It’s more fun to talk about unicorns because they are unusual and typically involve some sort of magic to create. They’re also known for rapid growth immediately out of the gates. But there are other billion dollar tech companies out there that while not as magical, are growing steadily and are significantly increasing in value, beneath our noses. Such is the case with Upland Software, a publicly traded company which has been acquiring smaller software companies at attractive valuations. Its strategy from the beginning was to provide the enterprise world with work management software solutions across various functions.
Upland is a leading cloud software provider that offers a variety of applications to enable organizations to optimize their resource utilization and workflows through efficient information management and more effective team collaboration, among other methods. In the past year alone, the company has acquired six companies in valuations ranging from $12 million to $50 million. Its latest acquisition occurred in May of 2019, when it scooped up Kapost, a content marketing software company that enables companies to manage their content marketing as a structured business process.
In total, Upland has acquired over 20 companies. It began its buying spree in 2012 with PowerSteering Software and Tenrox. As the years went on, it acquired more and eventually went public in November of 2014. Investors have rewarded the company as its stock price has risen nearly five-fold from $10 to $47 per share. Today, Upland offers seven enterprise cloud solution suites that enable more than one million users at over 9,000 accounts to acquire and engage customers, automate business operations, manage projects and IT costs, and share knowledge throughout the enterprise.
The bottoms up construction of Upland Software could not have been possible without someone knowledgeable in both software and acquisitions John McDonald originally founded the company as Silverback Enterprise Group. Previously, he was the Chief Executive Officer at Perficient Inc. for 10 years from 1999 to 2009. He also served as its President and Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2010. Prior to Perficient, John served as the President at VideoSite and before that held various positions at Blockbuster Entertainment Group. Earlier in his career, he was an attorney with the prestigious Skadden, Arps law firm in New York focused on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. He earned a J.D. from Fordham Law School and a B.A. in Economics from Fordham University.
In the coming quarters ahead, Upland is not likely to wow us with rapid growth out of thin air, but it certainly will impress us with steady growth and unicorn-like valuation – there just won’t be a whole lot of fanfare.