• Partners for the journey

  • Partners for the journey

  • Partners for the journey

We are Strada


Strada Partners is a European growth-oriented investment firm founded by Bart Wouters and Matthias Vandepitte, who have a combined 25+ years of experience in private equity.

The team’s track record includes investments across industries, with a particular focus on software, tech-enabled service businesses and healthcare.

We build a concentrated portfolio of investments we can support over the longer term and provide with the necessary tools to compound growth on a pan-European level.

We provide patient capital, with impatience to succeed. We are not afraid of the road less travelled.

We are Strada, Partners for the journey.

They travel with us

TOBA

Toba HR Solutions

Axi Software

axi software

Invincible Software Holdings

Strada Partners

Our team

 

Phaedra Beyers

Operations & Compliance

Phaedra started her career at Allen & Overy’s corporate M&A department, sharpened her legal, paralegal and compliance skills at Gimv’s legal department, supported the investment team at Fortino Capital as both legal assistant and office manager and supported Pamica’s legal activities.

With a degree in both translation and journalism, she is an expert in corporate communications and with her built-up experience of +15years in various paralegal roles, she oversees Strada Partners’ activities from a compliance as well as operational perspective.

After hours, Phaedra is enthusiastically running her  beloved  toddlers around on her cargo bike and looking after her pets.

Matthias Vandepitte

Managing Partner

Matthias started his career as an engineer at ExxonMobil in Belgium and Italy, and moved into private equity after his MBA. He joined Gimv in 2011, with a focus technology and industrial companies in the European SME space.  From 2016 to 2021 he worked at Fortino Capital where he led the EUR 240M Growth private equity fund focusing exclusively on mature European software and IT services companies.  His key strengths are buy & build, software and digitalization of traditional businesses. 

Matthias is fluent in Dutch, French, English and Italian, and has a basic knowledge of German.  He holds a MBA from the London Business School (UK) and a Master’s degree in Engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (BEL) and ENSIMAG Grenoble (FR).

What else should you know about me? 

"I am a native of Leuven and have lived in Sicily and London, but always return to the great city of Antwerp, where I settled after my studies. I am blessed to have three young boys with my wonderful partner Christine, who works in corporate communications and gracefully manages all the complexity that entails. I am more comfortable on a bike than on a golf course, and I do not plan to retire before I can complete an amazing deal in Italy."

Strada investments

AXI, multi-product software & IT group

Prior investments*

Buybay, retail return & overstock management 

Cenosco, asset integrity management software

Contraload, leading European pooling and rental services for plastic pallets (acquired by Tosca)

Dobco Medical Systems, radiology software (acquired by Dedalus)

Efficy CRM, European buy & build of European CRM companies

Incendin, European leader in fire protection chemicals (acquired by Straco)

Itineris, utility billing software

Maxxton, property management software

MobileXpense, expense management software

Odin, Dutch IT services player (acquired by Apax Partners)

Piesync, data connectivity software (acquired by Hubspot CRM)

SigmaConso, financial consolidation (acquired by Prophix/HG Capital)

SupplyStack, supply chain software (acquired by Transporeon)

Trendminer, predictive analytics software (acquired by Software AG)

Vaultspeed, data warehouse mgt software (carved out from Cronos Groep)

*Deals represent prior experience at Gimv, Fortino Capital and deals on personal account.  Other investment professionals not employed by Strada Partners were involved in the identification, evaluation, negotiation, investment, execution and operations and any sale processes with respect to such companies

Bart Wouters

Managing Partner

Bart is an engineer by training, who started his career at Bain & Company in Brussels as a strategy consultant. He has over 12 years of experience as private equity investor in mid- to large-size companies (EUR 100-500M+ equity checks) across Europe at Bain Capital (London and NY) and Core Equity Holdings (Brussels), where he was a Managing Director. Bart focuses on growth and consolidation stories in business services and healthcare.

Some key deals before setting-up Strada include:

- Verisure (European market leader in home monitoring)

- Maisons du Monde (pan-European omnichannel retailer)

- Portman Dental Care (pan-European dentistry roll-up)

- Id Verde (B2B green services consolidation)

He has also invested and privately supported several scale-ups such as MaisonRouge (acquired by Alychlo), Huapii (acquired by SD Workx), Optimile (acquired by Touring) and Carbon-Alt-Delete.

His key strengths are buy-and-build, financing, developing teams and supporting companies in thinking through and testing out growth strategies.

In his spare time, Bart is a gifted table tennis player and board game fanatic.

*Deals represent prior experience at Bain Capital, Core Equity Holdings and deals on personal account.  Other investment professionals not employed by Strada Partners were involved in the identification, evaluation, negotiation, investment, execution and operations and any sale processes with respect to such companies.

