In early January, a Salt Lake City-based software company called ARCOM acquired InterSpec, a small, under-the-radar software firm in South Portland.
InterSpec develops software and provides spec-writing services for the construction and architecture industries. It employs 20 people in South Portland. Gilles Letourneau founded the company in 1998.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. The merged companies will operate under the ARCOM name.
ARCOM, the Salt Lake City-based acquirer, was already a minority shareholder in InterSpec. ARCOM itself was recently acquired in October 2016 by Alpine Investors, a San Francisco-based private equity firm. That acquisition is what eventually led to ARCOM acquiring the rest of the ownership stake in InterSpec.
“The 20 professional-level positions at InterSpec will stay at our offices in South Portland, and there is the real prospect of adding jobs in the near future,” Matt Hoffner, chairman of InterSpec’s board, said in a statement. “Of course, that’s good for Maine’s economy. And we wouldn’t be here without the patience of our investors, especially the Maine Venture Fund, which has strongly supported the growth of InterSpec.”
Maine Venture Fund scores third exit in a year
The acquisition is good news for Maine Venture Fund, the state’s quasi-public venture capital firm, which invested more than $200,000 in the company in 2006, according to John Burns, MVF’s managing director. He said MVF realized a positive return on investment, but didn’t provide specifics.
InterSpec’s acquisition represents the third opportunity within the past year for MVF to receive a return on its investments. Coast of Maine Organic Products and Look’s Gourmet Food Co. were both MVF portfolio companies acquired in 2016, creating liquidity events for previous investors.
But Burns said the real story here was how an experienced investor can really help turn around a company. InterSpec had been “struggling” a bit, according to Burns. So he arranged to get Matt Hoffner, who was previously MVF’s board chair, onto InterSpec’s board.
“My dastardly plan to get him into the chair role there happened very quickly,” Burns said.
At the same time, Burns assigned Des FitzGerald, MVF’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, to be MVF’s board observer. The additional talent helped InterSpec really thrive, Burns said.
“Matt and Des worked well and effectively together, and with founder Gilles Letourneau, to restructure things, bring on new board members, improve relationships, and really energize the firm, its financial performance and market positioning,” Burns said. “When Alpine bought ARCOM, which owned a large minority chunk of InterSpec, Matt asked Alpine if they’d like to acquire complementary Interspec as well. Yep.”