Verdane partners with SaaS e-commerce platform Centra to support internationalisation and product enhancement
Verdane, the Northern European specialist growth equity investor, has announced a minority investment in Centra, a Sweden-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business offering an e-commerce platform for midmarket consumer goods brands. Verdane will support the Company as it further develops its e-commerce platform and offering to consumer, fashion, and lifestyle brands, drawing on Verdane’s experience investing in over 45 software businesses across Northern Europe. Centra is a fast-growing and ambitious company with an expanding international presence, and Verdane will work alongside the Company’s CEO Martin Jensen as it continues to scale its operations globally. Verdane’s investment in Centra is made as part of a portfolio transaction.
Founded in 2016 and based in Stockholm, Centra is a digital e-commerce platform based on an Application Programming Interface software (API) that helps midmarket consumer goods brands with their Direct-to-Consumer and wholesale operations. The Company provides a comprehensive and cost-effective platform for brands looking for an alternative to the more complex enterprise-level solutions, and has already established itself as the preferred vendor among brands in Sweden, working with businesses such as Sandqvist, Nudie Jeans and Eton Shirts.
Centra has shown considerable growth since inception, with an ARR growth of around 50% year-on-year, and more than 200 clients across Europe. With Verdane as a growth partner, the Company will be looking to accelerate its development and growth and to consolidate its position as a European niche leader, through organic expansion across the Nordics and the rest of Europe and attractive M&A opportunities.
Björn Beckman, Principal at Verdane commented: “This is a great opportunity for Verdane to partner with an exciting business with the potential to become a leader in the European e-commerce space. As a digital e-commerce platform, Centra’s key differentiator is its use of API technology, which provides brands with a unique and multi-faceted experience and further enhances the digitization of their relationships with consumers and wholesalers.
As the preferred partner to growing tech-enabled businesses across Northern Europe and with its extensive experience backing software and consumer internet businesses, Verdane is well-suited to support Centra as it continues to grow its platform and scale its operations across Europe. We are looking forward to collaborating with Martin and his team on this journey.”
Martin Jensen, CEO at Centra commented: “With a partner like Verdane on board, Centra will have the opportunity to power up its platform and to accelerate its growth, with the aim to become a niche market leader in Europe and globally. We founded Centra with the ambition to create a straight-forward and comprehensive platform for brands to connect with their customers, both on the consumer and professional side. After six years of high growth, during which we have become the preferred vendor to brands in Sweden and have expanded across Europe, we are ready for the next stage in our development and are excited to be working with the Verdane team on this journey.”
Verdane has a strong record investing in tech-enabled businesses, including software, with investments in the sector dating back to 2003. The firm was named the most active financial investor in Nordic software growth companies 2016-2020 in 2020 by PwC, and declared a Top 4 most active GP acquirer of Nordic-based companies by deal count 2015-2021 by Pitchbook in 2021. Its current portfolio of 30 software businesses includes Brightpearl, Centra, Forsta, Hive, inRiver, and Voyado.
The parties have agreed not to disclose the transaction valuation. The investment was made by Verdane’s Verdane Capital X fund.
Centra is a headless SaaS e-commerce platform empowering the next generation of consumer brands with a global-first approach. Leading brands such as Nudie Jeans, Ideal of Sweden, Stronger, Eton Shirts and Sandqvist use Centra’s software to deliver a seamless global e-commerce experience for consumers and wholesale buyers. Centra is currently one of the fastest-growing e-commerce platforms on the market and a pioneer in headless e-commerce. The platform consists of two modules: Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Wholesale. Centra was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with offices in Wroclaw, Poland and New York, USA.
Verdane is a specialist growth equity investment firm that partners with tech-enabled Northern European businesses to help them reach the next stage of international growth. Verdane can invest as a minority or majority investor, either in single companies or through portfolios of companies, and looks to deploy behind three core themes; the Digital Consumer, Software Everywhere and Sustainable Society. Verdane funds hold more than €3bn in total commitments and have made over 135 investments in fast-growing businesses since 2003. Verdane’s team of over 85 investment professionals and operating experts, based out of Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, Oslo and Stockholm, is dedicated to being the preferred growth partner to tech-enabled businesses in Northern Europe.
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