Eyeing an exit for your software firm or eager to secure growth capital? Dive into our guide for an overview of the top global private equity investors that can help you accelerate your business.

In this article, we breakdown the top 10 private equity investors in software, globally. Our list will give you a comprehensive overview of each financial buyer, including geographical focus, investment profile, key offices, and more. Additionally, we outline reasons why we believe you should entertain an offer from a private equity buyer and summarize the top 5 reasons we have encountered from founders who opted to partially or completely exit their business to a private equity buyer.

For this analysis, we define software companies based on the Mergermarket classification, which includes application software, software development, system integrations, and operating systems. The analysis spans from January 2014, to end of June 2024.

Let’s dive in!

Overview of the global top 10 software PE investors, measured by deal volume

Detailed profiles of the top 10 most active PE firms investing in Software

1) TA Associates Management

Overview: TA Associates Management is a US-based private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and recapitalizations for middle market business while also providing equity, debt, and growth capital. They invest in a diverse set of industries including business services, consumer services, financial services, healthcare, and technology.

Geographic Focus: Global

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $100m – $600m
  • Enterprise Value: $50m – $5000m
  • Stake: Prefers majority or minority stake with ownership control
  • Exit Horizon: More than 5 years
  • Board Representation: Prefers board seat

Key Offices: Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, with additional offices across North America, Europe, and Asia

2) Vista Equity Partners

Overview: Vista Equity Partners is a private equity firm that also invests in credit, permanent capital, and public equity. On their private equity side, they specialize in buyouts, acquisition financing, recapitalizations, restructurings, and divestitures of middle and large-market companies, with a focus on enterprise software. They invest in technologically enabled companies in industries such as financial services, healthcare, IT, media, real estate, and retail.

Geographic Focus: North America and Europe

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $5m – $1000m
  • Enterprise Value: $25m – $10000m
  • Revenue: $10m – $1500m
  • Stake: Prefers majority stake

Key Offices: Headquartered in San Francisco, California with additional offices in Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; and Hong Kong, Hong Kong;

3) Thoma Bravo

Overview: Thoma Bravo is one of the largest software-focused private equity firms located in the USA with about $142 billion in assets under management. They specialize in recapitalizations, buyouts, and buy-and-build transactions for middle-market businesses and have invested in more than 480 companies. Thoma Bravo seeks to invest in proven companies with strong growth potential.

Geographic Focus: North America focus but also considers global investments

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $20m – $750m
  • Enterprise Value: $100m – $2000m
  • Revenue: Min $50m

Key Offices: Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional offices in San Francisco, California; Miami, Florida; New York, New York; and London, UK

4) Hg Capital

Overview: Hg Capital is a leading private equity investor in software businesses in both the US and Europe. They specialize in buyouts transactions of small and medium-sized enterprises, providing expansion capital for growth and focusing on operational improvements to enhance performance. They seek to invest in a wide range of software verticals including consumer, healthcare, TMT, and energy.

Geographic Focus: North America and Europe

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $77.8m – $1014.5m
  • Enterprise Value: $24.4m – $1787.2
  • Stake: Prefers majority or minority stakes

Key Offices: Headquartered in London, UK, with additional offices in Munich, Germany; Paris, France; San Francisco, California; and New York, New York

5) Battery Ventures

Overview: Battery Ventures is a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in early to late-stage ventures and middle-market buyouts. They focus on private equity funds to provide capital and partnership to technology companies, raising capital commitments from institutional investors, and emphasizing their long-term investment horizon and support for established businesses. Battery Ventures provides tactical and collaborative assistance to its portfolio companies in support of sustainable growth.

Geographic Focus: Global with specific focus in the USA, Canada, China, Europe, and India

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $0.3m – $100m
  • Revenue: $5m – $200m
  • Stake: Prefers minority or majority stake
  • Board Representation: Prefers board membership

Key Offices: Headquartered in Boston, USA with additional global offices including New York, USA and London, UK

6) Accel-KKR

Overview: Accel-KKR is a private equity firm with over 350 completed investments. They specialize in middle-market buyouts, carve-outs, and recapitalizations of both private and public companies, raising capital from institutional investors such as pension funds, endowments, and family offices. Accel-KKR invests in software and technology-enabled businesses, focusing on adding value through expansion initiatives and collaborative efforts.

Geographic Focus: Global

Investment Criteria:

  • Revenue: $10m – $150m
  • Enterprise Value: Max $50m

Key Offices: Headquartered in Menlo Park, USA with additional offices including London, UK and Mexico City, Mexico

7) Main Capital Partners

Overview: Main Capital Partners is a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in late-stage venture, restructuring, recapitalizations, and buyouts. They are a technology investor that primarily focuses on software verticals such as healthcare, enterprise, security, and financial services. Main Capital Partners focuses on under-resourced, lower middle-market businesses with a minimum of €3m in EBITDA and a capability for substantial growth, looking to combine local presence with ambitious management teams to drive market growth.

