- Poland-based Netguru, one of Europe’s fastest growing software development and consultancy companies, has today announced a strategic eight-figure investment into Pilot44, a US corporate innovation studio.
- With this first investment into an American-owned and operated company, Netguru seeks to both expand its presence within the US market and to lay the foundation for a new type of innovation consultancy.
- Netguru acquired a significant minority stake in Pilot44, and intends to fully acquire the company in the next couple of years.
San Francisco/Warsaw – Netguru has acquired a significant minority stake in Pilot44, one of America’s most trusted corporate innovation studios. This strategic investment reinforces the company’s capabilities and plays a key part in Netguru’s long-term strategy to become an end-to-end innovation partner to fast-growing startups and corporations. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Singapore and Sydney, Pilot44 has extensive experience in helping consumer-facing companies to accelerate innovation and drive growth. The brand’s focus is on delivering integrated end-to-end growth innovation services across all aspects of the discovery, design, development, and early incubation of new solution concepts.
“Today’s rapid pace of digital disruption combined with a hyper-focus on growth acceleration has created the demand for a new type of strategic innovation consultancy. Together, Netguru and Pilot44 will partner with both top corporations and fast-growing startups to offer today’s most comprehensive suite of end-to-end digital innovation and venture building services. I’m excited by what this new collaboration can bring to our current and future clients,” said Marek Talarczyk, CEO at Netguru.
Netguru, recognised among the fastest growing software companies in the EU, has built and delivered more than 1,000 digital projects and solutions for some of the largest brands in the world, including; Volkswagen, IKEA, Keller Williams and UBS; while Pilot44 has run over 250 pilots for brands including Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Red Bull, Diageo, Nestle, and Kellogg’s, among others.
“At Pilot44 we have always had an ambitious vision of unifying traditionally disparate innovation services,” said Jon Corshen, Co-founder of Pilot44. “These functions or services are typically outsourced to an array of agencies and consultancies. The result is much more time, higher costs, a loss of transparency and an endless cycle of experimentation that does not scale. Netguru and Pilot44 share a common goal of creating a new type of agency that bridges the divide between digital and growth innovation and that delivers measurable innovation outcomes.”
Netguru will be helping to boost Pilot44’s position in North America and the rest of the world, and leveraging the company’s experience to expand both the reach and the depth of joint strategic services.
This strategic investment is a part of Netguru’s long-term strategy of becoming an end-to-end innovation partner to fast-growing startups and corporations that seek support in developing their digital infrastructure, and in creating and executing comprehensive business growth strategies. Through this collaboration, the companies now offer a complete range of growth-essential services, including:
|Integrated market & consumer researchDisruption sensingNew concept design & prototypingBrand strategyIn-market validation testing||Digital development & supportProduct DesignBusiness & financial modelling Go-to-market Strategy & PlanningIncubation & Growth Marketing|
“We could tell right away that we shared a common perspective on where the market was heading and a very similar company culture,” added Marek Talarczyk. “But what was most important is that both organisations pride themselves on being entrepreneurial builders and really more co-founders than consultants. We can’t wait to see the horsepower of the combined companies.”
The eight-figure investment was supported by a number of external partners, including: Polish International Development Fund managed by PFR TFI S.A. which also invested into Pilot44; Citi Handlowy, which provided a credit facility to enable the transaction; and James Oury, CLA and EY, who provided tax and legal counsel throughout the process.
The US company will continue to function as a separate entity. Netguru plans to fully acquire Pilot44 in the next couple of years, including buying-out the shares purchased by the Polish International Development Fund, managed by PFR TFI S.A.
“The Polish technology industry already holds a strong export position. Netguru’s investment in the American entity, Pilot44, proves that Polish companies operating within this sector can reach for more and become top players in the digital transformation mainstream. In the last 2 years there’s been a rapid acceleration in the areas of videoconferencing technology, artificial intelligence, teamwork software, digital payments, or mobile security. These trends encourage a different view on how companies approach their business development. They need to react quicker than ever to the changes that are taking place, and digital technologies are now becoming one of the key elements of building competitive advantage and growth acceleration. Thanks to investing in Pilot44, Netguru will be able to present a complex offer of strategic consultancy, including implementing innovations and digital infrastructure to customers around the world,” says Piotr Kuba, Member of the Management Board responsible for Investments at PFR TFI.