Nicholas De Poorter

Investment Manager

Nicholas is a business engineering graduate from KU Leuven, studied abroad in Bangkok and Lisbon and successfully completed all three levels of the CFA program. He gained a solid foundation in corporate finance, valuations and due diligence during his time in the Deals Rotation Program at PwC Belgium. Later, he worked in the corporate development teams of Cargill and Kraken Digital Currency Exchange, where he advised on a wide range of M&A transactions and investments across the food, agriculture and blockchain industries.

Nicholas strongly believes in balancing his professional work - healthy mind - with physical activity - healthy body - and has a passion for spicy food and (blockchain) technology.

Some key deals prior joining Strada Partners:

·  Divestiture of Cargill Global Malting Division to Boortmalt

·  Cargill investment in Bflike

·  Cargill acquisition of Leman Cake Decorations

Kaylee De Troch

Finance Director

Kaylee is a Business Administration graduate of Ghent University and deepened her corporate finance knowledge with the Executive Corporate Finance program at Vlerick Business School.

She started her career at Tobania, a Belgian IT-consulting firm, in corporate M&A, where she built up experience in corporate finance and transactions.

In her role as Finance Director, Kaylee will oversee the fund finance function and take an active role in our deal & portfolio work.

She is passionate about learning and enjoys dancing in her free time.

Key deals prior to joining Strada:

  • Acquisition of Python Predictions by Tobania
  • Divestment of Toba HR Solutions to Strada Partners
  • Divestment of Assua (holding company of Tobania) to Sopra Steria

Louis Busschaert

Investment Associate

Louis is a business engineering graduate from KU Leuven, studied abroad in Canada, and completed an additional masters' in financial management at Vlerick Business School. After his studies, he further sparked his interest for private equity while working in Berlin at Moonfare during a 3-month internship.

Over the past 2,5 years, he worked in the Transaction and Restructuring Services department of Eight Advisory Belgium, offering support on a wide range of M&A transactions and carve-outs across IT, Energy, industrial, and healthcare industries.

Louis is a curious individual with a strong appetite for experiencing new cultures and food and learning about new technologies.

Community

Our Strada Fellows are an international community of entrepreneurs and professionals who we love to work with and whose stunning and diverse expertise strongly contribute to Strada Partners and its portfolio companies.

Meet our first fellows below. Stay tuned as we unveil more fellows over the coming months.

 

Michael Richards

Educated at Southampton University (Aeronautical Engineering), Michael worked for Dun & Bradstreet in London before founding his first company in 1991.
Michael is a seasoned technology investor specialising in growth SaaS companies. His experience includes start-ups, raising capital, UK & international acquisitions and exits.

Most recently, Michael led Webexpenses from an early-stage UK business to being a global provider of Expense Management solutions, which was acquired in 2021 by ELMO Software in Australia.

Michael has three teenage children and lives in Oxford and Antwerp.
Interests include travel, politics and cycling.

As advisor and investor, Michael will be supporting Strada Partners with the screening of new opportunities and by guiding our portfolio companies through ambitious growth trajectories.

Tim Vandecasteele

Tim Vandecasteele is co-founder and CPO at Silverfin, building the leading compliance and advisory platform for financial services.
He started his career at Philips, leading the software team developing the user experience for televisions. He moved to Vasco Data Security for a few years, helping to develop a new authentication platform for banks and governments and started Silverfin together with Joris Van Der Gucht 10 years ago.
Tim is passionate about using technology to create simple products and solving complex problems. 

As advisor and investor, Tim will be the go-to person for Strada Partners and its portfolio companies for any software, product and technology development challenges.

Niels Decraene

Niels is an electrical engineer by training, and has been working mainly in senior sales roles in high growth enterprise cyber security software businesses across Europe, first at Onespan and currently at Transmit Security, where he built out the entire European sales activities.

In addition, he has been a valuable advisor to various start-ups, supporting them in setting-up and scaling their sales efforts.

In his spare time you can find Niels playing indoor football (he nearly turned pro!).

Niels will support Strada and its portfolio companies on topics related to cybersecurity and software sales.

Jacqueline Blatt

Jacqueline Blatt is an accomplished finance and strategy executive with over 12 years of experience in investment banking, growth equity investing, and operational finance, including nearly eight years as a strategic thought-partner to Rent the Runway’s CEO and executive team. Most recently, Jacqueline served as Rent the Runway’s Head of Investor Relations, having also spent time as Chief of Staff and as a leader on the Finance team. Jacqueline led Rent the Runway's IPO execution in 2021 and worked closely with the executive team across strategy, business development, partnerships, as well as internal, external, and board communications. She currently spends time advising early-stage consumer businesses. Prior to her tenure at RTR, she was on the investment team at General Atlantic and worked in M&A at Blackstone. 

Jacqueline graduated summa cum laude from the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania, and lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. As advisor and investor, Jacqueline will be supporting Strada Partners with evaluating new opportunities, providing consumer expertise, and guiding our portfolio companies with an American perspective and business network.

