Exit: Gimv sells stake in sustainability software thinkstep

31. July 2019

Munich/Stuttgart — Toge­ther with all other share­hol­ders, Gimv is selling its shares in the Stut­t­­gart-based soft­ware company thinkstep AG ( The buyer is the US soft­ware service provi­der Sphera Solu­ti­ons. Thanks to the sustained support of all share­hol­ders, thinkstep has recor­ded a very posi­tive deve­lo­p­ment and was able to successfully convert the busi­ness model to a soft­­ware-as-a-service (SaaS) solution.

The globally active company, head­quar­te­red in Lein­­fel­­den-Echter­­din­­gen near Stutt­gart, was foun­ded in 1991 and offers soft­ware and consul­ting services that help compa­nies manage sustaina­bi­lity and reduce their envi­ron­men­tal foot­print. Over the last few years, thinkstep has been able to steadily expand its impres­sive custo­mer base and today serves over 2,000 custo­mers from 20 indus­tries, inclu­ding in parti­cu­lar a large number of leading “Fortune 500” compa­nies from Germany and around the world.

thinkstep AG opera­tes in three busi­ness units: In the Corpo­rate Sustaina­bi­lity divi­sion, sustaina­bi­lity proces­ses are intro­du­ced and imple­men­ted. These include, for exam­ple, Group-wide energy manage­ment, corpo­rate social respon­si­bi­lity manage­ment and active resource opti­miza­tion. In the area of product sustaina­bi­lity, envi­ron­men­tal aspects are alre­ady taken into account in the deve­lo­p­ment phase and thus inte­gra­ted into subse­quent product manage­ment and manu­fac­tu­ring proces­ses. With the help of thinkstep’s product compli­ance solu­tion, compli­ance and repu­ta­tion risks can be iden­ti­fied and redu­ced at an early stage.

Gimv joined thinkstep in 2010 with a mino­rity stake toge­ther with Next47 with the aim of support­ing the company with capi­tal, know-how and network in its global expan­sion, opera­tio­nal streng­thening and simul­ta­neous trans­for­ma­tion from a licen­sing to a SaaS model. In the course of this, Gimv and Next47 gradu­ally increased their joint commit­ment, while at the same time some of the foun­ders remained on board with mino­rity stakes. In this way, thinkstep has grown into a leading global soft­ware provi­der in the field of Enter­prise Sustaina­bi­lity and Compli­ance Solu­ti­ons. With the sale and the plan­ned subse­quent inte­gra­tion into Sphera, the next step in the successful deve­lo­p­ment of the company is now being taken.

Dr. Sven Oleow­nik (photo), Part­ner and Head of Germany at Gimv, says: “thinkstep has under­gone a remar­kable trans­for­ma­tion in recent years and funda­men­tally reshaped its busi­ness model. Buil­ding on a very loyal custo­mer base, it has simul­ta­neously been able to further advance its global opera­ti­ons and tech­no­lo­gi­cal base. With inves­tors and consu­mers placing incre­asing importance on compa­nies opera­ting ethi­cally and envi­ron­men­tally consciously, the market for sustaina­bi­lity solu­ti­ons is highly attrac­tive and growing stron­gly. thinkstep is ideally posi­tio­ned for the future to further expand its market leader­ship now under a new flag.”

Lisa Henge­rer, Asso­ciate at Gimv in Munich and respon­si­ble for the Smart Indus­tries plat­form, adds: “thinkstep is another success story within our Smart Indus­tries soft­ware divi­sion. The sale to Sphera Solu­ti­ons is once again an excel­lent exam­ple of our ambi­tion to accom­pany our port­fo­lio compa­nies in their stra­te­gic deve­lo­p­ment and growth to become attrac­tive for an inter­na­tio­nally renow­ned indus­trial company like Sphera.”

The tran­sac­tion has no mate­rial impact on the net asset value of Gimv as of March 31, 2019. The tran­sac­tion is subject to custo­mary condi­ti­ons, inclu­ding appr­oval by the compe­ti­tion autho­ri­ties. Further finan­cial details will not be disclosed.

About Gimv
Gimv is a Euro­pean invest­ment company with almost 40 years of expe­ri­ence in private equity. The company is listed on Euron­ext Brussels, curr­ently mana­ges around EUR 1.1 billion and curr­ently invests in 55 port­fo­lio compa­nies, which toge­ther realize a turno­ver of more than EUR 2.75 billion and employ 14,000 people.

Gimv iden­ti­fies inno­va­tive, leading compa­nies with high growth poten­tial and supports them on their way to market leader­ship. Each of the four invest­ment plat­forms Connec­ted Consu­mer, Health & Care, Smart Indus­tries and Sustainable Cities is mana­ged by a dedi­ca­ted and compe­tent team, each based in Gimv’s home markets — Bene­lux, France and DACH — and supported by an exten­sive inter­na­tio­nal network of experts.

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