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Beeline Acquired by New Mountain Capital — The Journey Continues

07/26/2018 By

Beeline, a provider of workforce management software, announced Thursday it has been acquired by New Mountain Capital, a New York City-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount, according to a press release.

Founded in 1999, Beeline represents, alongside SAP Fieldglass, one of the “Big 2” vendor management system (VMS) providers. Its current incarnation is the result of a December 2016 merger with IQNavigator (IQN), which saw Beeline, part of staffing giant Adecco, acquired by GTCR, the owner of vendor-neutral IQN. Following the merger, Beeline and IQN were combined into a single company, renamed Beeline.

The deal comes at a critical juncture in Beeline’s strategy to expand its solution set beyond the traditional VMS software category. In partnering with New Mountain Capital, Beeline is doubling down on its effort to both converge its two VMS platforms into a single user experience and develop innovative new approaches to external workforce management challenges.

“With a robust history of supporting and growing software companies as well as companies in the human capital ecosystem, New Mountain is an ideal partner for us and we look forward to leveraging their expertise,” said Doug Leeby, CEO of Beeline, in a press release. “Our existing customers will greatly benefit as we make even more technological advancements, such as the continued application of artificial intelligence and machine learning, to our industry-leading products.”

A Pivotal Moment 

Beeline changing into new private equity hands follows a slew of major developments for the company. In particular, we have been covering with interest Beeline’s completion of its microservices platform, Horizon, and the ongoing development of Beeline One, a user-facing product that delivers a common set of capabilities from both Beeline and IQN’s platforms.

Combined, Horizon and Beeline One represent the ultimate destination for all of the functionality that former Beeline and IQN clients, MSPs and suppliers will eventually use. In addition, Beeline is beginning to push new integrated capabilities on Beeline One, making it the focal point for solution innovation going forward.

“We look forward to working closely with the Beeline team in its next phase of growth,” said Lars Johansson, managing director at New Mountain Capital, in the press release. “We are excited to support Beeline’s continued investment in its innovative, market-leading product. We believe there is a significant opportunity to continue the company’s global growth and commitment to customer success.”

Initial Commentary

Beeline’s acquisition by another PE firm not only says a lot about this leading non-affiliated technology solution provider. It also says a great deal about the current state of the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) industry and solution landscape.

Over the past five years, as enterprise requirements for contingent workforce and services have continued to change and new enabling technologies have entered prime time, the solution category known as VMS has effectively been dissolving. Because of this, certain questions arise: How will this evolving and expanding set of enterprise requirements get satisfied in the future? Through what solution(s)? Through what provider(s)? Industry incumbents, innovative new entrants, adjacent category players, enveloping platform behemoths? What comes next?

Traditional VMS players appear to be responding in different ways, ranging from not changing much at all to responding to market needs incrementally or investing in new platforms to openly address future needs. Alternatively, Fieldglass became part of SAP and is now evolving and integrating with the enterprise software giant’s technology platform and solutions.

In contrast to SAP Fieldglass, Beeline continues to chart a course independent of ownership by a dominant staffing or software company, pursuing a platform strategy that is materializing in Horizon and Beeline One. Now, having completed both the merger of the former Beeline and IQN organizations and the development of the Horizon platform under GTCR, Beeline is poised to potentially realize its platform vision under New Mountain Capital.

How will that play out in a tectonically changing industry and solution space that is no longer at equilibrium? That’s a part of what we’ll be analyzing in the coming days. But we don’t have any crystal balls.

For a complete overview of Beeline, including key software features and product strengths and weaknesses, check out our Vendor Snapshot on the company:

Stay tuned for further coverage on this news, including a Q&A with Beeline CEO Doug Leeby and a deep dive Spend Matters PRO brief on how the acquisition will affect the contingent workforce and service procurement software sector.