TrustYou Completes Management Buyout, Splits from Recruit Group
After a 5-year partnership with Recruit Group, TrustYou seizes the opportunity to buy back full ownership of company shares with a renewed vision and an opportunity to expand and grow in the hospitality space.
Today, TrustYou announced that with backing from reputed technology investor Ventech, they have completed a management buyback of shares in a recent acquisition. As a result, they will no longer be under the umbrella of Recruit Group, a leading technology group based in Japan. In 2017, Recruit acquired TrustYou intending to invest and expand in the international hospitality and travel market. Recruit made moves outside of Japan to discover “Opportunities for Life” worldwide. Established in 2008, TrustYou has grown from a humble start-up and led the way in travel tech with a strong leadership team that appealed to Recruit and their principles of entrepreneurship within their business holdings and a vast portfolio of software companies. Recruit realized the potential of TrustYou, seeing that the software company established itself globally with its unique all-in-one Guest Experience platform.
Recruit was very pleased with TrustYou’s development and sees a strong future as they continue to innovate and focus on the customer journey. Since Recruit’s portfolio strategy no longer aligns with the further growth of TrustYou, the team was very supportive of the management buyout. “The opportunity to include TrustYou in our overall strategy for the last five years was a positive experience for us to lean into the hospitality sector and understand the importance of technology in travel. TrustYou has a strong foundation, and we have no doubt the company will continue to seek innovative solutions to enhance the guest experience,” says Yoshihiro Kitamura, President and Representative Director of Recruit Co., Ltd.
With new ownership comes a new vision for the company. Ben Jost, CEO of TrustYou, states, “We see TrustYou's future in helping hospitality and travel to make guests happy. Today's core focus is to provide a best-in-class platform for hoteliers, DMO's and travel partners to measure and act on guest happiness via surveys, reviews, and guest communication. We will also be very active in acquiring and building more best-of-breed technology and tools to further increase guest happiness and revenue while decreasing operational cost.” Rounding out the remaining capital contribution, Ullrich Kastner, Founder and CEO of MyHotelShop, also participated.
Seeing the value in this opportunity, venture firm Ventech, with the support of Ventech Managing Partner Christian Claussen, and Jan Webering with BauwensX, led the buyout financing. TrustYou founder & CEO Ben Jost is also a significant investor in the acquisition. Rounding out the remaining capital contribution, Ullrich Kastner, Founder and CEO of MyHotelShop.
“When the opportunity presented itself to invest in Ben and the team, it was an easy decision. We see a clear path to a significant return on our investment and have complete confidence in the team, and product, to deliver outstanding results.” said Claussen.
Jan Webering, former CEO of one of Europe’s largest engineering IT Service companies, Avenga, and the new chairman of TrustYou’s board, said of the acquisition, “The new holding will focus on creating value by developing technologies that support hospitality providers in delivering an exceptional guest experience. The speed by which consumer expectations change will require dynamic and scalable technology solutions to ensure that travel and hospitality companies can consistently deliver a great experience. In the end, we are here to help make guests happy.”
Ventech is a leading Seed & Series A-focused global venture capital firm. Founded in 1998, Ventech backs the most innovative and globally ambitious digital technology entrepreneurs with 200+ investments and 80+ exits to date. With its dual structure platform, Ventech manages dedicated funds for Europe (from Paris, Berlin, Munich & Helsinki) and Asia (from Shanghai and Hong Kong).