The young tech company has been acquired by Condeco, the world leader in workplace management. The new investor wants to expand the Brussels team.
It seems that crises are the perfect moments for the greatest entrepreneurial advances. Proxyclick is a perfect example. Launched in 2008, this Brussels-based scale-up specialises in visitor management. At a time when much of the economic world is struggling with a global pandemic, the Brussels-based company has never been in better shape. To the point of making it irresistible to the giants of the sector. The tech company has just changed hands. The lucky new owner is Condeco.
The British company is none other than the world leader in the market. Although the amount of the transaction remains secret, the operation is a nice recognition for the scale-up. “It’s a real win-win,” says Gregory Blondeau, one of the three co-founders, with a big smile. “The operation is also interesting for our employees, because we have a stock option policy. Most of our employees have therefore also directly benefited from the sale.
“After the first meeting with Condeco, we were not very excited. But after thinking about it, the acquisition by a large group seemed the most obvious solution.”
GREGORY BLONDEAU, CO-FOUNDER OF PROXYCLICK
The good news is all the more interesting for the company because it was not really planned. “Our ambition was not to sell. We wanted to continue to grow on our own,” says Gregory Blondeau. The market finally pushed the co-founders to change their minds on the issue. “We didn’t really think about it when Condeco first approached us last summer. But in view of the growing demands of our clients for a broader offer, the acquisition by a large group seemed the most obvious solution.
“Our operation was already very international. Of the 100 or so workers, we already have 40 nationalities.”
GREGORY BLONDEAU, CO-FOUNDER OF PROXYCLICK
Their final decision was influenced by recent developments in the sector. “Today, the workspace management business has become critical for companies,” explains Paul Statham, CEO and founder of Condeco. “In 2019, the global market was estimated to be between three and four billion dollars. Today, estimates are around $15 billion,” he says. The good market development has also been reflected in the Belgian group’s business. “We are probably one of the few companies to have grown its offices during the crisis. We went from 45 to 85 employees in nine months,” explained Gregory Blondeau in December 2020.
With such results, Proxyclick has not remained unnoticed for long in this new strategic market. “We are currently in a wave of consolidation. In addition to Condeco, several funds had expressed their interest, which also played a role in the negotiations,” explains Gregory Blondeau. “Proxyclick was our first choice. They are the best in the world in this segment. We had to enter this market to expand our service offering,” explains Paul Statham. All jobs will be maintained. The British company even plans to invest. “The wish is to keep the expertise. We are going to recruit between fifteen and twenty additional developers here in Brussels,” says the boss.
The name Proxyclick should remain. Not the co-founders. Once the transition is complete, Geoffroy De Cooman, Gregory Blondeau and Jean-Bernard van Zuylen will leave the company. As Condeco has taken over all the shares, Proxyclick is also losing its Belgian nationality. “In such an open market, it doesn’t really matter. We were already very international in our operations. Of the hundred or so employees, we already have 40 nationalities,” says Gregory Blondeau.
Once the transition is complete, the three partners intend to take a step aside, initially. However, it is not impossible that they will soon reappear in one or another tech project. “I want to pass on what I’ve learned,” smiles Gregory Blondeau. “I already have a few meetings planned with start-ups,” he smiles.
The pandemic, a source of growth
Founded in 2008, Proxyclick develops services to facilitate the management of comings and goings within companies. Based in Brussels, the company has gradually expanded by opening offices in Singapore and the United States. Today, 10,000 offices are equipped with solutions devised by Proxyclick. The Belgian company works with giants such as Airbnb, L’Oréal, Vodafone, Revolut, PepsiCo and Audi. After raising two rounds of funding totalling just over $18 million, the company was voted “scale-up of the year” in 2020. It was a particularly good year for the company, which took advantage of the crisis to expand its business. “In the past, our tool was only used to welcome visitors. But now, companies also need a tool adapted to manage a world of work that has become hybrid,” explains Geoffroy De Cooman, co-founder of Proxyclick. The company now has around one hundred employees.