Q&A With Minnesota Tech Newcomer Ascentis

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San Mateo HQ Ascentis has opened a new office Eden Prairie following the recent hire of Brian Provost, the former executive in residence at Summit Partners.

We connected with this tech CEO to hear more about this development and its relevance to Minnesota:

Prior to Ascentis/Summit, what is your technology background?

I bought into Convey Compliance around 2008/2009, brought a new team on and grew the business. I was there through sale to Vista Equity Partners in 2014 and they eventually changed the name to Sovos.

When, why and how did you become involved with Ascentis?

I was working with growth equity firm Summit Partners and helping them with some technology/software investments for about the past year and a half.  As an executive in residence I was also there to find a business that collectively excited us, one that I would ultimately run.

We came across Ascentis last fall as they were seeking capital and we invested in the opportunity.

Companies in the 100 – 3,000 employee range are looking for a broad solution that Ascentis offers and the human capital marketplace is very large, $20b+ depending on the analysis.  Ascentis’ client verticals from manufacturing and healthcare to accounting and tech firms.   All things combined this was the right opportunity for me.

How much did Summit Partners invest into Ascentis?

It has not been disclosed.

How many employees does Ascentis have?

225 approximately, split between California, Washington, Florida, and our new office here in Eden Prairie.

What does the future look like from a hiring perspective?

We’re growing at a 40% clip right now and so we’ll continue to add employees as we move forward, probably nearing 300 by end of year.

40% by what measurement?

Revenue, year over year.

Will the company be managed out of Minnesota now?

We’re going to have some core executives here, people I have worked with before in other businesses like Jeffrey Cronin (CPO) and Troy Thibodeau (CMO).

What do you see as the significance of Ascentis arriving in Minnesota?

There are a lot of good size SaaS businesses in Minnesota and lots of talent around that can go up against anywhere in the country. I’ve been fortunate to work with and know a number of people in the industry and seek to bring some of them on during our rapid growth phase.

It’s a new chapter for you as a CEO, is it your last?

Time will tell. The difference between this and my previous experiences is the market size. There is a real opportunity to bring this company public down the road which means I’d be around for quite some time.

With respect to that notion, what is the greatest challenge you anticipate?

We’re in a huge market sector with a lot of competition that requires technological differentiation.

What is a key learning you think is as relevant to you today as it was 20 years ago?

The formula that has stood test of time: (1) Always hire the best possible people, (2) develop a strategic plan around those people, (3) Execute together.

What’s next for Ascentis?

It’s early for me, though have things in the works…we’ll keep it at that for now.

Do you anticipate growth via acquisition?

Yes – organic and acquisition.

Are you hiring in Minnesota right now?

Yes – we’re looking for great tech talent and from a lead generation/sales perspective, both here and elsewhere.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Pretty thorough questions, thank you.

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