In one of the first major capital announcements of 2019, ClearObject was acquired by two equity firms this month. While John McDonald will remain ClearObject CEO and the company plans to stay in Fishers, ClearObject is still preparing for its future. We talked with John about this acquisition and what plans ClearObject has as it takes this big leap forward.
Leveling up success
ClearObject was founded as cloud-services company CloudOne in 2010. As the business matured, however, company leadership pivoted to their next stage of evolution: IoT. When they became ClearObject in early 2017, the company had situated itself in a tech space primed for incredible growth. “The value IoT can bring, specifically to companies that make, move and grow things, is undeniable,” said John. “Market analysts predict the number of connected devices in the manufacturing industry alone will double between 2017 and 2020.”
ClearObject’s speed in latching onto the IoT market led to remarkable growth. A $9 million Series E raise in Q2 2016 fueled big leaps, leading to a remarkable revenue to employee ratio that attracted attention throughout the tech community. When ClearObject received the 2017 Scale-up of the Year ($5-20MM) Mira Award, the judges had been impressed with ClearObject’s foresight into this market space. “The foresight led to how we were financed as a company, and our Mira Award helped raise our visibility, not just among customers, but funders as well,” said John.
With the pace of IoT development playing an ever more important role in its growth, ClearObject’s board of directors began looking for capital partners in 2016 to supercharge growth priorities. New Jersey-based Egis Capital Partners and Maryland-based ABS Capital Partners aligned with those priorities, and partners from both firms will join ClearObject’s board as a part of this acquisition. “We chose to partner with Egis because of the opportunities it provides for us to collaborate with their portfolio of companies providing technology-driven security solutions,” said John. “In addition, ABS Capital Partners has a proven track record of working with managed services companies, and we felt the partnership was well-aligned to take ClearObject to the next level of success.”
The company announced its news following a busy Q4 2018 in which several major tech acquisitions (One Click, MOBI and LightBound) and raises (Scale Computing and MetaCX) occurred. Every acquisition creates new opportunities, and as John shared with the Indianapolis Business Journal, ClearObject’s acquisition bought out a bevy of smaller investors and consolidated control, opening up opportunities for the company to determine its own future. “The benefits of this type of acquisition allow us creativity in the business we can pursue,” John told us. “In addition, it gives us the ability to not just grow globally, but to scale up the company while keeping Indy on the tech sector map.”
Casting a broader net
This capital infusion will enable ClearObject to expand its view and potential in IoT. To do so, however, the company will also need to attract top-tier talent to drive its ambitions. “This acquisition gives us the oxygen to scale and to utilize these new partnerships and their industry knowledge to broaden our scope to bring candidates with machine learning skills to ClearObject,” John said. “This partnership allows us to not only bring awareness to the tech ecosystem in Indiana, but to cast a broader net enabling us to attract talent and further promote and grow not only the tech sector, but other key industries undergoing digital transformation.”
The desire to draw in highly-skilled talent runs deep throughout Indiana, and especially so in Fishers. Already the city has driven significant tech development, including the launch of the Indiana IoT Lab, an IoT technology experiment hub (ClearObject has a presence in the lab), to bring in the people with the skills companies require. The ClearObject acquisition could be a bellwether for Fishers as the city leans further into the tech element of its identity.
John sees ClearObject playing a role in further developing that identity for Fishers. “Indiana’s main industries are the first industries seeing innovation through IoT, and the ability to quickly visit with our customers as well as collaborate with other aspiring entrepreneurs is imperative to growing our business,” he said. “Additionally, enjoying the benefits of a higher standard of living as well as creating a true partnership with city leaders is a testament to the mayor’s commitment and forward-thinking mindset to supporting locally-grown companies. There’s no doubt that this is one of the largest tech transactions in Fishers’ short, but amazing story.”
With ClearObject staying in Fishers, John believes the company is poised to take on emerging IoT trends, to the benefit of the company and Indiana as the net broadens. “ClearObject has worked diligently to deliver on our promise to grow and advance leadership in IoT right here in Indiana,” said John. “The Midwest is where our customers are located and where they make, move, and grow things. I’m thrilled to continue to helm a leading technology company in Indiana, and our investors from the East Coast get visibility now into how Indiana is leading the way in IoT.”
Discover more about ClearObject.