Sebastian Perczak, head of Commercial Bank at Citi Handlowy, says: “Cooperation with Netguru is part of our strategy to be the bank-of-choice for companies with plans to develop and expand abroad. Through a dedicated team of advisors and industry specialists we support Polish companies from the Digital sector. We have expertise and know-how in this area, and thanks to the fact that we are part of one of the largest financial institutions in the world, we can support our clients wherever they go. I am glad that we could be a partner in this transaction and help in the implementation of Netguru’s ambitious plans.”
- 2021 revenue: $57.2M (35.6% growth vs. 2020)
- US accounts for over 18% of company revenues, growing steadily each year
- Headcount: +900 people
- Established in 2008
- Delivered +1000 projects across +50 countries
- 4x recognized as one of the fastest growing European companies by FT 1000 (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022)
Netguru is a leading global innovation consultancy company. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Poznań, Poland, Netguru operates globally, employing more than 900 people. The brand has delivered more than 1000 projects across +50 countries over the last 14 years.
Netguru builds digital products that let people do things differently – offering consulting, tools and resources to companies of all shapes and sizes – to make beautifully designed digital products in a way that’s fast and fits their needs.
Netguru has become one of the fastest growing companies in the EU, recognized by the Financial Times, Deloitte, and Forbes. The company has completed more than 1000 projects, and has 900+ people on board working from all over the world. In March 2021 Netguru was certified as a Great Place to Work®. The company is also a certified B® Corporation.
Netguru cooperates primarily with companies from Germany, the United States, UK and Switzerland as well as the United Arab Emirates. The company works with both the largest brands in the world, such as Volkswagen, UBS, IKEA and Keller Williams, as well as fast-growing startups in the financial (Solarisbank), education (Babbel) or robotics (Temi) industries.
Further information on Netguru can be found here.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Pilot44 is one of America’s most trusted Corporate Innovation Studios, helping consumer-facing companies to accelerate innovation and drive growth. The brand’s focus is on delivering integrated end-to-end Growth Innovation Services across all aspects of the discovery, design, development, and early incubation of new solution concepts. Pilot44’s clients include; Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Kelloggs, and Red Bull, among dozens of others.
Pilot44 is a passionate group of accomplished entrepreneurs, technologists and marketers focused on helping today’s top brands to leverage modern, lean practices to accelerate disruptive innovation and drive growth. Its unique set of innovation services allow clients to see around corners, keep pace with the speed of digital transformation and to identify and incubate new growth ventures. As the innovation agency of record for some of the largest and most complex companies in the world, Pilot44 has developed a unique set of tools, methodologies and expertise that allow clients to innovate with the agility of a startup and the horsepower of the enterprise. The result is a five-fold increase in measurable innovation outcomes, at a fraction of the cost, risk and time.
Further information on Pilot44 can be found here.
About The Polish International Development Fund
The Polish International Development Fund managed by PFR TFI facilitates the expansion of Polish companies into foreign markets, co-financing their foreign investment projects through loans or the acquisition of minority interests with repurchase, on market terms.
The Fund may finance the acquisition of a foreign company, the creation of a new company or the further development of an existing foreign subsidiary of a Polish company. The fund shares the risk of a foreign project proportionally to its engagement. The Fund can invest both in and outside the European Union, including in developing and high-risk countries, in almost all sectors, not only in production companies, but also in distribution and service companies. The Fund can invest no more than 50% of the value of the total investment. So far the Fund has co-invested into over a dozen projects across six countries, and its total investment value has reached over 80 million euro.
About Citi Handlowy
Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA is one of the largest financial institutions in Poland. Under the brand name Citi Handlowy, it offers various advanced products and services in the areas of corporate, investment and retail banking. Bank Handlowy provides services to 5,400 corporate clients and around 622,000 individual customers through modern distribution channels and a network of 18 branches. The Bank’s Group includes such entities as: Dom Maklerski Banku Handlowego (brokerage house) and Handlowy Leasing. As a member of Citigroup, the largest financial institution worldwide, Bank Handlowy provides its clients with access to financial services in more than 100 countries.
Citi (NYSE:C) is a leading global financial institution with about 200 million clients in more than 140 countries. Through its two separate operational units: Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides services to individual, corporate, governmental and institutional clients offering them a broad range of financial products and services in the retail, corporate and investment banking segments, as well as brokerage and asset management services. For more information please visitwww.citigroup.com or www.citi.com