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Savant Growth Launches New Private Equity Fund for Bootstrapped, Applied AI SaaS Businesses

New PE Firm Brings Active Partnership, Technology, and 30 Years’ Experience Helping Founder-Led SaaS Businesses Scale

The Wall Street Journal
By Laura Cooper

SAN FRANCISCO—February 17, 2021—

Savant Growth—a spinout of European growth investor Kennet Partners—has collected about $500 million for its first stand-alone fund to invest in U.S. technology companies.

Savant Growth Fund I LP aims to invest in founder-owned software-as-a-service and technology-enabled businesses. In addition, the firm is using its own proprietary programs to help vet possible investments and help portfolio companies grow through the use of predictive analytics and applied artificial intelligence.

The San Mateo, Calif., firm is headed by two former Kennet managing directors: Javier Rojas and Eric Filipek. Savant’s first fund is already home to nine portfolio companies, six of which the co-founders had backed while at Kennet and bought out to add to Savant’s holdings.

Savant is likely to invest in four more portfolio companies, according to the executives, noting that close to 50% of the fund is invested with the other half available for secondary and follow-on investments as well as new deals.

The two founders previously started a U.S.-focused investing platform at Kennet, a European investor with limited partners mainly from Europe. To increase its allocation, they decided to start a dedicated U.S.-focused fund about 18 months ago, Mr. Rojas said. SixPoint Partners in New York helped place Savant’s new fund.

Three of Savant’s investments are still held by their former firm’s Kennet V fund, he said, referring to the vehicle that collected roughly $250 million in commitments by the time it closed last summer. Mr. Rojas said that Savant and Kennet still have a strong partnership and it is anticipated that all U.S.-focused Kennet V deals will be led by Savant.

Savant makes investments in companies with annual recurring revenue of $5 million to $15 million, he said, writing checks of around $10 million to $25 million. Mr. Filipek said that the firm does minority and control deals, and can provide secondary capital—sometimes through its partnership—as needed.

Savant’s software uses predictive analytics and data to help identify teams with successful track records that could be a fit for its portfolio, according to Mr. Filipek. Portfolio companies are also able to use the technology to evaluate prospective add-on acquisitions.

The firm’s software uses natural-language processing and machine learning to help analyze and build management teams, scale data operations and generate new business opportunities, according to Savant.

Write to Laura Cooper at [email protected]

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