Consortium led by Smartfin acquires leading cybersecurity software provider Hex-Rays
Liège (BE), October 14, 2022 – Hex-Rays, a Belgian cybersecurity company that develops advanced reverse engineering software solutions, has been acquired by a consortium of investors led by Smartfin, a leading European venture capital and private equity investor, and including co-investors SFPIM and SRIW. Ilfak Guilfanov, the founder of Hex-Rays and architect of the technology platform, also reinvests a substantial amount in the new structure.
Founded in 2005, Hex-Rays developed a set of best-in-class software reverse engineering tools for mainly IT security companies and government organisations. Hex-Rays’ flagship product IDA Pro allows IT security professionals to effectively translate a software’s binary code (consisting of ones and zeros) into a human readable text (an approximation of the software’s actual source code), to reveal and understand its original design, architecture, and logic. The main use cases are IT security audits, internal stress testing, bug bounty programs, investigating new virus samples and validating security concerns. Over the past 10 years, Hex-Rays’ revenues have grown on average with 23% per year, crossing the €20m mark in 2020, at extraordinary EBITDA margins.
With this transaction, Hex-Rays aims to expand and professionalise its organisation in anticipation of its next growth phase, while also accelerating the further automation and simplification of its software solutions.
“Smartfin is excited to leverage its prior experience by actively contributing to the further growth and international expansion of Hex-Rays, together with Ilfak, SFPIM and SRIW.” said Bart Luyten, Founding Partner at Smartfin. “Hex-Rays has built a unique market-leading technology in a highly successful manner and is well positioned to further build on that strong basis, in order to capture the ample growth opportunities that the core software reverse engineering and adjacent markets will undoubtedly offer over the next few years.”
“This partnership is an important milestone and opens new horizons for Hex-Rays.” added Ilfak Guilfanov, Founder of Hex-Rays. “I look forward to this newly established alliance, which will allow Hex-Rays to further professionalise its organisation and accelerate its product innovation efforts, as a means to jointly unlock the numerous international growth paths we have identified so far.”
“SRIW and SFPIM were happy to invest alongside Smartfin and Hex-Rays’ founder in expanding the organization of this world-class tech company” said Leon Cappaert, Investment Manager at SFPIM. “This transaction is a fine illustration of a public/private partnership and will contribute to SRIW’s objective of strengthening the Walloon region’s technological ecosystem” added Nicolas Dhaene, Investment Manager at SRIW.
EY and Stibbe acted as advisors to Ilfak Guilfanov.
Deloitte and Allen & Overy acted as advisors to Smartfin, SFPIM and SRIW.
Hex-Rays is a Belgian cybersecurity company that offers advanced software reverse engineering tools, mainly for IT security companies and government organisations. Its flagship product, IDA Pro, has become the de-facto standard for the analysis of hostile code, vulnerability research and commercial off-the-shelf validation. Hex-Rays is trusted by professional software engineers and leading security teams across the globe, ranging from private users to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Hex-Rays is headquartered in Liège, Belgium.
Smartfin is a European private equity and venture capital investor, managing ca. €380m in assets and investing in mid to later-stage technology companies with a focus on B2B technologies. Smartfin has an open-ended investment philosophy and invests throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. The team combines a successful venture capital and private equity track-record with extensive operational experience in building and managing leading international technology companies which differentiates it as an experienced hands-on value-added partner to its portfolio companies.
The Federal Holding and Investment Company (Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissement (SFPI) in French or Federale Participatie- en Investeringsmaatschappij (FPIM) in Dutch) is the Belgian Sovereign Wealth Fund. SFPIM acts as a trusted partner in helping Belgian companies, SME as well as scale-ups, to become a reference in their industry by providing smart capital solutions. SFPIM also plays a major role to safeguard the long-term stability of the Belgian economy by contributing to the anchoring of strategic assets through smart capital solutions in both promising and established companies or ecosystems. SFPIM invests in a wide range of companies and sectors embracing both historical sectors (such as lifesciences & healthcare, finance and aeronautics) as well as new and thriving sectors (such as energy & utilities, transport & mobiity and impact investing). SFPIM has about €8.9bn in assets under management for the Federal State.
SRIW (Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie) contributes to the economic development of the Walloon region through partial financing of Walloon companies or development projects located in Wallonia. It invests in growth, alongside private investors through loans and equity.