TVC Leads $9.5M Round for Centage to Expand Financial Software
The San Diego private equity firm TVC Capital specializes in software deals, but TVC is not a venture investor.
TVC says it invests in high-growth companies with untapped potential. You could say that Jeb Spencer, TVC’s co-founder and managing partner, views prospective early stage deals in the white-hot consumer Web sector as all sizzle and no steak. As Spencer has explained through the years, he prefers to make investments in software deals that are all steak and no sizzle—or maybe a little sizzle, but not too much.
As an example, Spencer points to Centage, a software company based in Natick, MA, that has developed Budget Maestro—budgeting and forecasting software designed for small and medium-sized businesses. In a statement going out Wednesday, Centage says it has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding from TVC Capital and Northgate Capital, a global private equity and venture investor based in Danville, CA.
Spencer calls it a “classic” investment for TVC—an under-the-radar company in a segment known as enterprise performance management. Since 2001, when it was founded, Centage says it has funded its growth chiefly from sales revenue—with “minimal” outside funding and no venture capital.
A Centage spokesman says the company also has managed to hold its own against better-funded rivals like Mountain View, CA-based Adaptive Planning, which has raised a total of $84.5 million in venture funding, and Redwood City, CA-based Host Analytics, which has raised nearly $61 million in VC funding.
Adaptive Planning and Host Analytics already have moved into the cloud, offering their software as a service (SaaS) for budgeting, financial planning, consolidation, reporting and analytics. With the $9.5 million infusion from TVC and Northgate, Centage plans to likewise move into the cloud and provide its software to customers on a SaaS model.
Centage might be late in moving into the cloud, but that’s not a significant issue, Spencer says. Citing data from Aberdeen Group analyst Nick Castellina, Spencer says 70 percent of U.S. companies are still using Microsoft Excel software for budgeting and forecasting and 65 percent of the “industry average” companies are flying blind when it comes to planning, budgeting, and forecasting. And there are more than 250,000 small and medium businesses (SMB) in the United States.
Centage says more than 600 companies are currently using Budget Maestro, which automates many of the time-consuming and error-prone activities that go with using spreadsheets to generate budgets and financial forecasts. The company says demand for its flagship product remains high due to increasing financial management pressures. Centage says Budget Maestro includes features built in financial and business logic that allow users to build and update their budgets and forecasts without a lot of experience with Excel or knowledge of formulas, functions, or custom programming.
“SMB is being overlooked,” Spencer says. “It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but from the TVC perspective, we feel like we know what needs to be done to build a powerhouse here in the small and medium business market.”
Both Spencer and Jared Stone, a managing director at Northgate Capital, have joined the Centage board.
In a statement from Centage, CEO Barry Clapp says, “We value TVC’s track record and deep operational expertise and look forward to them helping us turn our best-of-breed solution into a true market leader. The infusion of capital will help to expand our sales and marketing efforts, develop new product offerings and business intelligence tools, and to expand our delivery options to include a cloud platform offering.”