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Growth Equity Investors for Vertical SaaS Companies

By the York IE Investment Team and Luke Sophinos

When people think about exceptional SaaS businesses they often think about horizontal ones: Salesforce, Google, OpenAI, amongst many others. Horizontal SaaS provides a general software solution that is applicable to multiple industries. Naturally, targeting more industries means that the total addressable market is going to be extremely large.

The breadth of that potential customer base, however, can also be its downside as building a highly relevant product experience and a cost-effective go-to-market (GTM) can be difficult when casting too wide of a net.

Alternatively, vertical SaaS refers to cloud-based software solutions designed specifically to serve the needs of a particular industry or niche market. Vertical SaaS is tailored to address the unique requirements, workflows and challenges of specific sectors such as healthcare, finance, real estate or manufacturing, amongst others. Some great companies have been built only targeting one industry: Procore Technologies for construction, Toast for restaurants and Epic Systems for healthcare, for example.

By focusing on a particular vertical, these SaaS companies can provide relevant industry-specific features, compliance standards and integrations that are vital for users in that field. It can also create a much more targeted and cost-efficient GTM approach that is excellent for founders trying to build sustainable companies.

York IE is a proud vertical SaaS investor; many of our portfolio companies are disrupting the way that traditional industries are operated. For example, BlueTrace is building the operating system for the seafood supply chain, Vend Park is a one-stop shop for parking garage owners and operators, and 40grid is changing the way that pest management companies run their businesses.

While there has been an influx of angel and venture capital at the earliest stages of vertical software startups, as they grow in size, these companies are also attracting larger and later stage funds with deeper pockets.

In particular, growth equity is a private investment strategy sitting between venture capital and traditional private equity, focusing on companies with proven business models and rapid revenue growth. Growth equity investment differs from venture capital because VCs often invest in higher-burning, faster-growing companies, meaning more upside but more risk as well.

Growth equity firms, on the other hand, target companies with more established products and customer bases, usually experiencing over 20% yearly revenue growth, and invest based on more robust forecasts, clear business plans and reasonable paths to profitability. Investments are typically minority stakes (but can be majority, depending on the firm), using little to no debt, offering downside protection and a distinct risk-reward profile.

As the popularity and success of vertical SaaS companies continues to grow, so does the pool of investors. Often the landscape or lists of potential investors interested in companies targeting smaller addressable market companies is opaque, especially as they grow in size.

To navigate finding the right partner at the growth stage, York IE teamed up with Luke Sophinos, a leading voice on vertical SaaS at and the founder and CEO of one of the largest vertical SaaS businesses for trade schools in the U.S., CourseKey, to put together an extensive list of vertical SaaS investors for founders to turn to as they get to the growth stage.

Below you will find a list of vertical SaaS growth equity investors and examples of a few of their vertical software investment portfolio companies.

Investor Examples of Vertical SaaS Companies in Portfolio
a16z (Growth Fund) Flexport, Workrise, Navan
Accel – KKR Mavenlink, Highwire, Masabi
Achieve Partners  Elentra, Evertrue
Alpine  ASG, ThinkLP
Avenue Growth Partners Rosie, Minga, Scantify
B Capital  CurbWaste, Centerpiece
Bain Capital Ventures  Flux, Vention
Battery Ventures Kojo, CrunchTime
Blackstone Growth  Celonis, Medable, GeoComply
Boathouse Capital Pilgrim Quality Solutions, Network for Good
Brentwood Associates ClassWallet, Parchment
Bridge Growth Equity  Mindplay Education, Blueprint Prep
BV Investment Partners  Precision Nutrition, Consero, gWorks
Capital G Renaissance, Applied Systems
Catalyst Investors ChowNow, BreezeWay, Ekos
Coatue Management  Choco, Deliverect
Five Elms Capital  Crelate, FMX, Skedda
Francisco Partners  Accela, Aconex, Capsilon
Frontier Growth Property Meld, Petvisor, Quorum
FTV Capital  Vagaro, Actimize
Fulcrum Equity Partners DriverReach, Virtuous, LogFire
Gemspring Capital GoldenSource, Opexus
General Atlantic Goodvets, OneOncology, Isaac
Great Hill Partners  Enumerate, Second Nature, BigChange
Gridiron Capital  The Lattice Companies
Gryphon Investors  Meazure Learning, Ncontracts, Field Routes
Guidepost Growth Equity Shibumi, Clarity
H.I.G. Growth Partners myKaarma, Nexidia
Insight Venture Partners nCino, Duck Creek, TaxJar
JMI Equity  Bloomerang, Coursedog, PointClickCare
K1 Investment Management  Gravyty, Irwin, Dental Intelligence
Leeds Equity Partners  Anthology, ExLibris, RealPage
Level Equity  Aventri, Cheqroom, Firm360
LLR Partners  ParkHub, WizeHive
Long Ridge Equity Partners Provana, Ripjar
LSquared Capital Partners Lumaverse Technologies, Foundant Technologies
Luminate Capital Partners Axonify, MSI
M33 Growth Apogee, GoDocs, BeSmartee
Mainsail Partners LinenMaster, ProShop, Instinct Science
Marlin Equity Inkling Systems, LineLeader
New Harbor Capital  GL Education
Noro-Moseley Partners Hospice Link, Envera
Norwest  The Retail Equation, CareCloud
Pamlico Capital  Daxko, Isaac, T2 Systems
Peakspan Adium, EvaluAgent, Leasecake
Polaris Partners BlueRabbit, DealerSpike, B2Gnow
Prairie Capital Netalytics, Upshop
Primus Capital AOD Software, LiquidityBook, TaxWise
Providence Equity  OEC, Tenstreet
PSG Addigy, Beti, Backlight
Radian Capital Traxero, Aper
Resolve Growth Partners  Lytica, Cecilian, Repsly
RF Partners Bolt On, GrowthZone, Relay
Riverside Company Align, Baker Hill, Blueprint
Rubicon Technology Partners  Aline, EverTrue, Tacton
Sagemount  BuildingLink, Enprecis, Solo
Sageview Capital Avalara, DriveWyze, Envivio
Serent Capital  Buildertrend, Education Advanced, KORE Software
Silversmith Capital Partners Give Campus, Panalgo
Sixth Street Growth Passport, Kyriba, Logile
Softbank (Vision Fund)  ContractPodAI, Observe AI
Spectrum Equity Benchmark, DispatchTrack, ExamSoft
Spring Lake Equity Partners Noodle, Signifyhealth, Forefront Telecare
Stripes Group Lithic, Kareo, Remine
Sumeru Equity Partners 3G, Azuga, i2
Summit Partners DocuSketch, Redzone, MercuryGate
Susquehanna Growth Equity  29 West, Bestpass, Graduway
TA Associates Advantive, Confluence, thinkproject
Technology Crossover Ventures Built, Toast, IQMS
The Vistria Group Medalogix, OneCare, Edmentum
Tiger Global Management Squire, ServiceTitan
TPG Growth Toast, Transporeon, Zenoti
TVC Capital SpotHopper, SpringBig, GrowFlow
TZP Group Logix ITS, Finzly
Updata Partners Accuity Insights, Practifi
Vista Equity Partners Upserve, Vertafore, Agdata
Volition Capital  Chewy
Warburg Pincus Duetto, Lodgis
Waud Capital PracticeTek, PromptCare
Wavecrest Growth Partners Building Engines, Cardata, Rapidworks
WestCap Addepar, Flyr


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