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Vision Commerce (“Vision”), founded by Steve Lundergan in 2000, develops and supports licensed and hosted software for lease and loan origination. The company’s clients are banks and financial firms (including captive, independent, municipal and specialty), such as Capital One and Hitachi. Many staff members at the St. Charles, Missouri company have over 30 years of experience in the industry, which sets them apart from the competition.
Steve selected the Perseus Group, an operating group of Constellation Software Inc., as the right buyer for the business due to their commitment to investing in and expanding the product. These investments have helped to set the company up for future success.
In 1988, Steve started his first business focused on managing captive finance companies for Manufacturers and Equipment dealers. However, he saw an increasing demand for technological solutions in the financial sector in the 1990s, and subsequently founded Vision in 2000.
“As the requests came in, we continued to enhance the functionality,” said Steve. “We got to the point where we could now serve a larger segment of the equipment leasing market, including the middle market, Bank Lessors and larger independent leasing companies.”
The Missing Piece
At the end of 2015 and into 2016, Vision’s growth started plateauing because it did not have the capital to develop the end-to-end solution the market was looking for. Specifically, clients and prospects wanted:
- A customer relationship management, or CRM, front-end
- A credit application module that is adjudicated, documented, funded, disbursed and onboarded
- A back-end system for contract administration and accounting
Vision was missing the last piece – the back-end. Without additional resources, Steve doubted that his company could afford to develop the product and market it effectively.
Steve and Vision’s board concluded that the best way to build a more complete solution was through working together with a larger and more experienced company – one that could provide the resources, product offering and guidance required.
Over the years, Steve had developed a relationship with Cha Loh, the General Manager of Constellation Financing Systems (a Perseus Group portfolio company), whom he met at an industry event. He thought perhaps the Perseus Group could be the partner he was looking for.
“What really drew us to Perseus Group was two things: the strategy plan of integrating CFS’s back-end and Cha’s persistence,” said Steve.
Vision had offers from other investors, some of which were more attractive from a financial perspective. However, none of the other suitors were interested in making a long-term investment in growing Vision through expanding their offering. Perseus Group, on the other hand, had a reputation for growing companies and empowering business managers, which was more appealing to Steve.
The integration was a significant task, but well-organized, due to Perseus Group’s extensive experience.
“It’s one thing to sell a company, turn over the keys to the kingdom and walk away,” explained Steve. “It’s another thing to stay with it and make sure that everything transitions appropriately.”
He noted that someone from Perseus Group was always available to guide him through every step of the process.
According the Steve,
“Perseus Group has a top-notch Human Resources group, including recruiting services…they also have a very professional IT Procurement group.”
Having resources on the administration side also allowed Steve to focus on what he loved – serving customers and developing the product. Additionally, the capital provided, and shared best practices helped him successfully launch the new generation of his product to the market – achieving his intended objective.
What impressed Steve the most about Perseus Group was its integrity.
“The most gratifying thing about our life after the acquisition is that every single thing that was represented to me by anyone at Perseus Group turned out to be exactly how it is,” said Steve. “That’s a quality I admire in both people and companies.”
Steve plans to retire by the end of the year and is excited to continue following the company’s growth. One of his long-tenured employees is being promoted to President, and Steve is proud that his decision to sell to Perseus Group has given his staff better opportunities.
His wife, who retired two years ago, is enjoying her time with their five grandchildren.
“We’re going to spend plenty of time getting to know our grandkids,” he said. “They’re at that age when I really want to be a part of their lives, so they remember ‘Pops’ several years from now.”
Many business leaders have grown and found success within the Perseus Group. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at (289) 859-4920.