The seed for a future Teamviewer

IIn German industry, the story of a company is written the way Teamviewer is: from a start-up under the umbrella of private equity to a large company that wants to set an industry standard with a new product. technological. According to information from the FAZ, the financial investor Nordic Capital is in the process of acquiring the manufacturer of mini scanners Proglove, the contract has just been signed. Rainer Lenhard, partner of Nordic Capital, confirmed this on request. He would not comment on the company’s value – market experts put it at around half a billion euros.

The CEO is an old acquaintance in the industry: former Teamviewer boss Andreas König. He envisages a rise like that of the Göppingen company now listed on the M-Dax and widely known for its remote computer maintenance. When asked if a development like Teamviewer could be expected with Proglove, König replied in the FAZ interview: “That’s the plan, yes. The company really has the potential to become really big.” The second Director is Thomas Nowak, who used to work as CFO for Teamviewer – they both know each other very well since that time.

Hands-free scanning in the warehouse

Proglove – founded as Workaround GmbH – manufactures barcode scanners worn on wrists or gloves by logistics and production workers. They are as big as a matchbox and weigh up to two two-euro coins. The devices keep your hands free – unlike conventional scanner guns – and are intended to make barcode reading easier and faster. This plays a role in automotive production, for example, where employees document every installed component. An important customer – and one of the first days – is BMW. Employees activate the scanner with a flick of the thumb. According to König, they save around four seconds on each scan compared to a scanner gun – which is a considerable amount with around a thousand scans per car in production.

In addition, the device is ergonomically more favorable and therefore health-friendly, according to the argument. According to the company’s website, other customers in the automotive industry include the Volkswagen Group with several branded subsidiaries, and they also come from traditional industry, like Thyssenkrupp, trade like Mediamarkt or transport like DHL. and Schenker. They use the products called “wearables” in the industry lingo in their warehouses. On the other hand, the devices have not yet been seen in the hands of parcel deliverers. Proglove’s competitors are the two American companies Honeywell and Zebra. According to management, Proglove holds more than 50 patents; the first gloves were sold in 2016. At present, the annual turnover is in the double digits of millions, but the growth is said to be 30% per year.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t

Of course, the promotion fantasy may turn out to be a dream in hindsight. Financial investor KKR and partner Philipp Freise were planning “the second SAP” years ago when they took over Frankfurt IT specialist Arago. Nothing came of it. On the other hand, Teamviewer, founded in 2005, is an example of a company that received little attention when a financial investor – in this case Permira – took it over in 2014, incidentally for an amount similar to the current agreement, namely around 800 million euros. König led Teamviewer from 2015 until late 2017, Nowak joined in 2016. At the end of 2018 König joined Proglove to replace co-founder Thomas Kirchner as CEO.

The most important shareholder is the American financial investor Summit Partners, the others are Bayern Kapital and Deutsche Invest Capital Partners (DIVC). Originally, the American chipmaker Intel was also involved. The seller would have mandated the investment bank Goldman Sachs for the transaction, while Nordic Capital would have acted without a consultant. The investor is now involved for the first time in traditional industry in Germany. In April, he made his debut in another sector in the country, that of financial services. It acquired three of the ten largest German credit brokers and merged them into a single provider.

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