Geographic Focus: Nordic Region, DACH Region, North-West Europe

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: €5m – €150m
  • Revenue: €3m – €100m
  • Stake: Looks to take majority stake
  • Exit Horizon: 3-6 years

Key Offices: Headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands with additional offices in Dusseldorf, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Antwerp, Belgium; and Boston, USA

8) Francisco Partners Management

Overview: Francisco Partners Management is one of the largest technology-focused private equity firms with over $5 billion of capital raised. As a leader among technology private equity firms, they specialize in divestitures, recapitalizations, restructuring, and buyouts of middle-market businesses. Its portfolio of companies includes sectors such as technology, ERP, infrastructure, IT, and vertical market software.

Geographic Focus: North America, Europe, APAC, and Israel

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $20m – $4000m
  • Enterprise Value: $30m – $5000m
  • Stake: Seeks majority or controlling stake
  • Board Representation: Acquires board seat

Key Offices: Headquartered in San Francisco, USA with additional offices in New York, USA and London, UK

9) Bain Capital

Overview: Bain Capital is a private equity and venture capital firm with over $185 billion in assets under management. As a private investment firm, they specialize in early to late-stage venture, credit, real estate, public equity, and acquisitions of middle-market businesses in a wide range of industries, including consumer, financial services, healthcare, industrial, and technology.

Geographic Focus: North America, Western Europe, China, India, and Japan

Investment Criteria:

  • Equity Ticket: $0.1m – $1000m
  • Revenue: $25m – $100m
  • Stake: Prefers majority and minority stake
  • Board Representation: Prefers Board Seat

Key Offices: Headquartered in Boston, USA with additional offices in Europe and Asia

10) KKR

Overview: KKR & Co is a global investment firm focusing on private equity and real assets, which include infrastructure and real estate. As a top private equity firm, KKR & Co has invested over $146 billion in capital across varied segments, including software, consumer, healthcare, and industrials. They aim to create value through organic growth, operational improvement, and business expansion.

Geographic Focus: Global

Investment Criteria:

  • Enterprise Value: $200m – $1000m
  • Stake: Seeks controlling ownership or strategic minority position
  • Exit Horizon: Typically 5+ years
  • Board Representation: Seeks a board seat

Key Offices: Headquartered in New York, USA with additional offices across Europe, The Middle East, and Asia Pacific

Sources: Mergermarket; S&P Capital IQ

Looking to deepen your understanding of the European private equity landscape? Here is our previous research on the most active PE investors in European software, “Top 10 Most Active Software Private Equity Investors in Europe” and IT-services “Most Active IT Services Private Equity Investors in Europe”

Top 5 reasons we believe you should entertain an offer from a private equity house

There are many reasons why a financial buyer like a private equity firms could be the best option to help grow your business, here we list the top 5 that we have experienced from our transactions helping clients exiting to a private equity firm.

(+) Exit opportunity: For founders looking to monetize their stake, a private equity deal can provide a quick and significant liquidity event while potentially allowing continued involvement in the company

(+) Accelerated growth: Private equity backing can help accelerate growth through strategic acquisitions, expanding into new markets, or investing in product development, often preserving the brand and its identity.

(+) Professionalize management: Private equity firms often bring in experienced executive or board members, which can help professionalize the company’s operations and prepare it for future growth or exit opportunities

(+) Access to capital: Private equity firms can provide substantial funding for growth, acquisitions, or other strategic initiatives that may be difficult to finance through other means

(+) Operational expertise: Many PE firms have experience in scaling software companies and can offer valuable guidance, industry connections, and operational support

To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of selling to strategic versus financial buyers, check out our detailed article on the topic found here.

Have you received an offer for your business from a private equity firm?

Congratulations on receiving an offer! It’s a testament to your hard work. Enjoy the moment, but don’t rush into a decision—first offers are rarely the best.

Having an M&A advisor by your side can streamline the transaction process and help you achieve a better valuation. Advisors bring expertise, strategic guidance, and networks to ensure you get the best deal. Without professional support, you risk being at a disadvantage, as having only one bidder limits your negotiating power.

Advisors help identify pitfalls, navigate due diligence, and negotiate with sophisticated buyers, protecting your interests. We ensure your sale aligns with your long-term goals, considering management transitions, employees, and ownership structures.

Partnering with an advisor allows you to focus on running your business, with peace of mind knowing you have an expert to strategize with. We only succeed when you succeed.

About Aventis Advisors

Aventis Advisors is an M&A advisor focusing on technology and growth companies. We believe the world would be better off with fewer (but better quality) M&A deals done at the right moment for the company and its owners. Our goal is to provide honest, insight-driven advice, clearly laying out all the options for our clients – including the one to keep the status quo.

Get in touch with us to discuss how much your business could be worth and how to maximize the valuation.