Q&A With Summit Partners New Executive In Residence Brian Provost

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Summit-Partners-Brian-ProvostLast week, Summit Partners announced that Brian Provost was the newest member of the Executive in Residence (EIR) team.

Founded in 1984, Summit Partners is a global growth equity firm headquartered in Boston, MA, that is currently investing more than $7.2 billion into equity and fixed income opportunities. To date, Summit has invested in more than 430 companies, completed more than 135 public offerings, and more than 160 have been acquired through strategic M&A.

Locally speaking, Summit Partners has previosuly financed JAMF Software ($30m), ABILITY Network ($550m), and HelpSystems (2005 & 2012).

Similiar to a traditional entrepreneur in residence role inside a VC firm, Summit’s EIR’s work to identify investment opportunities, conduct due diligence, and create and support value creation plans for the companies with which Summit has partnered.

It is the intention that the Executive in Residence eventually become CEO of a specific portfolio company.

This week, we connect with Provost to learn more:

What is your background as it relates to Minnesota’s technology industry?

I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and graduated from Bethel University in 1991. Right out of college, at age 21, I joined a Minnesota robotics company called Robodyne.  Since then, over the last 25 years, I’ve held executive leadship positions with six different software technology companies based here.

Some of those companies include Wizmo, Inc., Norstan Communications (acquired by BlackBox), and ColorSpan (acquired by Hewlett Packard).

I was involved with Convey Compliance Systems for six years (2008-2014) prior to selling that company to Vista Equity, and was looking for next opportunities.  I’ve known Northern Pacific Group for some time, which had previously purchased shares in Delaget and Avionte, and have since joined the board of those two companies.   Meanwhile, Brian Kueppers at Apex Information Technology had asked me to join their board as they transform into a software company.

Every board that I serve on, I’m personally financially invested as well as professionally through time and expertise.   There are some other local software companies that I do provide guidance and support to, but do not serve on those boards.

How did the relationship with Summit Partners form?

It goes back to the mid-200o’s when I was running Gelco Expense Management, which eventually sold to Concur. Through that process I met MD Pete Rottier from Summit Partners, we stayed in touch with him over the years, and I really got to know Summit Partners thanks to their reputation with local investees JAMF Software , ABILITY Network and HelpSystems.

What is the objective with Summit Partners as their new Executive in Residence?

It’s part of Summit’s model to work with proven executives to identify and explore new investment opportunities.   Where I am at now in my career, and really why I’ve joined Summit, is to uncover a new investable opportunity that I can also play a primary leadership role with — that would be an ideal outcome at some point down the road here.

What type of opportunities appeal to you/Summit Partners?

Software and software enabled busineses that are currently $30m – $200m in revenue with a broad addressible market to expand organically and/or via acquisition.  I’d like to find that headquartered here in Minnesota, or move some aspect of it to Minnesota, although that may or may not be the case.

What would you say to the qualified candidate reading this?

Reach out to myself, Scott Ferguson or Pete Rottier if you’d like to discuss your business.

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