SciQuest’s latest chapter as the Jaggaer meister

SciQuest’s latest chapter as the Jaggaer meister

Six months after being acquired by private-equity firm Accel-KKR for $509 million, SciQuest is changing its name to better reflect an expanded customer base. The Morrisville-based company has rebranded as Jaggaer (pronounced “Jagger,” as in Mick), which is derived from the German word for “hunter.” The term expresses the company’s “ability to help track value and secure profitability,” according to company spokesman Sean Durkin.

While the 22-year-old company started as an online service for scientists and professors to buy all kinds of equipment, now more than half its customers are commercial, including Starbucks, Safeway and Rite-Aid. With that broader base, Chief Executive Officer Rob Bonavito says customers felt the name needed to change. “Jaggaer is a fresh start.”

The expansion into commercial provides more opportunity, though there are no plans to scale back in the company’s strong education and government sectors. “We’ve been a leader  in those areas, and will continue,” Bonavito says.

Rob Bonavito

Bonavito replaced longtime SciQuest CEO Steve Wiehe in September, one of about six top personnel changes about two months after the sale. Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of iTradeNetwork, a California-based provider of supply-chain management software for the food service industry that was acquired by Accel-KKR in 2007 (Accel-KKR later sold it in 2010).

Started in the mid-1990s, SciQuest went public in 1999. Shares once traded as high as $90 before the dot-com bubble burst. The company was taken private in 2004, then went public again in 2010, initially trading at $11.50. When Accel-KKR bought the company in July, it paid $17.75 a share, representing a 34% premium over the closing price the day before the sale was announced. The company, which doesn’t disclose revenue, says it had record sales in 2016, adding 50 customers, bringing its total to 562. Bonavito says Jaggaer is looking at hiring new workers, but declined to be specific. Today, employment is in the 400-500 range, he says. He says Jaggaer remains committed to the state. “North Carolina is one of the best-kept secrets in the country.”

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Accel-KKR, with offices in Menlo Park, Calif., Atlanta and London, invests in mid-market software and technology firms. It was started in 2002 as a joint venture between New York-based KKR and Accel, a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. It has invested about $4 billion, according to its website. Last week, Accel-KKR announced it has acquired a majority interest in Raleigh-based FM:Systems, which provides property-management software.

“People say, ‘what’s in a name?’ There’s a lot. [There’s the] attitude, energy and passion that trickles down throughout the organization,” Bonavito says. “There’s a tremendous amount of excitement here.”

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