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Hush-hush! Upliift and Balio: the under-the-radar aggregators

Who are they and what have they actually bought?

Across EMEA, software HoldCo formation is accelerating. Rarely a week passes by without a new team appearing in our periscope. 

Having covered highly public aggregators like AscendX, UNARIC (link) and Everfield (link), we feel it is time to shed light on the more discrete players. 

We are talking about Upliift and Balio. Although founded around the same time (in 2022), they could not be more different in terms of founder background, initial scale of ambition, or investment thesis. 

In this article we cover the two companies’

  • Investment theses

  • Portfolios

  • Investors

  • Terms offered to investors (behind paywall)


The London headquartered Upliift aims to deploy $50M per year, buying up “European B2B software companies with €1-25M in revenue considering a full or partial exit”. It is funded by Rolly van Rappard, a co-founder of the private equity firm CVC; the Oxford University Endowment; and Sator Grove, a US based permanent capital investor. 

If you are impressed by the investors’ pedigrees, wait until you hear the founders’ bios:

  • Co-CEO Alex Myers comes from the management side, having worked in senior product and strategy roles for two PE backed software businesses, and before that McKinsey. He graduated from Oxford University and INSEAD

  • Co-CEO Michael Hammerström is the dealmaker, having led M&A for Juniper, and before that Aquila, both operating divisions of Constellation Software 

  • Upliift’s third founder and Chairman Oliver Thomas has a background in lower mid market software investing (Grafton Capital, Hg, Summit). He heads up Upliift’s sister entity Expedition Growth Capital and like Alex, is an Oxford alumnus

Little is known about Upliift’s portfolio other than their focus on retirement / succession situations in Continental Europe. The sole case study on the website refers to an apocryphal financial services software business in Southern Europe. Rollupeurope heard through the grapevine that the target is based in Former Yugoslavia and has €30M-odd in revenue. 

A screenshot from Upliift’s LinkedIn page


The Dubai headquartered Balio was founded by “a team of ex-SaaS founders, operators, and investors who love building & growing software”. 

Solid numbers…but no names. Source: Balio website

Who are they exactly?

The 4 founding shareholders are Abhinav Karale, Vidush Mahansaria, Raza Jack Rizvi and Jakub (Kuba) Bajda

Their professional travails provide a useful glimpse into the playbooks of well connected people. Briskly moving between jobs every 1-2 years, accumulating experience as well as contacts. ICONIQ. Grab. Razor Group. Rocket Internet. BCG. Parthenon-EY. Lakestar. 

The fifth co-founder, David Czarny, came from Accel-KKR. Based on public filings, he does not have outright equity in the TopCo, having joined after the fundraising was completed. 

Speaking of which - in October 2022 Balio completed a $3M seed round at a $11M pre-money valuation. Among investors were the German entrepreneur Christian Angermeyer and Magnus Rausing from the Tetra Pak dynasty, plus Mato Peric, a former executive with Rocket Internet. 

So far, according to Axial, Balio has acquired 4 businesses: 

Read on to learn about the terms on which Upliift and Balio raised funding.

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