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Bullhorn announces sale to new private equity firm

October 23, 2017

Bullhorn, the staffing and recruitment software firm, announced today it is being acquired by Insight Venture Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focused on technology.

“We are excited to work with Insight to amplify our tremendous momentum with another great financial sponsor as we continue to grow this business,” Bullhorn CEO and Founder Art Papas said.

Bullhorn’s management team will remain in place, and Papas said it will be business as usual for customers. The deal marks an investor change, not an operating change.

“We’re still on our path to go and execute on our mission, which is to create an incredible customer experience for staffing and recruitment firms,” he said.

Bullhorn is based in Boston with offices in Europe, Australia and Canada. Its products include cloud-based customer relationship management software, back-office software and an applicant tracking system.

Insight Venture Partners is acquiring the company from private firm Vista Equity Partners. Terms of the transaction were not announced, but the deal is set to close this quarter.

“The company is uniquely positioned to expand their footprint both in new segments and geographically,” said Deven Parekh, managing director, Insight Venture Partners. “As the workforce continues to evolve, we believe that continued strong investment in next-generation technology will extend Bullhorn’s market leadership position.”

Vista Equity partners acquired Bullhorn in 2012. The company has quadrupled revenue over the past five years, accelerated platform investment and expanded internationally, said Alan Cline, principal and co-head of Vista’s Foundation Fund.

Just last month, Bullhorn itself acquired Connexys, a recruitment solutions provider for mainland Europe.

Papas said the staffing industry is going through a lot of change at the moment with rising global competition, a trend of mergers and acquisitions, and the emergence of artificial intelligence. Staffing firms’ own customers are also driving complexity with use of managed service providers, gig workers, statement-of-work consultants and more. All this points to the importance of Web-based software where innovation can happen at a more rapid pace than standalone systems that are not connected to the outside world — or must stitch together solutions from disparate sources, he said. Bullhorn’s Web-based ecosystem has more than 100 technologies pre-integrated on its platform that customers can activate as simply as flipping a switch, Papas said, including three that do AI candidate screening and four that do search and match with AI.

What about Bullhorn’s future, could there be an initial public offering? Papas said that is not the focus now and there are no plans for it, but an IPO is something the firm will consider for the future. Insight Venture Partners has had several of its firms stage successful IPOs, he said.

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