BRADENTON — Cloud-based, business-to-business communications firm Star2Star, one of the fastest growing companies on the Gulf Coast, has raised $30 million from a private equity fund.
The investment, according to a release, is from suburban Philadelphia-based NewSpring Capital, a series of private equity funds that backs firms mostly in health care and technology. The investment comes six months after Star2Star, which provides cloud-based communications that unify customers' voice, video and instant messaging into one system, announced plans to hire 350 people in Manatee County by 2019. Star2Star currently has about 200 employees, who work out of a facility near the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The firm had about $30 million in sales in 2013, up 33.3% from 2012, when it had $22.5 million.
Proceeds from the NewSpring investment, Star2Star says in the release, will “further accelerate Star2Star Communications' already rapid growth.”
Area entrepreneur Norm Worthington co-founded Star2Star in 2004, and clients have since included Dollar General, Kentucky Fired Chicken and a large Texas-based Pizza Hut franchisee. “We have been continuously expanding since 2006 and are ready to accelerate our growth to an unprecedented level,” says Worthington, now CEO, in the statement. “We've already positioned ourselves as an innovator and leader in delivering cloud communications, and our new relationship with NewSpring Capital is the next step toward securing our place at the top of the increasingly crowded communications marketplace.”
NewSpring General Partner Marc Lederman will take a seat on Star2Star's board of directors. “The company's characteristics are precisely what we look for in an investment — innovative and dynamic with a strong track record of consistent growth and proven management,” Lederman says in the release.
Worthington, in a Wall Street Journal blog post about the capital raise, says he was offered more than 20 term sheets for the funding. Worthington also says Star2Star considered accepting acquisition offers, “but I feel like we have so much more to run here.”