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Secure Edge OS Blockbuster: TA Associates Buys IGEL, Adds Software Superstar Bill Veghte

“This deal defines IGEL as a category creator and disruptor in the edge OS market,” said IGEL CEO Jed Ayres. “We couldn’t be more excited that TA has singled out IGEL as the de facto secure edge OS standard on any cloud and any device, uniting Microsoft, AWS, VMware and Citrix across both x86 and ARM.”

TA Associates – the highly respected growth-oriented, private equity software investor – has acquired secure edge OS powerhouse IGEL and added former Microsoft software superstar Bill Veghte as executive chairman in a bid to accelerate IGEL’s drive to become a software unicorn.

Veghte, who has spent decades overseeing software development teams including playing a key role in operating system releases from Windows 95 to Windows 7.0, will also become an investor in the company.

IGEL CEO Jed Ayres (pictured) – who has set an ambitious goal for the company to break the $1 billion sales barrier in the next five years – said the TA Associates deal is providing the financial and management muscle for IGEL to take its rightful place as the secure edge OS standard.

[RELATED: IGEL Gets Serious With New Velocity Partner Program]

“This deal defines IGEL as a category creator and disruptor in the edge OS market,” said Ayres, who has transformed IGEL from a thin client hardware maker into an Edge OS software titan since joining the company nearly five years ago. “We couldn’t be more excited that TA has singled out IGEL as the de facto secure edge OS standard on any cloud and any device, uniting Microsoft, AWS, VMware and Citrix across both x86 and ARM. This is a recognition of IGEL’s preeminent position in the enterprise software stack, providing incredibly hardened security, high performance, speed and manageability in a highly distributed edge and cloud world.“

The deal highlights the great opportunity ahead for IGEL in a market that is accelerating at a breakneck pace in the wake of the pandemic which has created a global work at home culture that is demanding a secure edge OS. “The world is coming to our door because of COVID 19,” said Ayres, who notified partners, customers and employees of the change in a YouTube video address. “The pandemic has proven that the IGEL software is extraordinary relevant and super strategic as people try to figure out how they secure, manage and deliver a high-quality workspace from all of the cloud services to the edge. With the pandemic, IGEL has become a strategic software provider in the world’s largest hospitals, retailers, banks, and financial services companies.”

The TA investment was led by Jonathan W. Meeks (pictured at bottom in Zoom photo), a managing partner in TA’s Menlo Park Office, whose internet and software investment deals include security software maker AVG Technologies, collaboration software maker Confluence, and backup and recovery software maker StorageCraft among others.

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Meeks himself has been involved in building eight companies that have broken the $1 billion valuation mark. TA Associates, meanwhile, which was started 53 years ago, has raised over $30 billion for its private equity funds.

Ayres said he is thrilled to be working with Meeks and Veghte (pictured at left in Zoom photo) to dramatically scale the business. “We’re very lucky to be working with two legendary Silicon Valley software executives to drive more value for our customers and partners and grow the business,” he said. “They know how to transform companies and are going to help us accelerate the move to our recurring-revenue, subscription software model. They are going to open a lot of doors for IGEL.”

Veghte said he was attracted to IGEL because of the company’s ability to deliver the right edge OS experience with proven security, manageability and the flexibility to run natively either in the cloud or on premise, with Azure WVD, AWS, Citrix or VMware. “That is an incredibly diverse ecosystem,” said Veghte. “Because of the journey IGEL has been on since the late nineties they have built up that compatibility, capability and integration.”

Whenever there is a new release from its software partners, IGEL is in step with them, ensuring customers and partners they are getting the latest functionality, right edge OS with the security, manageability, flexibility and speed they need to be successful, said Veghte.

“As somebody who has been around the industry for decades, I knew this was something that customers need and want,” he said. “That’s what attracted me. I’m participating as executive chair, investor and as a technologist that loves building and scaling platforms to help customers. That’s what I love to do. What I see with IGEL is a need in the market, a technology team that is capable of meeting that need, and a leader in Jed that has the passion, the conviction and the courage to build the partner ecosystem and the go to market motion to deliver that value to the customers.”

Among the “due diligence” scenarios that convinced Veghte to make the IGEL investment was a Canadian bank that used the IGEL OS to move 10,000 employees quickly to a work at home model in the midst of a pandemic. “They were desperate to make sure they had a high fidelity experience over Citrix with Microsoft Teams for their call center employees,” he said. “Because of IGEL they were able to deliver the latest Citrix experience with the latest Microsoft Teams. Both those companies were innovating fast and IGEL supported it.”

