It definitely took some time, but Optimal+, a global leader in Big-Data analytics solutions for electronic car components, is being acquired by National Instruments (NI) in a massive cash deal. The Texas-based company announced that the deal was closed and valued at $365 million.
Client check: Samsung & Qualcomm to name a couple
Optimal+’ software offers AI analytics solutions and real-time insight into the semiconductor, electronics, and automotive supply chains, allowing for better and more efficient testing, expediting products to market at a much faster rate than competitors. The company’s AI tools include a data network that cycles throughout the semiconductor supply chain giving full visibility, and has the capability to test almost 100 billion components annually, with the average test only taking a couple of seconds to complete. With a quality product usually comes quality customers, and the Israeli company has quite the impressive list of them, including Qualcomm, NVIDIA, and German car parts maker, ZF.
National Instruments, automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software producer, also belongs to the same automated testing industry as their newly acquired subsidiary. Optimal+ CEO and co-founder Dan Glotter said, “Together with NI, we can supply Big-Data analytics solutions at the organizational level, which will enable our users to successfully complete digital transformation processes, as well as allowing us to reach new clients.”
Optimal+ was founded in 2005 by CEO Dan Glotter and co-founder Nir Erez, who left the company in 2009 later founding the successful public transit navigation app, Moovit. Despite selling the company at a lower estimated figure than previously thought, mainly due to the global COVID pandemic, the deal was signed with NI in order to leave the Optimal+ team in good hands especially during these uncertain times. While so many workers around the world are being let go and put on furloughs, striking the deal with NI had an added value besides the dollar amount. The company’s 240 employees based in offices in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and R&D center in Israel all kept working throughout the crisis. Aside from the CEO and employees, also the investors are smiling in face of the acquisition, including Pitango, Viola, KKR, Aviv Venture Capital, and Evergreen.
However, now comes the question, why? Why sell now, after 15 years? In a conversation with Geektime, Glotter explains that he advises every entrepreneur and company that their ‘Endgame’ should not be to cash out: “Not to be cliche, but our ‘Endgame’ was to create a successful culture that offers its customers the highest quality of service. In our case, going down the public offering route wasn’t really on the table, because that usually entails hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. Our sales totaled $51 million, which is impressive, but not enough for the stock market. Leaving selling the company as really the only route to take.” Another concrete reason for the sale was the cash deal element, “and getting a cash deal during the pandemic is definitely a noteworthy ‘Endgame’.”
Aaron Mankovski, Managing General Partner at Pitango, expressed his thoughts regarding Optimal+: "From phones to cars, most semiconductors and electronic systems have at least one component tested by the company’s software. In a world of venture capital and startups, Optimal’s business model is not just “entrepreneurs and investors”, but a team that works as one. Over the years there have been the obvious ups and downs, disagreements and compromises, financial crises followed by prosperity. Though through each stage we found a way to work together, and the results came as well, together.”