Delafield’s Montage merges with Shaker International

Original investors in hiring software firm make their exit

Kurt Heikkinen
Kurt Heikkinen

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:22 pm

Delafield-based human resources technology firm Montage Talent Inc. has merged with Cleveland, Ohio-based Shaker International.

The transaction closed May 15 for an undisclosed price. Shaker investor The Riverside Co. purchased a majority stake in Montage, and the transaction represents an exit for Montage’s early investors. Since its 2007 inception, Montage had raised $24 million of investor funding, including an $8 million series D round in 2017.

“There is an exit for the original investors, but it’s a merger of business entities,” said Kurt Heikkinen, president and chief executive officer of Montage, in an interview. “This is really a marriage of equal parties.”

Montage founders Heikkinen, Andy Bonk, Mike Bonk and Patrick Foy developed hiring software that allows employers to more efficiently schedule and conduct interviews, driving down their costs and time per hire. The company was originally called Expressume, and rebranded in 2010.

More than 100 Fortune 500 companies have adopted Montage software, which allows the interviewer and interviewee to schedule interviews quickly, and record video questions or responses on-demand. Over the years, Montage has grown to 100 employees and recently expanded its offices in Delafield, where it has remained because of its ability to attract tech talent from both Milwaukee and Madison.

Shaker International provides predictive talent intelligence and assessment solutions that help companies gain high quality applicants, reduce turnover, recruit more efficiently and improve the hiring experience. Its Virtual Job Tryouts use artificial intelligence to test skills and predict a candidate’s performance in a particular role. The company has 75 employees.

Shaker and Montage will maintain dual headquarters in Delafield and Cleveland, and will retain all employees and offices in the integration. Heikkinen will serve as chief executive officer of the combined company. Brian Stern, who was CEO of Shaker, will serve as president of the combined firm.

“We will continue in market under our two separate brands, as Shaker and Montage, for the foreseeable future, as we reconsider and reevaluate a new brand, which we will likely launch before the end of the year,” Heikkinen said.

The companies have complementary capabilities and very little redundancy, Heikkinen said. But they do have some shared large enterprise clients for which they can now offer expanded services.

“If you look at the combined client base, the organizations such as Amazon, Walmart, Procter & Gamble, Comcast, Allstate Insurance, Humana, these are joint clients of ours,” he said. “The combination of the two of us makes us even stronger.”

Montage and Shaker declined to disclose revenue figures, but said each has been growing at 30% to 40% annually. The combined firm is expected to continue expanding at 35% year-over-year, he said.

“This really is about private equity bringing the organizations together that are already independently financially strong and providing a mechanism for that growth,” Heikkinen said. “If you think about the opportunity ahead of us, we’re both in a general category where in recruiting, (U.S.) organizations spend $250 billion a year on recruiting, over $2 billion a year on technology and services to best determine fit for hire, and through the combination of the two of us, it’s about reimagining a better candidate experience, velocity in hiring and smarter hiring decisions.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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