Perforce CEO Janet Dryer On The Sale To Clearlake



We reached out to Perforce Software CEO Janet Dryer in the context of Perforce’s sale to Clearlake Capital Group, announced earlier this month.

The previous company owners, Summit Partners, hired Dryer in 2016 and moved headquarters from California to Minnesota with very intentional purposes.

If you’re unfamiliar with her tenured record of industry leadership, there’s some archives and there’s TLDR:

“As the CEO of Perforce Software, Janet is responsible for leading the company and executing its mission to serve its customers. Prior to joining Perforce, she was the CEO of the HelpSystems family of companies. During her [16 year] tenure as CEO, HelpSystems increased sales from $19M to $110M, completed 14 acquisitions and grew to more than 280 employees in 13 locations worldwide. Over 55,000 installations of the software are currently in use.”

…and here’s her take on things with Perforce going forward post acquisition:

Why the decision to sell Perforce, and why to Clearlake specifically?

After two years of hard work and positive change to the business, Perforce was able to exceed our growth goals and Summit Partners, our previous owner, was able to achieve what they set out from the beginning. We’re proud of our work with Summit Partners and very excited about working with the Clearlake team. They are not only a solid and experienced partner — with funding available to double our size — but also a natural culture fit with our leadership team at Perforce.

What was the primary asset value to the acquirer? What is driving your success?

Clearlake recognizes that what we’ve built over the last two years is a solid, streamlined platform for future growth. We’ve achieved this at Perforce through three successful acquisitions, the overhaul and streamlining of existing business processes and procedures, and the building of a market-leading portfolio of development solutions. Moving forward, ClearLake has a clean, stable, growing business. Its foundation built and prepared for future products.

What will be different and change under new ownership? What is O.P.S.?

With Clearlake, our biggest expectation is to accelerate growth — and aggressively. As I mentioned, they are a perfect fit for our existing business philosophy and culture, so there will be little change in that department. At Perforce, we’ve invested a lot of time building our internal teams, and have a lot of day-to-day depth and experience. O.P.S. is a team of experienced individuals at Clearlake, who, when they need to, can help implement best practices (related to operations, people, and strategy) in their portfolio companies.

Will the company’s headquarters remain in Minnesota?

Perforce headquarters will absolutely stay in Minnesota. In total, Perforce has 225 employees in offices around the world, with more than 60 in our downtown Minneapolis office.

Do you foresee those figures changing as it relates to the headquarters here?

Growing, growing, growing! We hope to double the number of employees in Minneapolis within the next two years. We’ve developed an incredibly strong core of sales, marketing, and finance teams in Minneapolis and are looking forward to expanding tech positions here. I really believe that the Midwest is a great place for talent in this industry.

Will you remain on board as the CEO?

Yes and the current leadership team stays intact with this acquisition by Clearlake.

Do you intend to grow through acquisition going forward?

Yes. In the near future, we want to complete several tuck-in acquisitions, along with one transformative acquisition. We also plan to grow organically.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I want to reiterate how wonderful Minnesota is as a place for business and, maybe more so, talent. We honestly moved Perforce headquarters from California to Minnesota because of the network of loyal, hard-working people available here. And we do our best to support them by offering a fun, upbeat culture and place to work, so they stay and are invested in the success of their company.