Meet Alex Wirth and Jonathan Marks. Alex and Jonathan are the co-founders of Quorum, a software company that helps public affairs teams with their legislative tracking, grassroots advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. We sat down with Alex and Jonathan to learn more about their experience with Serent Capital.
“We bootstrapped the business to well over a hundred employees. We were getting more and more problems that Alex and I were having to solve on a day-to-day basis. And we couldn’t solve all the problems. That’s when we started to consider bringing on a partner to help us scale to the next level,” Jonathan recalls.
“The most significant thing that stood out to us about Serent was the incredible amount of resources they put into helping their portfolio companies grow. When it came to team members who were actually focused on the portfolio, Serent had probably three to four times what any other firm had. And that’s been one of the most incredible things about working with Serent is the amazing growth team.”
Partners With Industry Expertise
Finding a partner who understood the government technology market was critical for Quorum. “They really got to know our market and the ins and outs of the different players, where there might be M&A opportunities in the world we were operating in,” Alex recalls. “And they also brought that to the boardroom with a lot of really thoughtful questions focused on analytics and metrics and encouraged us all to really take our business operations to the next level.”
Jonathan and Alex found that partnering with Serent opened up new opportunities for Quorum. “One of the most amazing things about having an investment partner is then the banks turn to you and say, ‘oh, well, of course, we’d loan you a lot of money to go and purchase another business.’ And so it really allowed us to start looking at what we wanted to do from a M&A perspective, and start considering a whole additional world of options in that.”
“We recently completed the acquisition of CisionPAC, bringing together the leading PAC management software onto the Quorum offering. That ended up being a very significant piece of M&A for us.”
“We couldn’t have done it without Serent. Both from the financing perspective, but also more significantly from all of the due diligence, from the modeling, from the relationship with the lender, where there was so much expertise that we simply didn’t have. Serent was a really essential partner.”
Building An Elite Executive Team
Jonathan and Alex also partnered with Serent to bring in a series of new team members to Quorum to help accelerate their growth strategy.
“In our executive recruitment prior to the investment, basically it was Alex and me,” Jonathan recalls. “We had a couple of VPs, some of whom were exceptional, some of whom were newer to the space. And one of the things we were really looking for was taking some of the day-to-day operations off our backs. Serent helped us find an incredible executive team. We now have a C-suite of seven or eight executives who have incredible experience and background who have tremendously helped us in growing the business.”
Working with Serent enabled Quorum to tap into a vast talent network. “We partnered quite extensively with the human capital team and where it really starts is sourcing. They have an amazing ability to pull together incredible lists of candidates that could all be good prospects for the role. And they also run what are called Serent network searches, where they reach out to individuals in their network that are executives at other portfolio companies and directors, and say, ‘hey, we have a new portfolio company, we’re looking for an executive to do this role, do you know of anyone who might be good?’”
“Serent also helped us bring some rigor to the ways that we extended offers and did compensation and helped us build processes around that. We’ve walked away learning a lot more about hiring and getting even tighter on our executive hiring as a result of partnering with their talent and culture team. And our day to day lives are dramatically improved because of the team that Serent helped us build.”
Accelerating Growth Through M&A
In addition to improving their hiring processes, Quorum was able to add a significant key component to its business through M&A – and put itself in a strong position for future growth.
“We’re only four and a half months since our acquisition,” Alex notes. “So it’s probably a little too early, but it’s allowed us to acquire a key piece of technology that’s going to be really impactful to the future of our business and enable us to provide an integrated suite of software tools to our end customer. So we are very optimistic about the results to come. And we’re very happy with the team that has joined us and the customers that have come over as a result.”
Serent’s Growth Team proved to be a valuable strategic partner for Quorum, Alex adds. “I think one of the greatest things about having Serent as a partner has been having someone to immediately call who has been through it before, who has worked with a number of small businesses, and really being able to hear their perspective.”
“The folks at Serent are incredibly hard working and super dedicated to their jobs. I don’t know if there was a single day that went by where I reached out about something and didn’t get a near immediate response. And that advice has been invaluable on so many things as we’ve worked on building and growing our business.”
“I think the most exciting thing about our partnership with Serent is, we look back at the last year and a half since the investment happened and we’ve doubled in size from a revenue perspective. And if you had told me a year and a half ago that that would happen, I would’ve been like no way. And working with Serent has been a key to making that happen both through the M&A that we’ve done but also through our activities and efforts with the growth team. And it’s super exciting to be here a year and a half later, looking back at what a successful partnership we’ve had.”