Rev Up: New investment could accelerate MSI Data’s growth

Harvey Shovers
Harvey Shovers Photo by Lila Aryan

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Leadership: Harvey Shovers, chief executive officer, president and founder
Headquarters: 500 W. Brown Deer Road, Bayside
What it Does: Field service management software
Founded: 2010
Employees: 70
Next goal: To be one of the leading companies in the field service automation market
Funding: MSI Data recently received a significant undisclosed investment from San Francisco-based private equity firm Luminate Capital Partners.

MSI Data is nine years old, but it wasn’t until about four years ago that the Bayside-based field service management software company began to see substantial growth.

The company spent its first few years in R&D mode as it worked to build out a cloud-based, mobile-enabled field service management solution. In 2015, five years after it was founded, MSI Data brought its product, the Service Pro platform, to market.

“That’s really when the growth started,” said Harvey Shovers, chief executive officer, president and founder of MSI Data. “The past four-year period is where we’ve rapidly grown the company, with very large, big double-digit growth in each of those years. We did it by signing new customers and building partnerships with some of the leading ERP software companies in the world.”

The company serves commercial, industrial and residential field service organizations, primarily in the equipment distribution and service contractor industries. MSI’s platform allows customers to schedule and dispatch technicians, manage maintenance contracts, track warranty information, manage inventory and complete work orders in the field.

“Our focus is on really any size organization, I would say from one that has a minimum of 10 people in the field and up, that are out there servicing, inspecting or installing some kind of solution,” Shovers said. “It’s used to automate field operations.”

GCI, a private equity firm funded by Lands’ End founder Gary Comer’s family, was MSI Data’s initial investor when it was first building out its platform.

“It’s a big investment to fund a pure software company,” Shovers said. “Back then, and now even, it’s very difficult for companies, especially in Wisconsin, to get reasonable funding to do a software startup. Banks aren’t going to give you a loan to do that.”

GCI has since exited the investment in MSI Data.

In September, San Francisco-based private equity firm Luminate Capital Partners bought a significant majority stake in MSI Data with an undisclosed investment that will allow the company to scale more quickly and grow its employment, Shovers said. He expects the company, which currently has about 70 employees, will grow to nearly 100 employees by the end of 2020.

The investment also paves the way for MSI Data to potentially acquire other companies that would run on its platform, he said.

“It gives us an incredible amount of funding to use our platform to allow them as a private equity, but also us as a company, to greatly expand in this market at a rapid pace,” Shovers said. “We’ve been growing very fast but we can grow faster … It’s really unlimited in terms of what we can do from a hiring and acquisition standpoint.”

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