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Fresh off its June purchase of expense management service Abacus, Certify has acquired Spain-based T&E specialist Captio. The deal is Certify's first acquisition outside North America and marks the firm's "most significant" international foray to date, according to the company.
The purchase brings into the Certify fold more than 500 Captio corporate clients in European markets including France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal. European markets offer, along with access to that user base, potential for growth in the small and midsize business segment, said Certify CEO Bob Neveu. "In Europe, 65 to 75 percent of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees are still doing expense reports with Excel spreadsheets or some other manual process, so the opportunity is massive."
But it wasn't only the chance to grow Certify's footprint that made Captio an attractive buy, according to Neveu. Captio's expertise in unique local and country-based tax requirements also was key. For instance, in Spain and Portugal, Captio is authorized to process electronic versions of receipts without needing to maintain the original paper copies as proof of purchase, as would otherwise be required by law, he said.
Such solutions tailored for specific markets will help differentiate Certify's platform from those of larger competitors like Concur, which tend to offer more one-size-fits all service, according to Neveu. "That strategy may work, but we don't think it's the only way," he said. "What we hear from people is that they want the operationality and functionality that's important to them."
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Now, under the Certify umbrella, Captio will maintain its branding, and cofounders Joel Vicient and Lluis Claramonte will join Certify's leadership team.
The Captio deal is the latest in a spate of expansion moves Certify has made since the company in June 2017 landed a $125 million majority-stake investment from K1 Investment Management, which merged Certify with three other expense management firms. Certify used that funding to nab NuTravel's corporate online booking tool in September 2017. And in July 2018, the company acquired expense management provider Abacus.
On the international front, Certify in 2017 expanded its relationship with U.K.-based software company Sage to provide enhanced product integrations. And this year, Certify integrated with Western Union to offer large-scale international business payment capability to Certify customers with operations outside the U.S.
"We're planning continued expansion through acquisitions and organic growth, adding more customers and putting more people on the ground," Neveu said, noting that more announcements are likely in the months ahead.