The dealmakers that advised Kallidus on its Sapling investment

10 February 2021 3 min. read

Apse Capital portfolio company Kallidus has invested in HR software specialist Sapling, in a deal which will help the acquiring firm gain entry to the lucrative North American market. A range of dealmakers advised Kallidus and Apse Capital on its landmark purchase.

Founded in 2017, Sapling is an HR technology specialist, providing a People Operations Platform which automates people workflows. The company, which is based in San Francisco and Vancouver, holds a key foothold in North America – the world’s largest regional professional services market – employing 50 people, and working with around 200 international clients, including the likes of InVision, Digital Ocean, Coupa, Geckoboard and IOSH.

This position has attracted the attention of Kallidus: one of the UK’s fastest-growing software companies providing talent management software and digital learning. Sapling’s platform can be used to help firms with everything from onboarding to offboarding and everything in between – connecting people data across existing HR systems to save everyone time and help people build a formidable workforce at their companies. As a result, Kallidus felt that Sapling was highly complementary to its shared focus on helping companies turn HR from an administrative role into a strategic function.

The dealmakers that advised Kallidus on its Sapling investment

According to a release from the firm, the resulting acquisition of Sapling will help Kallidus enter the North American market as well as offer a suite of HR and Digital Learning solutions. This is an important selling-point at a time of growing demand for full HCM due to greater adoption of distributed and remote working practices; fiercer competition for talent; and increasing compliance requirements across industries.

Andy Crebar, CEO of Sapling, commented, “We’re excited about the teaming up with Kallidus to accelerate our mission and vision of helping People Operations and HR teams globally. By integrating with Kallidus’ existing high-quality offering and its award-winning software platform and Digital Learning content, we can take our growth to the next level. With the impact of COVID-19 accelerating demand for integrated HR software and creating new challenges for businesses around the world, we see numerous opportunities to help even more people build better companies.”

The move was backed by Apse Capital – the private equity firm which partnered with Kallidus in March 2019, in order to support its ambition of becoming a leading HCM software and Digital Learning provider. The purchase of Sapling is the second acquisition since then, with the company purchasing Engage in Learning, to boost its eLearning capacity. Following the further move for Sapling, Kallidus’ team is 200-strong, across offices in the UK, US and Canada.

Rob Caul, CEO of Kallidus, added, “Sapling is an impressive business that represents an excellent strategic fit for Kallidus and we are delighted to welcome them to our team. Together, we can help meet the significant unmet demand for full HCM and eLearning solutions and provide international businesses with a one-stop solution for all their HR and Digital Learning needs across the entire employee lifecycle.”

A wide selection of professional services firms worked with Kallidus to help seal the deal. The buy-side advisory team consisted of CIL Management Consultants, who performed commercial due diligence; KPMG, who oversaw financial due diligence and tax structuring; Intuitus, who performed technical due diligence; and SIG, who completed technical due diligence. Legal expertise came from UK legal counsellor Kemp Little, US equivalent Stoel Rives, and CMS, which provided financing legal counsel. Finally, Stephens Europe worked as Kallidus’ debt advisor.