After the European software investor Main Capital Partners acquired a strategic stake in PLATO AG in spring 2022, the majority takeover of iqs Software GmbH was completed last week in consultation with PLATO Holding GmbH.
PLATO and iqs are both established market players in their respective domains with a strong international footprint, exceptional client track record, double digit growth rates, and a highly complementary product and customer portfolio. iqs, with its quality management software suite, is a logical expansion of PLATO’s cloud-based Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Engineering platform “e1ns” enabling significant cross-sell opportunities between the companies.
By joining forces, the newly established group strives to offer significant added value to customers by providing an unbeatable FMEA combined with highly integrated quality and engineering processes along the entire Digital Thread – from idea to product over the entire product lifecycle. The base will be a state-of-the-art WEB and cloud technology. Accordingly, the group contributes to reducing failures in design and production processes and thus helps improving the safety of cars, medical equipment, and everyday appliances worldwide. Combined, the group employs an exceptional team of around 140 employees.
PLATO's founders or members of the management team, Marcus Schorn and Andreas Großmann, remain responsible for the management of the company, which was founded in 1992 and has developed into a leading software specialist in the engineering market. In addition, they have a similar role in the newly established holding company.
In its 30-year history, PLATO has developed not only first-class technologies but also new business models - from the "one-off sale" of a licence to subscription models that focus on the use of a solution, not its ownership. By upgrading its established FMEA software to modern cloud technology, the company has established a strong competitive position in the market.
"We are brought together by the idea of making more of PLATO together. From the requirements to the production, the competences are to be strengthened," Andreas Großmann explains the majority shareholding of Main Capital. "Together with Main, we can drive forward our ambitious growth plans. In doing so, we also benefit from the comprehensive expertise and a large network. The aim is to integrate further in-depth, specialising or even complementary solutions using our e1ns technology as a backbone. We see iqs as an ideal complement to our strategic direction."
"We are very excited about this next growth step for iqs together with PLATO and Main Capital Partners," commented Ulrich Mangold, CEO of iqs on the merger. "This step will enable us to realise our ambitions in the coming years and achieve our strategic goals more rapidly. We are convinced that we have the right resources and expertise in this new environment to become the leading player in the Engineering and Quality Management software market. This includes further expansion into North America where PLATO has shown significant growth over the last 5 years."
Sven van Berge, head of DACH activities at Main Capital Partners, is convinced and adds: "Companies around the world are increasingly recognising the need to implement engineering and quality management software in order to meet frequent changes in regulatory requirements, satisfy market demands and ensure customer safety. We are pleased to support PLATO and iqs in their merger and see numerous opportunities to jointly develop the new and highly complementary group in German-speaking countries, the US and beyond."
Main Capital Partners, based in the Netherlands, invests in product software companies with proven business models and track records, high recurring revenues, distinct market positioning and long-term growth potential. As a leading software investor in the Benelux, the DACH region and the Nordic countries, Main Capital works closely with the management teams of its portfolio companies to realise sustainable growth and build excellent software groups. Main employs over 55 people and has offices in The Hague, Stockholm, Düsseldorf, and the US (Boston). As of October 2021, Main has over €2.2 billion in assets under management.
iqs was founded in 1995 and is based in Bühl, Germany. The iqs QMS product range includes a wide range of modules covering various aspects of quality control, including advanced product quality planning (APQP), feasibility studies, requirements management, initial sample inspection reports (ISIR), and complaints and audit management. The clear competitive advantage of iqs that customers appreciate is the seamless integration and data continuity across all modules offered. iqs serves a large and diversified customer base mainly in German-speaking countries and other European countries, e.g., Slovenia, France, Scandinavia. Reference customers include well-known brands such as Bosch, ZF, Continental, Hansgrohe and Stihl.
PLATO, headquartered in Lübeck, Germany, is considered a global leader in the market for engineering software in the field of risk and quality management. The company offers a multi-client cloud platform with functionalities such as FMEA, Inspection & Control Plan, Functional Safety, Monitoring and System Response (MSR) and document management. Companies using these solutions benefit from a sharp reduction in costs associated with recalls, resulting in significant savings in every case. In addition to its European customer base, PLATO has already established a strong presence in the US and will thus support and accelerate iqs' market entry in North America. The 400+ customers include MAHLE, Johnson Matthey, LINK, Lumileds and Porsche.