Software Deal Marries YourMembership, Abila and Aptify

April 7, 2017       Paul Clolery      

Three of the major players in the association management software space are merging under one corporate umbrella, in a move that surprised many in the association management and nonprofit software industry for the speed at which it all come together.

YourMembership (YM) is joining with Abila and Aptify to create a “unified family of brands and a connected eco-system of software and services to better serve associations, nonprofits and government entities,” according to a release from the firm. The trio will be called Community Brands. It becomes one of the largest technology and services groups offering a suite of solutions designed for cause-oriented organizations.

JP Guilbault, president and CEO of YourMembership, will be president of Community Brands, also leading Abila and Aptify. Craig Charlton, announced as Abila’s chief executive officer on Feb. 2, will be leaving the company, according to industry sources.

The acquisition is being funded by Insight Venture Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm that invests in high-growth software and Internet-enabled companies. Venture firm Accel-KKR sold a majority stake in Abila to Insight, which it bought from Sage Software in 2013. Sage Nonprofit Solutions (NPS) was rebranded as Abila after a $101.2-million deal. The nonprofit element was the largest segment of three in the deal.

A spokesman explained that YourMembership, Abila and Aptify will operate under the name Community Brands, which is established within another holding company. That holding company includes Ministry Brands and Education Brands. “So, actually, Community Brands stands side by side with Ministry Brands and Education Brands, but is in no way targeting their markets,” according to the spokesman.

Community Brands is solely focusing on nonprofits, associations and government entities.

Insight Venture Partners reportedly invested more than $1 billion in Ministry Brands, a provider of a SaaS platform for churches, ministries and other faith-based organizations. It purchased the stake from Providence Equity Partners. Another venture firm, Genstar Capital, kept a minority stake.

At the time of the deal, Ministry Brands and Insight announced the formation of a new foundation that will devote a portion of Ministry Brands’ profits to the work of its church and ministry partners. Building on its existing support of domestic and international ministries, the new foundation will provide a vehicle for Ministry Brands to provide grants to the churches and the ministries they serve.

The combined companies have estimated combined revenue of between $140 million and $150 million and approximately 13,000 nonprofit and association clients. All three brands will operate under those names and compete for business, at least initially.

“Building on the success of these industry-leading brands, we will accelerate development and innovation of our solutions,” Guilbault said. “We anticipate great advancements as our combined talent and use of best practices will strengthen each brand’s ability to focus on the specialized needs of their target customers, while bringing new offerings to market faster to solve a vast array of unmet needs.”

Deven Parekh, managing director of Insight Venture Partners, said via a press statement: “The creation of Community Brands is an important step to drive continued innovation and growth within the association and nonprofit sectors.” Founded in 1995, Insight has raised more than $13 billion and invested in more than 250 companies worldwide.

YourMembership, launched in 1998, is a cloud-based association management and learning technology, including certification and online education, career centers and programmatic advertising.

Aptify is a membership management software system started in 1993 and has a suite of strategic and professional services enterprise-level, member-based organizations.

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