ReadyTech case study —

ReadyTech launched its first software product, JobReady, in the late 1990s for the employment services sector. Today, this ASX-listed SaaS provider has over 4,000 customers in the education and skills sector, and has grown tenfold in the past decade.

“Skills and apprenticeships play a big part in helping job seekers, so we ended up building a portfolio of systems for the education sector,” says ReadyTech founder and CEO Marc Washbourne.

As early adopters of the SaaS model, the company was able to build subscription revenue and keep investing back into multiple products. In 2008 it launched a cloud-based student management system for universities and colleges, which helps them manage the entire student experience – from acquisition and admission through to graduation.

Washbourne had big ambitions to grow ReadyTech, but his business partner was ready to retire. To fund his partner’s exit and get the capital needed for further growth, the company needed a banking partner that understood the business and who could support the next stage of growth.

"They really understood the value of our intellectual property – the software and the subscription model, and the stickiness of our customers. And we landed on a loan that was attractive and very workable."
 

Marc Washbourne

Founder and CEO, ReadyTech

A catalyst for growth

When Washbourne started the conversation with Macquarie Bank, he was pleasantly surprised by how approachable the team was, and how much time they invested in understanding the business and his plans.


“They really understood the value of our intellectual property – the software and the subscription model, and the stickiness of our customers. And we landed on a loan that was attractive and very workable.”

This funding structure proved pivotal for ReadyTech’s next stage of growth. “Macquarie worked with our private equity partner and in doing so, helped structure the facilities that were really the catalyst for accelerating our growth over the last five years. They understood the objectives and the tensions in the deal and really took the time to understand the individuals involved,” says Washbourne.

M&A opportunities have complemented ReadyTech’s organic growth strategy. With Macquarie’s support, ReadyTech has been able to acquire seven businesses since 2015.

“This allows us to extend the verticals we operate in, bringing our capability and expertise to build marketing-leading software in new markets,” explains Washbourne. But these deals are not easy to put together. “You don't want them to fall over due to a funding issue, so a reliable banking partner is critical. In our experience, bringing Macquarie in as early as possible into the journey with each deal is very beneficial.”

The momentum of growth led to ReadyTech’s decision to list on the ASX in 2019. “Macquarie Capital supported us with that process, along with other third party advisors,” says Washbourne.

Pursuing new opportunities

With so many aspects of the education and skills sectors moving to digital and contactless technology, ReadyTech is in a good position to continue its growth trajectory. “We have seen extraordinary acceleration in the adoption of digital learning tools, and there is more confidence in the sector about how they can adapt,” says Washbourne. He is now “doubling down” on developing digital servicing and learning tools.


Washbourne says Macquarie’s close and mature relationship with his business has given him the confidence to become a leader in the edtech space.

“Macquarie has always shown they are willing to take the time to sit down with me as a business founder, and understand our longer term objectives. They are open to working collaboratively, are very approachable, and they continue to stay close and interested. And Macquarie has been able to accommodate everything we’ve required.”

 

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