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Running out of cheap companies to buy? How VMS aggregators address competition

Bonus: How Lyvia blew past $200M revenue mark in just 3 years

So many valuable insights from the Redeye Serial Acquirers Conference, we had a hard time distilling them for the blog! Sharing with you our top picks insofar as software aggregator intel is concerned.

Insights from niche software acquirers

We kicked off panel discussions with:

  • Marathon Software - Swedish VMS (Richard Treffner, CEO)

  • Trekksoft - Swiss hospitality / tourism booking VMS (Marco Lustenberger, CFO)

  • Chapters Group - European VMS HoldCo (Jan-Hendrik Mohr, CEO)


  • Focus on smaller companies versus e.g. Vitec 

  • Key challenge: small equity tickets but a lot of hours due to the operational value-add. Example: product management is fairly underdeveloped in small VMS businesses

  • Stay away from distressed situations, prefer good individual markets


  • Trekksoft’s pivot from being a startup to a rollup happened organically. The company had been looking to M&A as a way to supplement growth

  • They do not acquire with synergies in mind. Stay within the vertical and keep the owners in place. The sellers find it appealing to with peers

Chapters Group: at €100M in revenue, can it keep growing? 

The answer from Chapters’ ebullient CEO Jan Henrik Mohr is YES ABSOLUTELY. 

What is this confidence based on?

  • Jan does not see a scarcity of acquisition opportunities. In 2024 YTD Chapters has closed a deal every 2 weeks - at a 6X reported multiple

  • PE cannot compete with them because of size and neither can VMS HoldCos. PE due to size (Chapters have only raised €150M in equity). HoldCos don’t have the same obsession with succession management situations

  • Small business owners seldom think about price in terms of multiple. “I need $2M for mortgage, $2M for divorce and $2M for a house in Mallorca”

  • Deal dynamics are not complicated provided you stay out of auctions

Why be public? 

  • Jan bought his first stock when he was 11. Chapters Group being public as an opportunity for “as many people as possible to join in the journey”

  • As a value investor at heart who has screened countless small-cap stocks, Jan has turned the tables by raising money from other value investors

    Source: Chapters Group

Lyvia: new kid on the block with $220M revenue & a growing % of recurring

Founded in September 2020 by the Esmaeilzadeh Holding, a Swedish family backed business group, Lyvia is a pan-European aggregator focused on technology. While Lyvia’s investment focus has been shifting from services to product (notably business critical software), this has not slowed down the pace of M&A. 

To date, Lyvia has closed 43 acquisitions (including 10 in 2023) giving it a FY 2023 revenue of SEB 2.3B ($220M) with a 21% EBITDA margin. 

Last year, Lyvia raised SEK 1.6B ($160M) from two Nordic banks to finance more M&A.

Source: Lyvia

Examples of acquisitions:

  • Gorilla Services: provides leading SaaS-solutions for customer- and IT service, AI and chatbots,  workflow automation, project- and customer relationship management. Based in Breda, the Netherlands. $1.2M EBITDA

  • Aditso: a Visma ERP Technical Partner and specialists in hosting and IT infrastructure. Based in Gothenburg, Sweden. $2M EBITDA

Some stats:

  • Lyvia estimates that there are 1.1M software businesses in Europe. Only 5-10% go through auction processes

  • They have 1 growth director per 8 portfolio companies

  • Monthly business reviews