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How to build a leading data platform

MidOcean's Zonda playbook, with CEO Jeff Myers


Happy Wednesday. Here’s what we’ve got today…

  • An interview with Jeff Meyers, the CEO of MidOcean Partners portfolio company Zonda


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We sat down this week for a wide-ranging conversation with Jeff Meyers, CEO of MidOcean Partners-backed Zonda, a provider of new construction-focused housing market data, analytics, and insights. Here are some of the highlights:

On Zonda’s recent acquisition of BDX, a popular consumer-facing website for new construction home listings…

“BDX was a company that was originally founded and owned by the top 26 home builders in the United States.

Over the course of over 20 years, BDX became the leading new home construction listing platform, primarily because they had more robust content than anybody. The relationship with these top builders is pretty unique and exclusive, getting direct feeds daily with real-time price updates, new communities, and they're all committed to the BDX platform.”

Meyers’ product vision…

“You expect to be able to get on your device and find everything you want. And in the new home context, it's not a perfect journey. So our goal is to change the whole customer journey: visualizing a site map, putting a particular new home on a particular lot, designing that home, and then through our other app, U-Tour, you can basically book a self-guided tour on your time.

[Consumers] don't want to interface with the salesperson the first time they go to a community, they'd rather have a private, self-guided tour, get comfortable, and then they'll engage when they're ready.

These modules have been built and acquired through us over time, but we haven't stitched them together. So that's the work that's left to be done to make it a seamless journey for the consumer.”

Staying disciplined, even when executing Zonda’s strategic vision…

“Don't underestimate the two companies’ significant synergies. We came at this with a private equity-backed thesis, so everything’s based on a multiple of EBITDA – and this acquisition is absolutely accretive.”

The realities of getting a deal done…

“Buying a company from 26 builders is a hard acquisition. It's not like you go to a private equity firm, get approval, and away you go.

There are 4 BDX board members. We convinced them first and went, ‘Oh, we still have more than 20 builders that need to sign this deal,’ so you can imagine the [process]. Then we had to go through the FTC, so it was a more than seven-month journey for us to get this to close.

The other challenge is we've just been meeting with the BDX team for the first time in detail because of the FTC; there's a lot of things that they couldn’t disclose [during the sale process], so we couldn't really get under the hood.”

How important is your data strategy?

“I told the team, ‘If the data is good, we just struck gold.’ It's so exciting because of the analytics we're now getting on the platform.

All these consumer insights about where people want to move and what house plans they prefer.

Twenty-five percent of all new housing is run through our platform, so we get this incredible consumer preferential data: which brand of appliance? Which cabinet? Which countertop?

You can imagine the type of analytics we can run for both the home builder and the manufacturer.”

 How has Zonda managed add-on processes?

“[On our side,] it's pretty much myself and Andy Reid (Zonda’s COO). We've made seven acquisitions since the original merger, and 100 percent have been self-sourced.

As an entrepreneur, that's the part I love. I love identifying exciting companies and entrepreneurs.

[Previous Zonda add-on] U-Tour is a good example. It was a three-year-old startup that had reached positive EBITDA, and we’d been tracking it. The founder decided that, rather than raise another VC round, I'll exit. And it worked out really well.

So, I'm always trying [to find the next opportunity]. With the market today, it's not exactly a great time to be doing VC, especially PropTech. And so a lot of these companies are looking for capital, and we can be another solution.” 

How have you thought about capital structure and add-on financing in the current environment?

This deal actually de-levered us. It brings a pretty big increase in revenue, and that’s worked to our advantage.

What’s been your experience working with MidOcean?

It's been great. I mean, private equity is money. It's all just capital, right? So that's kind of a level playing field. But what you really want to know is, what's your partner like in good and bad times?

We closed in December of 2018. Everything went great. And then COVID hits. There was a period when COVID hit that, let's face it, everyone's like, oh no, what's gonna happen? You really want to understand how your partner responds, and they were awesome.

MidOcean held weekly calls with all of their portfolio CEOs, because this is an unheard of event. We worked daily together—it was a collaborative effort, not them saying do this, do that.

I thought that was a good test. I've been with private equity in past experiences where when things got troubled it wasn't as much fun. It's never fun, but MidOcean was very proactive and very thoughtful around decisions.

On MidOcean’s operating partner focus…

“I also really like MidOcean’s operating partner model.

