Perforce boss: ‘I’m just the cook’, flips firm to private equity

New owners focus on undefined 'next stage' of growth

Perforce Software’s founder has given up the reins of the company - and its privately held status - and sold the firm to group Summit Partners.

As well as a lump of cash, the 21-year-old software lifecycle management outfit gets a new CEO, in the shape of industry veteran Janet Dryer.

In a blog post, Perforce founder and former CEO Christopher Seiwald said, “like Steven Seagal in the movie Under Siege ("I'm just the cook"), under it all I'm still just the programmer, all dressed up. And all the while I've been looking for the real CEO to step in so I can get back to my programming in the basement."

In a more official statement via Summit, Seiwald said, “I have always been committed to doing the right thing for our customers and for the company, and I believe Janet Dryer is the right person to take Perforce forward while maintaining its unique culture and values. I’m thrilled to see Perforce enter this next phase of growth.”

Summit managing director Peter Rottier added, “We believe Perforce’s addressable market is significant and growing, driven by the increasing complexity of enterprise development and deployment environments. We are delighted to partner again with Janet and look forward to working together to help Perforce capitalize on the opportunity and accelerate its growth.”

Seiwald’s blog post added, “With Janet, Summit Partners will guide Perforce towards growth, exposing new opportunities previously not in our range. Janet has worked closely with Summit twice before and it's a partnership that's proven successful.”

What exactly that next phase of growth will be isn’t detailed. However, groups like Summit aren’t exactly in the businesses of building communities for the greater good.

Presumably it will be looking to ramp up the firm’s revenues – while keeping a tight rein on costs – with a view to offloading it at some point in the future, either through an IPO or by selling it on.

A combination with another firm, perhaps in Summit’s own portfolio, would also be an option. Summit has a large portfolio of tech investments, but while the descriptions of many start with the letters SaaS, there are few that operate directly in Perforce’s developer-focused space.

However, Summit does have a raft of operations, governance and process investments, which could conceivably be welded together into some sort of broader enterprise ops platform. ®

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