Will history repeat itself?
In 2017, Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm, sold HighJump Software, a supply chain software management provider, to German technology provider Körber AG for an undisclosed amount.
Accel-KKR earned about a 6x return on the sale of the Minneapolis-based provider, PE News reported at the time, with HighJump increasing its revenue by more than four times under Accel-KKR, which had owned the company since 2012.
Three years later, digital yard solutions company PINC has announced that it has secured a significant growth equity investment from Accel-KKR. The amount was not disclosed.
“If you look at what they did with that asset, you can probably ascertain they will do something similar, but different, with us,” Matt Yearling, PINC’s CEO told FreightWaves, in a reference to Accel-KKR and HighJump. “They have expertise in supply chain. They’ve done this before.”
Founded in 2004, PINC provides turnkey and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) yard management and supply chain visibility products, with the goal of increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
The company has a cloud-based real-time tracking platform, powered by an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor network that includes passive RFID, GPS, computer vision, cellular, and other sensors. The platform automates and optimizes gate activities, trailer movements, dock scheduling, yard operations and functions performed by yard workers and administrators.
PINC’s yard solutions niche targets what Yearling described as a “blind spot” – the link between transportation and warehouse activity. The company, he said, is uniquely positioned with an underlying technology platform that doesn’t just provide real-time information, but also automates orchestration and execution within those facilities.
With Accel-KBR’s investment, announced on June 16, PINC expects to continue to grow that segment while also expanding into new products in the warehouse and transportation sectors – with a new focus on transportation going forward, according to Yearling.
As global trade and consumer demands drive more complexity, yard management has become even more critical for effective supply chain management practices, Yearling said in a press statement. “The linkage between transportation and warehousing needs to be more seamless when complexity increases, and strong digital yard management can be a major operational cost driver in improving inventory management, labor costs, asset utilization, sustainability and facility costs.”
Given Accel-KKR’s expertise in supply chain management technology, Yearling said, PINC is well-positioned to become “a category leader in a fast-growing field,” and ultimately serve the market and customer base with more innovations and strategic acquisitions.
As for HighJump, the company announced in March it was rebranding the company under the Körber AG name, marking another chapter in a story that began in 2014, when Accellos Software, a portfolio company of Accel-KKR, bought HighJump and the combined business assumed the HighJump name.