We recently had an opportunity to speak with Mike Kaczmarek, Managing Director at Thomas H. Lee Partners. THL is a premier private equity firm investing in middle-market growth companies in three sectors: Financial Services, Healthcare, and Technology & Business Solutions.
THL led FourKites’ recent Series D growth financing round, and we’re thrilled that Mike will be taking a seat on our Board of Directors. In this interview, Mike shared his perspectives about FourKites; our strategic alignment with THL; the future of real-time visibility; and the exciting opportunities ahead for collaboration and accelerated growth working with FourKites and our fellow investors.
Q: Michael, how does this funding round and new relationship with FourKites align with THL’s broader strategy as a company?
A: This investment is right down the middle of the fairway of what we’re looking to do with our Automation Fund. THL raised the industry’s first ever private equity Automation Fund last year in 2020. At the heart and soul of what we’re trying to do, supply chain logistics and supply chain automation lie at the center of that. What FourKites and Matt and his team are doing really is centered around our key strategy. So this fits very well with our broader automation portfolio around supply chain logistics. It marks the 12th supply chain deal that we’ve completed over the last three years, and it’s one that we’re very excited about.
Q: Why is this investment and working partnership so pivotal for the industry?
A: We think this round of capital is pivotal, not only for FourKites, but also for the industry and the set of investors that we’ve been able to bring to bear here demonstrates that. Not only THL, with our deep breadth of experience in automation and supply chain logistics, but we’re also bringing to the table Zebra, Volvo and Qualcomm, all of which have significant industrial logic and strategic value that they’re adding. When you have companies of this caliber and position taking part in a fundraising round such as this, it really showcases the importance of real-time visibility to the supply chain space.
Q: Michael, can you sum it up for us in terms of what made you excited about this investment opportunity with FourKites?
A: I think most importantly, we did our diligence, and we got a feel for FourKites’ customer feedback. We interviewed 50-60 customers or companies in the FourKites ecosystem. Their feedback was very, very positive around the team, around the offering, and ultimately around the value proposition and ROI that FourKites is delivering for their customers.
“We are thrilled to partner with Matt and his team at FourKites, and we are very excited to be supportive of the growth opportunities that lie ahead for the business. What the future holds for the company is very, very exciting.”
– Mike Kaczmarek, Managing Director at Thomas H. Lee Partners
THL launched its $900 million Automation Fund to pursue equity investment opportunities that harness a range of technologies to drive automation in e-Commerce, distribution and logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, food and beverage, financial services, real estate, consumer products and other sectors. To date, it has funded several other automation platform companies, including Autostore, Material Handling Systems, Fortna and Phytech.
You can catch the full interview with Mike below!