Building on the foundations laid out in the last few years, TrustBuilder is accelerating product development, bringing it towards being a full cloud, Software-as-a-Service solution. The recent investment in the company provides the financial means to get new versions to the market faster. We interviewed TrustBuilder CEO Frank Hamerlinck about what joining inWebo Group means for our products and our customers. The inWebo Group considers it its mission to constitute the first 100% SaaS Pan-European buy & build platform in cybersecurity software.
In our previous newsletter interview, you already hinted at extra funding to realize the ambitious plans that you laid out. Now that TrustBuilder has become part of the inWebo group, the company has gained considerable financial backing. Can you walk us through what happened?
Frank: In short, 100% of the TrustBuilder shares have been bought by inWebo Group, with the financial backing of Essling Expansion. The inWebo group is now built around two flagship companies: inWebo Technologies (based out of Paris), strong in Multi-Factor Authentication and TrustBuilder (based out of Ghent), strong in Identity and Access Management (IAM). The group is currently active throughout the whole of Europe. The technologies of both companies are very complementary and together they offer an end-to-end solution with a strong focus on the local (European) needs.
Strong financial backing for TrustBuilder
Being able to turn to a private equity investor like Essling seems quite important. Who is Essling?
Frank: Essling Capital is a Paris-based, independent investment fund with €1.2 billion of non-listed assets under management. Its activities cover a wide range of non-listed asset classes, such as Minority Co-Investment, Fund of Funds, Buyout and Expansion Capital. Essling Capital invests in different industries, including software (Ubitransport, Evolucare), financial services (SPVIE Assurances, Hamburg Commercial Bank, GetBack) automotive and retail. Essling Expansion is the growth Equity fund of Essling Capital, and had already invested last year in inWebo Group, together with two other renowned French minority investors, Bpifrance and Entrepreneur Invest.
What is the goal of these investments?
Frank: The long-term strategy of inWebo Group is the same as the TrustBuilder strategy, and one of the main reasons for the transaction: to build a strong European Cybersecurity company providing end-to-end CIAM solutions, by means of organic growth and a Buy and Build strategy.
Multiple advantages for TrustBuilder customers
What does the investment mean for TrustBuilder customers?
Frank: There are multiple advantages for our customers. The funding provides us with financial stability. At the same time, it allows us to grow from a product perspective and intensify our commercial efforts. Very important to our customers: the TrustBuilder solution forms the backbone of the group’s strategy. Thanks to the buy and build strategy, we will also have access to more solutions that are beneficial to our customers.
Can you expand on what you mean by ‘buy and build’?
Frank: As the term suggests, in a buy and build concept, the growth of the overall group is a combination of organic and inorganic growth involving new acquisitions, to further complete the platform of a company. Usually, a buy and build strategy has a strong focus on a niche market, built on significant experience, and is enabled by the presence of good management teams that can transition their company into a platform.
TrustBuilder product development in 2022
Of course, the purpose of the investment in TrustBuilder is also to accelerate the growth of the company through financial support and economies of scale by providing more commercial bandwidth and continued investment in the current team in Belgium. The investment provides extra financial means to accelerate the development of our product line. As an example, we will be able to bring version 11 of TrustBuilder faster to the market. Last year, we already launched TrustBuilder.io and our Service Catalog as cloud components. We intend to continue that push towards becoming a full SaaS solution.
inWebo Technologies has an indirect sales model, will that change TrustBuilder’s go to market strategy?
Frank: It has always been our strategy to build a solid partner network. This evolution will be accelerated and TrustBuilder will continue to invest in its partner network. Just take a look at our Partner page, and you will notice that we already work together with a host of partners, who either bring extra functionality, or help us commercialize and implement our solutions.
Achieving inWebo Group’s strategic plans
Since you joined TrustBuilder just over two years ago, you have been working hard to turn TrustBuilder into a solid company, both financially and product-wise. Now that TrustBuilder has become part of inWebo group, does this mean you can now sit back and relax?
Frank: Ha ha, you wish. Quite the opposite, I think. I remain the CEO of TrustBuilder, so no change there. Actually, we plan to hire a bunch of new people in TrustBuilder. Integrating and coaching them will take quite a bit of my time. But I find that very energizing. Now that I have become a member of inWebo Group’s executive team, I have also been asked to play a key role in achieving inWebo Group’s strategic plans. Sitting back and relaxing is definitely not on my agenda for 2022.