New Private Equity Firm GrowthCurve Acquires Brightway Insurance | Franchise Mergers and Acquisitions

Brightway Insurance coverage virtually helped GrowthCurve Capital make historical past because the personal fairness agency’s first funding. Whereas that distinction went to Mistplay, a platform for cell avid gamers that allows customers to earn rewards by enjoying video games on their telephone, Brightway co-founder Michael Miller is not any much less enthusiastic about GrowthCurve’s majority funding within the insurance coverage firm he constructed together with his brother, David Miller.

“It was hand to glove,” stated Michael Miller in regards to the deal introduced December 17, only a week after GrowthCurve’s funding in Mistplay. “It was very clear that we had been actual kindred spirits on what’s potential, what may very well be … they usually have the assets in-house to truly do it and do it at gentle pace.”

Miller co-founded the corporate as Miller Insurance coverage Group together with his brother in 2003 and began franchising as Brightway in 2008. The Jacksonville, Florida-based supplier of residence, private and auto insurance coverage grew gross sales 17 % in 2020, to $744.5 million, and is ranked No. 104 on the Franchise Occasions High 400. It now has greater than 330 franchises in 29 states, and the corporate stated its systemwide gross sales (annualized written premium) grew 18.eight % in 2021, to $884.1 million.

Miller left his position as president and CEO and joins his brother on Brightway’s board of administrators, whereas Mark Cantin, GrowthCurve’s lead working govt in insurance coverage distribution, turns into the brand new president and CEO at Brightway.

The expertise of Cantin, who spent 30-plus years within the insurance coverage house on each the distribution and underwriting sides, was a key a part of the deal, stated Miller, and is indicative of GrowthCurve’s funding strategy.

“They’re a really distinctive group. Sure, they’re underneath the umbrella of a non-public fairness group, however they’re in contrast to any personal fairness group I’ve ever seen,” he stated. “They don’t simply say how can we increase earnings after which promote it … however how can we set up actual, practical experience.”

Sumit Rajpal, CEO and founder, launched GrowthCurve Capital in Might 2021. He had a 20-year profession at Goldman Sachs, the place he was the worldwide co-head of the service provider banking division and the worldwide co-head of the company fairness investing companies. In keeping with Cantin, Rajpal’s thesis was to “take the deal staff experience and couple that with the practical experience” to create an built-in agency that works in partnership with administration groups. The agency focuses on control-oriented investments primarily throughout the monetary and knowledge companies, healthcare and know-how sectors.

Sumit Rajpal, GrowthCurve

Sumit Rajpal launched GrowthCurve Capital after a protracted profession at Goldman Sachs.

Cantin joined GrowthCurve “with all of the intentions of going out and discovering a platform like Brightway,” he stated. “There’s a shortage of high-growth platforms on the distribution facet” of the insurance coverage trade, he continued, and “Brightway was a confirmed mannequin.”

Cantin stated the main focus now’s on capturing extra market share, accelerating unit development and persevering with the modernization of Brightway’s customer support middle, which companies the insurance policies bought by franchisees whereas they give attention to coverage renewals and new enterprise. Expertise will play a serious position in Brightway’s development.

“I feel what we’re going to see is how we take the enterprise and modernize it with know-how … issues like AI and machine studying, notably within the service middle,” stated Cantin. The corporate will allocate assets in these areas to proceed constructing a “tech-enabled franchise of the long run.”

With the acquisition, the Millers preserve important minority possession of Brightway, one thing Michael Miller stated was one other important a part of the transaction. Different corporations wished to purchase 100 % of the corporate, however “we felt that, primary, we love what we’ve constructed and we imagine in the place we’re going,” he stated, which is why they continue to be “massively invested, each emotionally and financially.”

J.P. Morgan Securities served because the unique monetary advisor to Brightway within the transaction. Smith Hulsey & Busey served as authorized counsel to Brightway; Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP served as authorized counsel to GrowthCurve. Phrases of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

This text has been up to date to incorporate Brightway’s 2021 gross sales figures.