One of MidOcean’s resources is an operating partner who oversees all brand marketing – he was CMO at Burton Snowboards and Patagonia, so his brand expertise is amazing. He helped us go through the whole brand platform process and we ended up with Zonda as the ultimate name for the corporate company.

We're also really fortunate to have John Kahan, who was the chief data officer at Microsoft. He's going to help us design the data lake to make sure we've got all the pieces of the puzzle [from the BDX acquisition].  

We also have one of the co-founders of QVC who’s helping us on audience; he's incredibly smart around performance marketing.

So [MidOcean] really provides not just money, but also the operating support — they've been great.”

Looking toward exit:

“I mean, hey, we're six years into this investment. However, this is a big acquisition in year six, right? So, as I think about our exit strategy, there could be either private equity or a strategic partner.

The types of businesses [that could be a good fit] would be data businesses, maybe listing businesses. The key is that we're razor-focused on new construction, which is really hard for the others to pivot to.”


Siemens AG is in talks to sell its Innomotics large motors business to KPS Capital Partners for around €3 billion, per Bloomberg.

SES SA agreed to acquire Intelsat, a satellite communications provider, for $3.1 billion.

PG&E Corp. is in talks to sell a 49.9% stake in its non-nuclear power generation business to KKR & Co.

Perficient Inc. (Nasdaq: PRFT), a listed technology consultant with a market value of around $1.7 billion, is considering a potential sale and is working with advisors to gauge buyer interest.

Far East Drug Co. agreed to acquire a majority stake in Fullerton Health Corp., a Singapore-based operator of more than 550 healthcare facilities, for around $1 billion from RRJ Capital.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton is exploring options for its Marc Jacobs fashion brand amid interest from potential buyers, though LVMH denied it is considering a sale, per Bloomberg.

BBVA has approached Banco Sabadell, a Spanish bank focused on SMEs, with an all-stock acquisition offer.

Playa Bowls, an acai bowl chain backed by Tamarix Equity Partners and Pacific General Holdings, has retained North Point to advise on a potential sale that could value the business at more than $300 million, per Reuters.

EQT AB and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have hired Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley to advise on exit options for their stakes in Nord Anglia, an international school operator that has received interest from KKR, Permira, and H&F.

Sun European Partners agreed to sell Adler & Allan, a UK environmental risk reduction specialist, to Goldman Sachs Alternatives.

H.I.G. acquired USA DeBusk, a provider of industrial decontamination services, from First Reserve.

TA Associates invested in Edmunds GovTech, a provider of ERP solutions for local governments and utilities, with current minority investor LLR Partners retaining its stake.

Wind Point Partners acquired MOREgroup, a Fort Worth-based architecture and engineering firm.

Capitol Pain Institute, a portfolio company of Iron Path Capital, acquired Pain Care Surgery of Louisville, an ambulatory surgical center.

Climavision, a weather modeling and forecasting company backed by TPG, acquired Intersphere, a subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting specialist.

Emeram Capital Partners agreed to acquire CoCoNet AG, a provider of digital corporate banking tools.

Shore Capital Partners acquired PRO-spectus, a provider of market access consulting and patient services.

WindRose Health Investors acquired SubjectWell, a patient access marketplace.

Accor SA is in late-stage talks to acquire luxury hotel brand Habitas through its majority-owned subsidiary Ennismore, per Bloomberg.

Your Behavioral Health, a Comvest Partners portfolio company, has acquired Insight Treatment Programs, a Southern California provider of teen outpatient programs for mental health and addiction treatment.

Anaplan has agreed to acquire Fluence Technologies, a Toronto-based financial planning and reporting software provider.

Kain Capital invested in Essen Health Care, an independent provider in the Bronx.

Mediawan, a KKR portfolio company, has agreed to acquire Leonine Studios, a media production studio.

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, owners of Wrexham AFC, have acquired a minority stake in Club Necaxa, a Mexican football club.


Viking Holdings, a TPG-backed luxury cruise line, raised $1.5 billion in its IPO and opened trading on the NYSE at an $11.3 billion market value.


Tech, Vertical SaaS, & Misc. Enterprise

Island, a startup developing secure enterprise browser tech, raised $174.5 million in Series D funding led by Coatue, with participation from Sequoia Capital.

AiDash, a wildfire risk platform for utilities, raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Lightrock, with participation from Duke Investments, SE Ventures, and G2 Venture Partners.

