Portfolio Company in the Spotlight: HYPE Innovation

Main Capital Partners

For this ‘Company in the Spotlight’ Sven van Berge Henegouwen, Partner at Main and co-head of the Düsseldorf office, talks to Dr. Frank Henningsen. Frank is the CEO of the HYPE Group, a leading global provider of cloud-based innovation software solutions. 

How did your solutions support customers in the COVID-19 pandemic?
As a web-based platform, our HYPE solutions are generally accessible from any location. This is of course particularly useful in current times when many of us need to work remotely. We also saw that the number of ideas on our platforms has increased quite substantially during the last year. That shows me that online collaboration works well, also out of the home office.
To give you but one example: Our client Linklaters, a UK-based law firm, is a pioneer of their industry in terms of strategic innovation management. With HYPE’s innovation platform (they call it “Ideas Pathway” at Linklaters), they were more resilient to the effects of the pandemic and kept developing long-term benefits that went far beyond the lockdown. There are several reports on the web about their program if you would like to know a few more details.
As many companies are currently struggling with the financial burden of the pandemic, creating further efficiency by leveraging the best employee ideas has become more important than ever.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic had any influence on your add-on acquisition plans?
No, not really. In December, HLP Informationsmanagement GmbH has joined the HYPE Group. HLP is one of the leading idea management & continuous improvement software providers in Germany (next to HYPE). They have an incredible know-how in this field. This acquisition will strengthen our market position a lot. We strongly believe that this will benefit our clients, too.

Most meetings, the negotiations and even the signing at the notary were done online. The experience of the Main team helped a lot to make this process run smoothly. The integration of a strategic add-on during the current times will be challenging. But I am happy to have an experienced partner in Main Capital to support us along the way (see also the article by Christiaan in the previous newsletter).

Overall, I am proud to say that our team has had a successful 2020 despite the circumstances. We achieved a strong organic & profitable growth in recurring revenues of ca. 13% including HLP and have even higher aspirations for the next year.

How do you look at the future? Do you have a product vision for 2021?
Obviously, we hope that the COVID-19 situation will come under control as soon as possible. We do believe that the pandemic has shown that companies rely on good communication tools to continue operating properly under the new circumstances and to collaborate independent of physical meetings. Therefore, we are actively looking to build out our collaboration tools which would complement our existing innovation portfolio. We are also looking at a range of potential partners in this area and we would be open to pursue another smart add-on acquisition in this space as well.

Next to social collaboration, we are also exploring a few other opportunities on our roadmap to further extend our product platform. For instance, we see trend, tech & start-up scouting as a great addition to our product. This will help our customers to get a better feeling for the competitive landscape and potential partners. Since many of our clients are international companies with presences around the globe, keeping track of all the partnership opportunities and existing partner relationships can be a daunting & inefficient task without a modern, scalable software solution. Here we are going to help.

Lastly, we are also looking to extend our potential customer base by providing a more “light weight” version of our highly comprehensive innovation suite. This way, we would be able to better serve smaller customers that might not need a highly sophisticated solution. Because we see ourselves as a “Mittelstand” company as well, this would be sort of a “back to the roots” project for us. Overall, we have identified several really exciting ways to build out our product in 2021, and – without disclosing too much yet – we have already started.


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