Q&A With Tony Abena & Jeff Fritz On The Insite/Storyworks1 Acquisition


Abena-FritzInsite Software announced the acquisition of Storyworks1 on Tuesday in a move that will bolster the potential for both Minnesota made enterprise products.  Insite Software serves large manufacturers and distributors with a suite of software products; Storyworks1 is a dynamic mobile content delivery platform for sales reps.  The combined value proposition is for decision makers to have a broader set of real time data and content available on demand.

We connected with Tony Abena from Insite Software and Jeff Fritz from Storyworks1 to hear more about the deal:

Franklin Partners

How did you two initially come in contact with one another?

Abena: We were introduced by an investor about 6 months ago, and started discussing possibilities at the time. After going on a few sales calls together, we came to the realization that this should be more than just a partnership.

Why more than a partnership?

Abena: We belong together like peanut butter and chocolate, connecting content and commerce together is the winning strategy here.

Fritz: This is a 1+1 =3 kind of deal. We saw the opportunity to make our product more valuable to sales teams…part of that would be to better leverage data, which is a strong component of Insite’s platform.

Was there a geographical factor?

Abena: We looked at a number of options and it really was the best aligned product and culture for us.   The fact that they were just a few miles away from us was a cherry on top.

What is the genesis of Storyworks1?

Fritz: In the beginning, I had been working on a concept called Storyworks on Demand purely as an enterprise grade mobile briefcase. I got together with Bjorn Stansvik who, at the time, was in pursuit of a mobile content learning management system.   We merged those two products together under the name Storyworks1 in 2012 and I became CEO.

Did you raise outside capital?

Fritz: Yes, from angel investors.

How much?

Fritz: I’m not inclined to say.

Where was the company at upon the acquisition?

Abena: They had good traction in the market, on the order of about 20 customers.

What were the terms of the transaction?

Abena: not disclosed.

Is there any liquidity happening?

Fritz: Storyworks investors are receiving stock in the combined entity.

How many people are coming onboard at Insite with the acquisition?

Fritz: About 15

What does the future of the product hold?

Fritz: it will evolve faster with a stronger connection to the enterprise data backend.

What does headcount look like at Storyworks1?

Fritz: Likely will be an increase, but until we settle into our groove it’s too early to tell. We’ll want to increase our operational efficiencies and also fill in some gaps. This is a growth play at the end of the day.

How will the two brands/products fit together?

Abena: The paint isn’t dry yet…

Fritz: The future is to integrate the back office data from ecommerce and ERP systems with the front office personnel.

What will Jeff Fritz’s title/role be moving forward?

Fritz: President of the Storyworks1 unit

Has Insite made other acquisitions before?

Abena: This was our first, and there’s no more planned, but we’ll keep an open mind.

How many employees does Insite have right now?

Abena: we are nearing 100.

What do you predict for Inisite in 2016?

Abena: Learning, growth, fun!

Any closing thoughts?

Abena: as a Minnesota tech CEO and angel investor I am pleased to see the progress of the tech industry here.

Fritz: I’m really excited to be part of a larger company led by Tony, the future is bright.  As you know, I’ve done a few startups and this scenrario is very mutually rewarding.


Q&A With Jim Sheehan on The $46m PowerObjects Sale To HCL

Minnesota Tech M&A Roundup: November 2015

Employee Ownership Pays Off For Marco