Focus Group becomes a unicorn with new investment from Hg

Focus house Shoreham by Sea

Brighton & Hove, UK. 15th April 2024: Focus Group, one of the UK’s leading providers of essential business technology to SMEs, today announces that it has secured a significant investment from Hg, a leading investor in European and transatlantic software and services businesses. The transaction makes Focus Group the latest addition to the ranks of Britain's private company unicorns, a reference to its new $1bn valuation, and the partnership will support Focus Group's continued growth in the UK.

Founded in 2003 by Ralph Gilbert and Chris Goodman in Brighton & Hove, UK, Focus Group provides digital workplace solutions to around 30,000 SME customers. The company offers a single point of contact for the information technology needs of these clients, providing communications and software solutions, connectivity and value-added IT services.

Chris Goodman, co-founder of Focus Group, said: “Having enjoyed four fantastic years with our previous investor Bowmark, we are thrilled to now be partnering with Hg. Not only do they recognise the commercial opportunity that lies ahead and the capability of the team, but they also understand that it is the culture that we’ve built at Focus Group over the past 20 years that is the foundation of our success. This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for the business and our incredible team."

Ralph Gilbert, co-founder of Focus Group, said: "Hg have demonstrated their ability to create value using their extensive experience in backing companies who sell business services to SMEs. They show a deep understanding of how to maximise and accelerate growth using data and AI; this has resonated with us as we already have sector leading data on which we are excited to capitalise. Alongside this we found that we have well-aligned views of the future of the ICT industry, both in terms of product and future M&A opportunities. We are very excited as to what the future holds in partnership with Hg."

Hg's investment will support Focus Group's organic growth plan, M&A ambitions and product development initiatives, enhancing its ability to deliver innovative solutions for the UK SME sector. Hg has made more than a dozen investments in SME Tech Services over two decades and this depth of expertise will support a valuable partnership for future growth.

Nick Jordan and Joris Van Gool, Partners at Hg, said: "The long-term trends in small business technology adoption offers Focus Group a great opportunity to continue its impressive growth trajectory by offering a one-stop-shop for ICT for UK SMEs. In partnering with the Focus Group leadership and close to 1,000 exceptional colleagues we are excited about the opportunity to build a national champion in this industry.”

Conor Stewart, Principal at Hg, added: "We are delighted to partner with Chris, Ralph and the rest of the Focus Group management for the next stage of Focus’s journey – we’ve been impressed by the teams’ vision, commitment and ambition for future growth.”

Focus Group and Bowmark were advised by Houlihan Lokey, Osborne Clarke and PwC. Hg was advised by Arma Partners, Linklaters and EY

Terms of the transaction are not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

For further information, please contact:

Focus Group:
Sonia Older

Tom Eckersley

About Focus Group

Focus Group, established in 2003, is proud to be one of the UK’s leading providers of essential business technology. With its vision of connecting communities and creating opportunities in a place that people love to work, Focus Group deliver innovative technology solutions, so its customers are free to focus all their energy on the important stuff. Like growing their business.

With a team of nearly 1000 experts who are passionate about what they do, Focus Group provide nearly 30,000 businesses with an extensive range of the latest technology solutions across Telecoms, IT, Cyber, Connectivity and Mobile.

About Hg

Hg supports the building of sector-leading enterprises that supply businesses with critical software applications or workflow services, delivering a more automated workplace for their customers. This industry is characterised by digitisation trends that are in early stages of adoption and are set to transform the workplace for professionals over decades to come.

Hg’s support combines deep end-market knowledge with world-class operational resources, together providing compelling support to entrepreneurial leaders looking to scale their business – businesses that are well invested, enduring and serve their customers well.

With a vast European network and strong presence across North America, Hg’s 400 employees and $65 billion in funds under management support a portfolio of more than 50 businesses, worth over $140 billion aggregate enterprise value, with around 110,000 employees, consistently growing revenues at more than 20% annually. Additional information is available at www.hgcapital.com.

Published 15th April 2024