Business

A private equity firm has acquired Raleigh's Sageworks

Brian Hamilton, founder of Sageworks, has sold his fin-tech firm Sageworks and will now focus on his non-profit endeavor, Inmates to Entrepreneurs. In this file photo, Hamilton is teaching a class on entrepreneurship at Eastern Correction Institution, a medium correction state facility in Maury. The program trains inmates to be business owners.
Brian Hamilton, founder of Sageworks, has sold his fin-tech firm Sageworks and will now focus on his non-profit endeavor, Inmates to Entrepreneurs. In this file photo, Hamilton is teaching a class on entrepreneurship at Eastern Correction Institution, a medium correction state facility in Maury. The program trains inmates to be business owners.

A Raleigh software company that banks lean on to help them make lending and loan-portfolio decisions has a new owner, a California private-equity investor that completed the purchase this week.

The sale of Sageworks came about because its co-founder, Brian Hamilton, wants to step away from the company and focus on hs nonprofit Inmates to Entrepreneurs. The new owner, Accel-KKR, made a good offer and convinced Hamilton "there's a cultural match between what they do and what we are," he said.

Accel-KKR plans "to keep most, if not all, the employees we have," including Sageworks CEO Scott Ogle, Hamilton said. "It's going to be business as usual."

Brian Hamilton Headshot for Print - Copy.jpg
Sageworks co-founder Brian Hamilton Sageworks

Founded in 1998, Sageworks now employs close to 400 people and counts more than 1,200 U.S. banks and credit unions as customers, along with thousands of accountants.

Its first software package, ProfitCents, was designed to automate and simplify the process of breaking down a set of financial statements. The company has since branched out into the loan-analysis business.

Sageworks has another eight to 10 new software products in its development pipeline and figures to remain both cash-flow positive and in a growth mode after the acquisition, Hamilton said.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's nonprofit work has focused on helping prison inmates learn business skills so they can start small enterprises once they get out. He said he'd "like to put a lot more time" into that as it's "become a passion of mine the last couple of years."

Accel-KKR, based in Menlo Park, California, has about $4 billion invested in various companies. It focuses mainly on the tech sector, particularly on business-to-business services.

It acquired 100 percent of Sageworks, and made the deal about a month after buying a Maryland company called Salsa Labs that provides marketing software to nonprofit groups. As was the case there, terms of the purchase of Sageworks weren't disclosed. Both Sageworks and Accel-KKR are private companies.

Sageworks is the fruit of a collaboration that began at Duke University and flourished, Hamilton said, because the Triangle has "a lot of resources available [for tech start-ups] that you do not have in other parts of the country."

Ray Gronberg: 919-419-6648, @rcgronberg



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