After success at QuickBooks and LexisNexis, a Raleigh tech executive with big-money backing is gobbling up software companies.
After years with large software organizations such as Intuit and LexisNexis, Michael Lipps is leading a 675-employee Raleigh-based software company that helps chief financial officers better understand and utilize their data.
Lipps came aboard two years ago when a Boston-based private equity company acquired and merged two Raleigh companies — Global Software and Insightsoftware.com — to create a financial- and resource-management platform with 27,000 business customers and 500,000 end users.
Since the acquisition, Lipps says Insightsoftware’s revenue has increased by 300%, aided by a dozen purchases of smaller software companies. A notable deal involved Excel4apps, which helps Microsoft’s Excel financial-software users simplify the process of creating meaningful business reports. A more recent acquisition, Toronto-based Longview Solutions, provided entrance into the corporate tax market, a high-growth business as companies look to automate their tax processes.
Global Software was a pioneer as the Triangle emerged as a strong technology market with former NCR executive Ron Kupferman starting the company in 1971. His sons, Matthew and Spencer, later helped it expand internationally. It was owned by St. Louis-based Thompson Street Capital Partners before the sale to TA in 2018, when it had 4,500 customers in 60 countries.
Lipps is a northern California native who joined Palo Alto, Calif.-based Intuit in 1995, starting out in marketing and product management for the company made famous by its Quicken personal-finance program. By 2006, he was the business leader for the QuickBooks financial-management product used by millions of small businesses.
“Intuit has been incredibly successful at developing and cultivating leaders at many levels. It’s core to their culture,” he says.
The most transformational point in his career came when Intuit’s CEO asked Lipps to go through a Six Sigma leadership program. “It completely reframed the way I think about and use data, the approach I use to manage businesses, and even how I manage my personal life.”
In 2009, he joined legal-software powerhouse LexisNexis as CEO and managing director of its Legal Software Solutions division based in Cary. Over the next eight years, the company grew from 90 people to more than 600. He left LexisNexis in 2017 to become president of Cary-based MercuryGate International, a transportation-management software company, then a year joined Insightsoftware as the new PE group took ownership.
Lipps says he was motivated to build a strong team while helping change how companies collect, analyze and act on financial data. He credits robust revenue growth to the acquisitions and growing demand for better financial reporting solutions.
The company opened a new headquarters in north Raleigh and added 160 workers last year and 102 in the first half of 2020 worldwide. Its Raleigh headcount totals 249.
“The last year has been an incredible journey of accelerated growth and opportunity, and Raleigh has been the perfect worldwide headquarters location to support that progress,” Lipps says. “We believe the Triangle area is a hub of technology innovation and knowledge that rivals Silicon Valley.”
While some deals have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has benefited from other customers that accelerated purchases and added more services. Its offices in 16 nations transitioned to a work-from-home model over one weekend. TA Associates, which has raised more than $32 billion since its founding in 1968, provides a strong financial base.
Moreover, a 94% customer-retention rate suggests Insightsoftware has a strong future. “When you have a tool that provides both great corporate value but is also loved by the end user themselves, it’s a winning proposition.”
“We know this crisis is putting strain on businesses, communities and people,” Lipps says. “Now more than ever, we are standing firm to do the right thing for both our teams and [our customers].” ■