Done Deals: Thayer Drawn to IT Consulting and Software –

Adding two more notches to their IT belt, Thayer Capital Partners has closed on two separate Internet technology deals since February. The Washington, D.C.-based firm closed first on a $15 million investment in The Concours Group, an e-commerce consulting firm for mostly large corporations. Then most recently Thayer invested in a 20% stake in Renaissance Interactive Holding Corp, an e-commerce software and services company.

In March, Thayer Equity Investors IV LP invested, along with Dauphin Capital Partners, EGL Holdings, and Robinson-Humphrey Capital Partners, in Renaissance Interactive Holding Corp. for a total value of $16 million.

The investment in Renaissance Interactive will go toward its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Renaissance Interactive, Inc., which provides consulting services to health-care companies looking to expand or revise their e-commerce abilities, and Impressa, Inc., a company with a software program that aids in developing e-commerce Web sites. Microsoft and Verio both plan to license the Impressa software, said Rick Rickertsen, chief operating officer at Thayer.

Rickertsen predicts the consulting side of Renaissance’s revenue to grow “north of $10 million this year” from $3.5 million last year, spurred by internal growth. “They will look at some acquisition on the health-care consulting side, [which already has over 300 clients including Johnson & Johnson and Humana Inc]. But they have huge growth opportunities with the software business, so that’s where they’re using all the capital – to really grow the software business,” he said.

Thayer Capital invests in a variety of industries including information technology, travel and leisure, electronics and outsourced manufacturing. For the last five years the firm has been focusing on IT services and has invested over $200 million in technology in the last three years.

Walking the Concours

The Concours Group, based in Houston, Texas, provides e-commerce strategy consulting on a global basis with offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. Thayer took a 13% stake in the company with its investment from its $880 million fund, Thayer Equity Investors IV .

What sets Concours apart from other e-commerce consulting companies is its international expanse, Rickertsen said. The company has offices in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, France and Sweden, in addition to its U.S. offices. Concours does not plan to expand into other regions at this point, he said.

Thayer was also attracted by Concours’ management team, led by chief operating officer Ron Christman, who previously ran the Computer Sciences Corp., and by the growing sector of e-commerce consulting, Rickertsen said.

Concours, which has been growing 35% to 40% per year, increasing its revenue to $26.1 million in 1999 from $8.8 million in 1997, plans to continue growing internally and through acquisitions, Rickertsen said.

The Thayer investment facilitated the acquisition of a Swedish consulting firm, Cepro Management Consultants. Concours filed in March with the SEC to go public. –