KKR backs German IT specialist

The firm is providing growth equity to arago to support its global expansion

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has acquired a minority stake in arago, a German-based specialist in IT automation managed by its founders, Chris Boos and Dr. Berhard Walther, the firm said in a statement.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but a source with knowledge of the deal indicated that the firm is investing between $50 million and $60 million.

KKR declined to comment on the deal beyond the statement.

The firm said its investment in arago is part of its newly-established growth equity effort, which focuses on selective investments in “fast-growing, tech-enabled companies selling highly differentiated products with global market potential”.

“KKR’s growth equity initiative is highly tailored towards the needs of entrepreneurs,” said Philipp Freise, head of the European media and digital investment team at KKR. “Investing into companies like arago also gives us a unique perspective when we look at larger investments across different sectors.”

arago’s key product is AutoPilot, a knowledge-based automation platform that the company has been developing over the past eight years. The platform uses a combination of technologies and algorithms to enable companies to automate their IT stack. CEO and co-founder Boos called the technology “proven and highly scalable” and said KKR’s backing would help to support the company’s global roll-out through capital, operational resources and access to its global network.

“This investment fits into our strategy of supporting European B2B companies in their global growth ambitions through access to KKR’s global network of companies and domain experts,” said Lucian Schönefelder, KKR director of the European media and digital investment team.

KKR has invested more than $9 billion of equity in more than 20 technology companies since 1999, according to the firm. KKR also has a portfolio of more than 90 companies that together spend almost $10 billion annually on IT.

According to the source, KKR’s investments in growth equity deals typically involve between $10 million and $90 million of equity. In another growth equity deal in September KKR led a $35 million investment in Ping Identity, an identity security company. Thus far the company has raised a total of $110 million.