Back To Media

Francisco Partners Buys SmartBear Software

Press Releases — May 03, 2017



Deal Facts

North America


SmartBear Software, the leader in software quality tools for teams, announced today that Francisco Partners, a leading global technology-focused private equity firm, has acquired a majority stake in the company designed to support the company’s accelerated growth. Terms of the transaction were not announced.

SmartBear is highly profitable and has been growing at double digit rates for more than five years. The investment by Francisco Partners will help support the company’s growth which has been fueled by the demand for solutions to manage the application lifecycle and the rapidly expanding API economy. Francisco Partners has a strong track record of successfully accelerating growth in technology companies by providing M&A expertise, market guidance and capital.

With software permeating all sectors of the economy, the need for easy-to-use tools to help developers build and test new applications continues to grow. The interconnectedness of these applications through APIs is also forcing businesses of all kinds to re-think how they interact with and best serve their customers. In addition, the ever expanding combinations of applications and devices are making software quality even more complex.

SmartBear is integral in helping software developers and testers create the highest quality software applications with products, including TestComplete, QAComplete, Collaborator,AlertSite and CrossBrowserTesting. SmartBear’s portfolio of products also includes some of the largest open source and commercial products for API design and testing, includingSoapUI and Swagger. There is a new trial of a SmartBear product every four seconds.

The acquisition by Francisco Partners marks a transition in lead investors from SmartBear’s original 2007 investor, Insight Venture Partners. During Insight’s period of investment, the company grew from a single product company for U/I testing into an industry leader in software quality tools for teams with multiple product lines and over 20,000 customers.

“We are thrilled to partner with Francisco Partners,” said Justin Teague, CEO of SmartBear. “Their track record for growing companies is unmatched, and they are the right fit for the next phase of SmartBear’s expansion.”

“SmartBear has built a robust product portfolio addressing the critical software test management and automation needs of development organizations,” said Brian Decker, Principal at Francisco Partners. “The company has an especially impressive leadership position in the rapidly growing API lifecycle management space with its flagship open source products, SoapUI and Swagger. We are excited to partner with Justin and the SmartBear management team as they continue to drive tremendous growth in the business.”

“We are excited to be working with SmartBear as the company embarks on its next stage of growth,” said David Golob, Partner and Chief Investment Officer at Francisco Partners. “The company stands at the intersection of two powerful trends in the software industry: the advent of the ‘API economy’ and the movement toward grassroots team-based and individual purchases of software in enterprises.”

SmartBear Software was advised by Evercore and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Francisco Partners was advised by Paul Hastings LLP.

About Insight Venture Partners
Insight Venture Partners is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth software, SaaS, mobile and internet-enabled companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. Founded in 1995, Insight has raised more than $13 billion and invested in more than 250 companies worldwide. Our mission is to find, fund and work successfully with visionary executives providing them with practical, hands-on growth and acquisition expertise, to foster long-term success. For more information on Insight and all of its investments, visit or follow us on Twitter: @Insightpartners

About Francisco Partners
Francisco Partners is a leading global private equity firm, which specializes in investments in technology businesses. Since its launch over 17 years ago, Francisco Partners has raised over $10 billion in capital and invested in nearly 200 technology companies, making it one of the most active and longstanding investors in the technology industry. The firm invests in opportunities where its deep knowledge and operational expertise can help companies realize their full potential.

About SmartBear Software
Supporting more than five million software professionals and over 20,000 companies in 194 countries, SmartBear is the leader in software quality tools for teams. The company’s products help deliver the highest quality and best performing software possible while helping teams ship code at nearly impossible velocities. With products for API testing, UI testing, code review and performance monitoring across mobile, web and desktop applications, SmartBear equips every development, testing and operations team member with the tools to ensure quality at every stage of the software cycle. For more information, visit, or for the SmartBear community, go to: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn orGoogle+