Another compelling IGEL win in the midst of the pandemic, said Veghte, was with a US healthcare system struggling to get VMware Horizon and identity management software provider Imprivata to work on a new set of thin clients for nursing clinicians. “They were struggling with compatibility and quality before they reimaged their 40,000 devices with IGEL OS; and up to now they have had no escalation of issues since they made the move.”

The executive chair role goes hand in hand, Veghte said, with his work as the founder and managing partner of Athene Partners, which is dedicated to teaming with CEOs at “times of industry and company transformation.”

Ultimately, Veghte said, he sees IGEL fulfilling a “huge customer need that represents tens and tens of millions of devices and tens and tens of millions of edge users that need a simple, secure, manageable experience that is cost effective, while enjoying the richness of experience that Citrix, Microsoft, VMware and AWS are delivering on premise and in the cloud. I believe IGEL has the team, the technology and the partnership to uniquely fulfill that opportunity for customers.”

Mike Strohl, the CEO of Entisys360, No. 138 on the 2020 CRN SP500 and one of IGEL’s top partners, said he expects the TA Associates acquisition to have an “exponential” impact on the channel’s ability to drive IGEL sales growth.

“To put this kind of muscle behind the company puts IGEL on that $1 billion sales trajectory and beyond,” said Strohl. “I am sure TA and Bill Veghte see that billion dollar potential. IGEL’s business model has matured in a way that is forward looking – not backward anchored. This deal once and for all establishes IGEL’s credibility as an enterprise software player.”

Entisys360 has doubled its IGEL sales over the last several years and has built a growing multimillion dollar business around IGEL as a “strategic business” partner because of its software transformation as a secure edge OS provider. With the TA Associates investment, Strohl said he sees Entisys360’s IGEL practice growing into a “tens of millions of dollars” business for his company.

“IGEL’s software is enabling secure work from anywhere and right now it is secure work from home, secure school from home and secure access to data from home,” Strohl said. “IGEL is not just a software company. They are a security software company that belongs in the security quadrant especially with all the work from home initiatives and the fact that many organizations don’t know where their data is or how to protect it. Security has bubbled to the top of everything. It is our hottest practice by far.”

Strohl sees TA Associates and Veghte upping IGEL’s software game. “Bringing in TA and Veghte changes everything,” he said. “This is the time to strike for IGEL. Bill Veghte is a visionary force in this industry that will take this message and make it bigger and increase the size of the audience with access to strategic partnerships that will allow IGEL to go further, bigger and faster.”

Strohl credits Ayres for transforming IGEL into a software company that has hit the zeitgeist – setting the pace for a market whose time has come. “Jed has always been a visionary and an idea guy and a very smart businessman,” he said. “Seeing how he has really taken that company to the next level and the next level beyond that is a testament to who he is. It’s great to see the success he has had at IGEL. It is very well deserved. I’m happy for Jed and the IGEL team and look forward to the great things ahead.”

For Ayres personally the TA investment is a “life affirming moment” that harkens back to his decision to join IGEL five years ago with an aim to transform it from a little known German thin-client hardware provider into a software powerhouse. “What I saw when I was considering joining IGEL was a hugely valuable piece of software that was trapped inside of a thin client,” he said. “What we did was unleash that software potential. Now with TA Associates we can accelerate our journey to become a $1 billion valuation company. The goal is to sell millions and millions of software licenses and make IGEL the secure edge OS standard, protecting you anywhere, anytime and anyplace.”

Ayres was hand-picked five years ago by Heiko Gloge, IGEL’s Founder. Both Gloge and Melchers, the former majority shareholder, have fully embraced what they are calling a “transformative investment,” while retaining a significant stake.

The TA Associates acquisition is made even more emotional by the trials and tribulations of the IGEL team in the wake of the pandemic, said Ayres. He said the company was able to overcome the challenges of the pandemic by relying on its twin-tower credo of “Believe,” and “Servant Heart.”

“Believe” is knowing we can do anything we set our mind to, and “Servant Heart” is about serving each other, our partners and our customers,” he said. “Those two concepts have bolstered IGEL through what has been an unbelievably emotional year. What excites me about TA is we share the same values around optimism and the market opportunity that sits in front of us.”

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