IST Research, headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA, enables full-capability operations in the information environment through the application of advanced technology and effective tradecraft. The company defends the U.S. against disinformation campaigns from our adversaries, protects vulnerable trafficked populations, and performs many national security missions in between. IST’s proprietary Pulse platform directly engages populations at scale and harvests a massive amount of publicly available information with global placement, access, and know-how, and its tradecraft augments Pulse’s information gathering abilities to enhance the end-to-end solutions offering.
Blue Delta invested in IST in late 2016 with a thesis centered around a strong management team, differentiated technology offering, and significant growth potential. When we met the IST team, the company’s R&D efforts showed considerable promise through its partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), but it needed additional capital to refine its capabilities, expand its reach to other National Security customers, and effectively navigate each phase of the SBIR program. IST’s solution gained significant traction at marquee customers during our investment period, including the U.S. Cyber Command, the U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Department of State, which generated interest from a number of potential acquirers. Blue Delta’s investment culminated in IST winning multiple SBIR Phase III Prime contracts with over $250M of total contract value, which will continue drive exceptional growth for years to come.
Blue Delta helped IST navigate a formal sale process which resulted in an acquisition by a global private equity firm that is both a pioneer in the private equity industry and one of the leading government contracting investors. The sale process yielded a life changing liquidity event for IST’s management team, and an outsized return for Blue Delta’s investors.
Sonatype is the leader in DevOps automation and the governance of open source components, providing open source software supply chain management solutions. Headquartered in Howard County, MD and led by CEO Wayne Jackson (former CEO of Sourcefire, which went public and then was acquired by Cisco for almost $3B), Sonatype’s core mission is to help safely and securely accelerate software innovation, by providing an end-to-end security solution for the open source components that are defining modern software development.
Our team partnered with Wayne and his team to help them scale their business in the U.S. Federal Government marketplace, in addition to their deep customer penetration in commercial enterprise on a global basis. We assisted the Sonatype team on a number of fronts, from Board of Director recruiting, VP of Federal Sales recruiting, channel partner introductions, customer support initiatives and strategic discussions with the CEO. During our investment period the company grew revenue almost 10x and was preparing for an eventual initial public offering (IPO).
Over the years, Sonatype attracted multiple potential buyers. We worked with Wayne and team to optimize the outcome for the Company at this stage and ultimately the company received a majority control investment from Vista Equity Partners, a leader in its field. That transaction provided Sonatype with another great chapter in its growth, significant wealth creation for the management team and a double digit multiple of capital return for Blue Delta.
The Tauri Group
The Tauri Group was a leading provider of homeland security solutions, headquartered in Alexandria, VA. In particular, the company had subject matter expertise in countering chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cyber threats as well as providing for resiliency of operations. It was led by two serial entrepreneurs whom we had known for several years.
Our team partnered with these entrepreneurs to help them prosecute a large number of bid opportunities in their core market. We assisted the Tauri team with recruiting additional business development and proposal talent, and supported the entire bid lifecycle from strategic teaming and go-to-market approaches, to tactical decisions around pricing models, key personnel, and red teaming bids. We also created a Board of Directors that included independent members with deep experience in the government contracting community in general and specifically within the company’s core competencies. As a result, the company grew revenue nearly 300% during our involvement.
Tauri attracted multiple preemptive acquisition offers from strategic partners. We worked with the entrepreneurs to optimize the outcome for the entire team, and ultimately the company was acquired by LMI. That result provided significant wealth creation for the two co-founders, good opportunities for the employees and triple-digit annualized returns for Blue Delta.
42Six was a cutting-edge “Big Data” analytics company, headquartered in Columbia, MD, which spun-off from a larger government technology business. It was led by two young veterans of the Intelligence Community and Defense Department who were first-time entrepreneurs with a unique mix of technical expertise and advanced business acumen.
Our team partnered with these entrepreneurs to introduce them to new customers, new channel partners, middle-level management, and technical talent. We assisted them with the upgrade of their business development and pipeline management processes. The company grew revenue and EBITDA by almost 100% during our involvement.
42Six attracted multiple preemptive acquisition offers from strategic partners. We worked with the team to maximize the purchase price and the company was acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE: then CSC, now CSRA), for a significant premium to comparable transactions. That outcome also provided life-changing wealth creation for the two co-founders and triple-digit annualized returns for Blue Delta.