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Dedicated safeguarding technology provider in UK education

Smoothwall Image IT

Partnership origins

In search of the means to propel their business forward, the management team at Smoothwall discovered in Tenzing a genuine partner—a rare blend of high intelligence, low ego, and unwavering support that truly resonated with them.

Why Smoothwall chose Tenzing

The foundation of trust, unwavering support, and high standards became the cornerstones that defined the relationship between Smoothwall and Tenzing.

As someone who relishes working with smart people, Smoothwall’s CEO thrived on partnering with an experienced Chair and Board, as well as the smarts of the whole team at Tenzing. This partnership was particularly enriching for Smoothwall’s CEO, a first-time timer with an entrepreneurial background, keen to learn and enhance his skills. He found Tenzing’s strategic insights, valuation expertise, and guidance through the challenging pandemic period especially enlightening.

Motivation for investment

Tenzing’s support and counsel were invaluable, especially as Smoothwall underwent a significant transition, with its Founders exiting shortly after Tenzing’s investment, followed by the appointment of a new CEO. The CEO’s attraction to the role stemmed from Tenzing’s reputation as a world-class set of investors and our track record in building strong boards. Additionally, Tenzing’s CIO, Christian Hamilton, emerged as a trusted advisor, guiding Smoothwall’s CEO on his professional journey.

The concern with private equity is, ‘who am I getting into bed with? The courtship is great, but the marriage - what is that going to be like?’ Tenzing has been a great private equity house for us to work with, because their behavioural standards, their sense of right and wrong, are absolutely in the right place.”

Georg Ell
Former CEO of Smoothwall

How did we help Smoothwall whilst investing?

In August 2021, Tenzing finalised the sale of our investment in Smoothwall to Family Zone, an Australian-based cyber safety software provider. This exit generated a return of 5.6x on invested capital and 56% IRR.

During the course of Tenzing’s partnership, Smoothwall executed multiple strategic acquisitions and successfully introduced an award-winning student monitoring service, transitioning from a single-product entity to a multi-product organisation.

Simultaneously, Smoothwall initiated a comprehensive overhaul of its entire corporate infrastructure, encompassing CRM, HR, finance, data management, productivity tools, email systems, employee engagement practices, and more. This transformation not only revamped the management approach but also fostered a culture of openness and collaboration, earning Smoothwall the esteemed recognition of a three-star rating in the Sunday Times’ “Best Companies to Work For” list.

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