Steve Symons

Steve Symons is a successful serial entrepreneur and business leader with over 15 years of experience as the Founder and CEO of BuzziSpace, a leading manufacturer and seller of premium acoustic furniture and lighting.  

With a strong passion for design, technology and innovation, Steve has led BuzziSpace to become a global player in the industry, with a presence in both Europe and the US, catering to clients such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Coca-Cola and several major banks.  The company teamed up with US-based Haworth in 2018, and Steve still serves as its chairman.

Steve is a master at building and scaling businesses internationally, and his expertise has made him a valuable advisor to Strada. 

Steve owns a spirits company (HAVN) and he’s a lover of all things design-related.  Engaging in anything sporty in his spare time.

Favourite quote: “`When the world zigs.  Zag.”

Peter Vanham

Peter Vanham is executive editor at Fortune, an American multimedia business publication. He leads the magazine’s coverage on sustainability, impact and ESG, writing for Fortune’s CEO Daily and authoring the Impact Report newsletter. Peter is the author of several business books including “Stakeholder Capitalism” (with Klaus Schwab, 2021) and “Before I Was CEO” (2016), which have appeared in over 15 languages. 

Before joining Fortune, Peter was head of the International Media Council and head of chairman’s communications at the World Economic Forum, where he wrote about globalization, technology, and business leadership. He has also been a regular contributor to Financial Times, writing on emerging markets, and published articles in Harvard Business Review, Insider, Quartz and Foreign Policy. 

He holds master’s degrees in management research (ESCP, 2023), global leadership (WEF, 2018), business journalism (Columbia, 2012) and commercial engineering (KU Leuven, 2008). He lives with his wife and two daughters in Geneva, Switzerland.  

Jan Van de Poel

Jan Van de Poel is an accomplished entrepreneur and engineer with a diverse range of experiences in the tech industry. He is the founder of SeeMe.ai, a no-code MLOps platform that allows companies to leverage cutting-edge AI while focussing on their business challenges.

In 2010, Jan co-founded Flow Pilots, a full-service agency specializing in mobile applications and digital transformation for enterprises. He served as  a partner until the acquisition in 2017.

Jan was also actively involved as a coach for CoderDojo Belgium from 2013 to 2018, setting up the Hasselt Dojo together with support from the PXL and UHasselt. As a coach, he mentors aspiring young coders and helps them develop their programming and problem solving skills.

He holds both a Master of Civil Engineering in Computer Science from KU Leuven, which he completed with distinction in 2007, as well as a Master’s degree in Commercial Engineering with a specialisation in Information Management Systems from KU Leuven, which he earned in 2005.

As advisor, Jan will be to go-to person for Strada Partners and its portfolio companies for any AI challenges. 

James McArthur

James McArthur joined Hurtigruten as Group CFO in May 2023. Hurtigruten is a global leader in sustainable adventure and expedition travel with over 2,400 employees from across 50 nationalities providing polar and warm water expedition cruises via a fleet of purpose-built vessels operating around the world. Hurtigruten comes from a proud 130-year history of sailing the Norwegian coast and artic circle.

He holds a Master of Finance from the University Of Melbourne (Australia) and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Saint Louis (USA)

James began his career in Investment Banking at UBS AG working across Sydney, London and US transactions largely supporting private equity clients. Since then, James has lead teams in Strategy, M&A, finance and Country CEO roles. James has recently worked across Europe and the US working for a large private equity backed multi-national healthcare group. He has deep experience in business turn around, process and system implementation, incentive models and growth strategy execution.

Growing up on a large family agricultural property in Southern Australia James is passionate about the outdoors, wildlife and the environment. He seeks out skiing and travel adventures and recently completed training and certification for back country ski touring and avalanche rescue to safely access expedition and mountaineering routes. James competed as a professional tennis player after graduating from University in the US.

James is married with two young children and currently based in London.

As a fellow, James will be the go-to person for international buy-and-build stories in healthcare and services.

Gatien Gillon

Chief Operating Officer

Gatien Gillon is the Chief Operating Officer and member of the Executive Board of Rubix, Europe's largest distributor of industrial maintenance and repair products with close to 3.5 Bn revenue, he has held this position since 2017. He is based in London. Gatien started his career as a consultant at McKinsey in 2005, before launching his own business process outsourcing company, later sold to ATOS. Following the sale of that company, he joined PE firm Bain Capital as Vice President in 2012, where he was in charge of improving operating performances of portfolio companies. In 2014, Gatien joined one of Bain Capital’s portfolio companies, Verisure, as Group Director in charge of Innovation, Products and Digital.

In his role as Strada Fellow, Gatien will be the go-to person for guidance on operational excellence, business processes and Innovation & Digitalisation.