M&A Awards: Century Technology Group Finds Synergies Among Growing Portfolio Companies

February 27, 2022

After the acquisition of a Grand Haven-based emerging tech and media firm, Century Technology Group Inc. is already finalizing plans to integrate it with another portfolio company.

The Ada-based family office specializing in providing growth capital, consulting and administrative resources for tech companies announced the acquisition of Th3rd Coast Digital Solutions in September 2021. Company officials are now preparing to announce the merger of Th3rd Coast with Inno-Versity, an Ada-based e-learning educational consultant that Century Technology Group (CTG) acquired in 2019.

The overlap between Th3rd Coast, which uses emerging video technology increasingly for corporate training services, and Inno-Versity exemplifies Century Technology Group’s tech niche in the investment space.

The Th3rd Coast acquisition earned CTG recognition as the 2022 MiBiz M&A Deal of the Year in the technology category.“I think (Th3rd Coast) was a little strapped for capital and people, and as our conversations with them evolved, it became very clear that we could not only solve that issue with them but also align them with our other platform companies,” said CTG President Dana Jacks. “That gave us a great recipe for one-plus-one equaling three.”

Meanwhile, CTG’s four portfolio companies — which also includes software consultant Mutually Human LLC and recruiting firm Talent Strategy LLC — combined have increased their West Michigan-based workforce by 50 percent, Jacks said.

“We haven’t brought a lot of new companies into the fold, it’s really been heads down and stabilizing these platforms,” she added.

Th3rd Coast CEO Joseph Van Harken agrees with that growth sentiment. After founding the company nearly eight years ago with Jeff Joanisse, the team quickly tapped into the potential for using augmented reality and virtual reality in video services, particularly for corporate training purposes. The company quickly realized the need to scale up, he said.

“We had a really great thing going, but once we started pushing into the emerging tech and things like that, it really became apparent with our infrastructure (at the time) that we’d be hitting a glass ceiling with scalability,” Van Harken said. “That’s when we started looking at CTG. We knew at some point we’d want to be looking at investments.”

The West Michigan family office model also served as an attractive option compared to seeking venture capital and private equity, Van Harken added. Additionally, the upcoming merger with Inno-Versity provides “direct synergy” and the opportunity to be a full “digital solutions company.”

Beyond the merger of Th3rd Coast and Inno-Versity, Jacks said CTG has “really set the stage for acquisitions in 2022,” including potentially two new portfolio companies.

“When I think about the operating companies we have and the growth they’ve experienced in 2021, we’re going to keep riding that wave of organic growth but actively talking to West Michigan companies and outside of Michigan, quite honestly, to spur that growth through M&A as well,” Jacks said.

Century Technology Group CEO Keith Harrold added that while the early months of COVID-19 set the company back from some of its original growth and capital-deployment trajectories, “we’re getting closer back to our original time frames. We’re feeling good about the West Michigan market.”

As for CTG’s future M&A prospects, Harrold said: “What attracts us is an existing business model, existing cash flow and they have unique technology capabilities and a good vision that we can come in and help them execute and grow.” 

This article was originally published on MiBiz.com. To read the original article, please visit https://mibiz.com/sections/economic-development/m-a-awards-century-technology-group-finds-synergies-among-growing-portfolio-companies