. Founded in 1991, Ontario Teachers’ Private Capital division has invested in more than 500 companies and funds.

FreightWaves spoke to Fleet Complete CEO Tony Lourakis by phone.

“We’re grateful for the amazing partnership we’ve had with Madison Dearborn over the past four and a half years; they’ve been really supportive,” Lourakis said. “We’re happy to get them some liquidity and a great return, and we’re happy to continue to have them as a partner. And we’re excited to welcome Teachers’ as a long-term investor and the first step of capital into the partnership, which we intend to be a platform to continue growth.”

Lourakis said that when Madison Dearborn Partners invested in Fleet Complete in August 2014, the United States and Canada-based company was bringing in $24M in revenue annually, had 70,000 to 80,000 subscribers, and around 100 employees. Since then, Fleet Complete quadrupled in size, growing revenue to $100M, expanding to 500,000 subscribers in 15 countries and raising its employee headcount to 500. New partnerships with OEMs including GM, Toyota, and Mitsubishi will be complemented by more announcements in the new future, Lourakis said.

“Madison Dearborn Partners are still big believers in the upside of Fleet Complete,” Lourakis said.

Lourakis said that he has known people at Ontario Teachers’ for quite some time, and they approached Fleet Complete to see if a deal could be done. He said he was most excited about Fleet Complete’s growth prospects with access to a new pool of long-term capital from the pension fund.

“What’s unique about Ontario Teachers’ versus a typical private equity group is that they provide very long-term capital because they don’t have the time-constrained limited partners of a traditional PE firm,” Lourakis said. “Their capital comes from pensioners and is in essence perpetual. And with that kind of partner at our side, we have a large amount of capital, and we can be bolder and think longer-term. We’ve 10xed the company in the last seven years—I want to more than 10x the company in less than the next seven years and get to $1B in sales.”

“We are excited to partner with Tony and Fleet Complete’s management team, along with MDP, to help build on this great Canadian success story,” said Jane Rowe, Senior Managing Director, Private Capital, at Ontario Teachers’ in a statement. “Fleet Complete has a proven track record of robust growth, underpinned by its successful global expansion strategy and product innovation. We look forward to working closely with Fleet Complete’s senior leadership team and MDP in a partnership that we believe will help further accelerate Fleet Complete’s global growth ambitions.”

Fleet Complete sees its market as global, and eventually wants to be everywhere in the world. Lourakis said that his team has created a prioritized list for geographic expansion, and regions in Southeast Asia and Latin America are high on the list due to rapid growth and the overall size of the markets. 

“We’re not just about top line and bottom line,” Lourakis added, “we’re here to help fleets thrive and operate more efficiently and safely. Small carriers count on technology like ours to help them compete. But ultimately, we see it as a global market and we feel we have a global outlook.”

John Paul Hampstead

John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.