Partnership with founders to accelerate growth of leading productivity software for Microsoft PowerPoint

International private equity firm, Cinven, today announces that it has agreed to make a majority investment in think-cell (‘think-cell’ or ‘the company’), the developer of charting and layout software for PowerPoint for holistically streamlining professional slide production and thereby improving efficiency and quality when creating and editing presentations. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, think-cell is the world’s leading productivity software for creating data-driven presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint, enabling users to generate sophisticated charts with ease while saving substantial time. think-cell also offers layout functions for automatically arranging text, graphic elements and images while scaling and aligning their content accordingly. The software has more than 800,000 end-users across more than 17,000 organisations globally. think-cell is used by 8 out of the 10 top global consulting firms, 80% of the Fortune 100, the entire DAX 30, and 9 of the top 10 US business schools.

think-cell was established in 2002 by co-founders Markus Hannebauer and Arno Schödl who will continue to be active members of the management team and will both remain significant minority investors in the business alongside Cinven. The partnership will combine the experience and quality of think-cell’s founders and the existing management team with Cinven’s international platform and expertise in driving and accelerating growth.

Cinven’s Technology, Media and Telecom (‘TMT’) Sector team worked closely with its DACH team to identify think-cell as an attractive investment opportunity, given:

  • think-cell’s differentiated and best-in-class proprietary technology;
  • the company’s industry-leading management team, that founded the business and presided over its strong track record of almost 20 years of continued growth;
  • think-cell’s strong software development capabilities, its highly qualified and dedicated employees and its valuable and patent-protected IP;
  • The attractive market dynamics for Microsoft Office productivity software focused on creating and editing presentations, with a large and growing total addressable market;
  • A powerful network effect through the software’s widespread use across corporates and consulting firms, with very strong levels of end-user satisfaction;
  • A compelling opportunity to drive commercial improvements through enhanced sales and marketing efforts, supporting increased penetration of think-cell’s offering; and
  • Significant potential to accelerate international expansion driving additional user growth.

Bruno Schick, Partner at Cinven, commented:

We have tracked think-cell for many years and have been very impressed with its development under the leadership of the founders. The company enjoys a leading position in an attractive market based on its best-in-class product, which empowers users to be significantly more efficient. Cinven sees considerable long-term growth potential and is excited to partner with Markus and Arno to jointly support think-cell to reach the next level of development.

This is an exciting primary opportunity which resulted from the unique combination of Cinven’s strong presence in Germany and our expertise in the technology sector, including through Cinven’s current TMT investments in Drake Software, JAGGAER, RTB House, and”

Chris Good, Partner at Cinven, added:

Cinven is delighted to be able to work alongside Markus, Arno and the outstanding team they have built. think-cell’s product is loved by its users and is recognised to have saved them vast amounts of time, thanks to the ingenuity and effort of its development team over the last twenty years. There is immense future potential in the business, and we are excited to provide support for the next stage of growth, making use of the capabilities developed by the Cinven TMT team through its investments in the technology sector globally.”

The founders of think-cell, Markus Hannebauer, CEO, and Arno Schödl, CTO, said:

“With Cinven we have found the ideal partner to write the next chapter in think-cell’s success story. We combine Cinven’s and our unique strengths – our entrepreneurial experience with think-cell and technical expertise and Cinven’s proven international track record and capabilities in accelerating growth. With the support of Cinven, we look forward to further driving the internationalisation as well as commercialisation of our business. Together, we will continue to invest in providing the best-in-class charting and layout software for Microsoft PowerPoint. We will also continue to empower think-cell’s world-class employees for whom this presents another exciting opportunity to contribute and participate in the next level of think-cell’s development.”

Cinven’s investment in think-cell builds on its successful track record in TMT, including the recent realisations of: Allegro, an online marketplace in Poland, listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in October 2020; Visma, a leading business solutions provider, in May 2019; Ufinet Group, a provider of fibre infrastructure and transmission services to telecom operators, in July 2018; and HEG, a provider of hosting and domain services, in April 2017. Cinven is also a very active and successful investor in the DACH region, having co-led the acquisitions of TK Elevator from ThyssenKrupp AG in February 2020 and Lonza Specialty Ingredients from Lonza Group AG in February 2021. Cinven’s German-headquartered portfolio companies also include STADA, a manufacturer of prescription generics and over-the-counter (‘OTC’) products, Viridium, consolidation platform for the German life insurance market, as well as SYNLAB, the largest European clinical laboratory and medical diagnostic services company, which was successfully listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in April 2021.

The transaction is subject to customary anti-trust approvals.