Oasis Security, an AI-enabled cloud identity security, governance, and compliance firm, raised $35 million in Series A-1 funding. Accel, Cyberstarts, and Sequoia Capital led the round.

Peregrine, developer of an emergency response data-sharing platform, raised $30 million in Series B funding co-led by Friends & Family Capital and Fifth Down Capital, with participation from Goldcrest, Craft, and Godfrey Capital.

Elisity, a developer of identity-based microsegmentation security software, raised $37 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from AllegisCyber Capital and Two Bear Capital.

Inhabitr, an AI-powered commercial furnishing platform, raised $27 million in Series B funding led by Hamilton Ventures, with participation from Greybrook Realty Partners.

Carbonfact, a fashion industry carbon management software startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Alven led the round, with participation from existing backer Y Combinator and new investor Headline.

Ory Corp, a developer of an open-source identity management platform, raised $5 million in Series A extension funding led by Insight Partners and Balderton Capital.

Seam, a customer data analytics startup, raised $5 million in seed funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Colle Capital, F7 Ventures, Ritual Capital, and Umami Capital.


Ageras, an SMB accounting platform, raised €82 million in new funding from Investcorp, Folketrygdfondet, and Lazard.

Arbol, a climate risk insurance startup, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Giant Ventures and Opera Tech Ventures co-led, with participation from Mubadala Capital.

Securitize, a tokenization and fundraising platform, raised $47 million in new funding, led by BlackRock, with participation from Hamilton Lane, ParaFi Capital, and Tradeweb Markets.

Baselayer, a Graph AI-enabled risk verification platform, raised $6.5 million in seed funding. Torch Capital and Afore co-led, with participation from Founder Collective, Picus Capital, and Gilgamesh, among others.

X10, a London-based hybrid crypto exchange, raised $6.5 million in seed funding from Tioga Capital, Semantic Ventures, Cherry Ventures, Starkware, and Cyber Fund.

Briskpe, a cross-border SME payments platform, raised $5 million in seed funding from PayU.

Backflip, an ‘all-in-one’ real estate tech platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from Vertical Venture Partners, LiveOak Venture Partners, and Revel Partners.

Consumer & Media

Beehiiv, a newsletter-focused email marketing platform, raised $33 million in Series B funding led by NEA, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sapphire Sport.

Urban Jungle, a UK-based insurtech startup for renters and homeowners, raised $14 million in new funding from Intact Ventures, Ingka Investments, Mundi Ventures, Eka Ventures, and Sony Innovation Fund.

Screenverse, a DOOH programmatic advertising startup, raised $10.5 million in Series A funding led by Volition Capital.

Baxus, an online marketplace for tradeable high-value wines and spirits, raised $5 million in seed funding. Multicoin Capital led, with participation from Solana Ventures, Narwhal Ventures, and FJ Labs.


Enlaza, a biotech developing covalent drugs, raised $100 million in Series A funding. J.P. Morgan led, with participation from Frazier Life Sciences, Avalon Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Samsara BioCapital, along with new backers Amgen Ventures, Regeneron Ventures, Bregua Corp., Pappas Capital, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Adaptilens, a startup developing corrective intraocular lenses, raised $17.5 million in Series A funding led by Perceptive Advisors, with participation from Pillar VC, 380 Cap, and Accanto Partners.

Trovo Health, a startup optimizing clinical workflows with AI, raised $15 million in seed funding led by Oak HC/FT.

neuroClues, a biotech focused on neuro diseases, raised €5 million from White Fund, the European Commission’s EIC Accelerator, and InvestBW.

 Industrials, Greentech, & Other

Thintronics, a California-based specialty materials startup, raised $23 million in Series A funding co-led by Maverick Capital and Translink Capital.

LiNova Energy, a developer of polymer cathode battery technology, raised $15.8 million in Series A funding led by Catalus Capital, with participation from Saft and Chevron Technology Ventures.

Shinkei, a startup developing commercial fish processing technology, raised $6 million in seed funding led by Cantos, with participation from 8VC, Impatient Ventures, and existing backers Susa/HMC, Carya Venture Partners, Ravelin Capital, Red & Blue Ventures, and Undeterred Capital.


BlackRock launched a new Riyadh-based Middle East strategy with an initial commitment of up to $5 billion from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Hyde Park Venture Partners raised $98 million for its fourth venture fund.


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