Friday, November 13, 2015

Exit: Principia sells stake in Docebo to Klass Capital

Milan, November 13, 2015Principia SGR, a Milan, Italy-based venture capital firms operating in the Internet and Medtech space, which joined the company with a seed investment of €2.4M, has sold its 28.74% stake in the E-learning platform Docebo to the Canadian VC fund Klass Capital which in July had already bought other shares of the startup founded in 2005 by Claudio Erba.

Principia SGR sold its stake of 28.74% in Docebo SpA, an e-learning platform of SaaS (Software as a Service) founded in 2005 by Claudio Erba, the entrepreneur who bet everything on technology combined with corporate training at a distance. Italy-based venture capital firms operating in the Internet and Medtech space, which joined the company with a seed investment of €2.4M, has sold its 28.74% stake in the E-learning platform Docebo to the Canadian VC fund Klass Capital which in July had already bought other shares of the startup founded in 2005 by Claudio Erba.

Principia's share was taken over by Klass Capital, a Canadian venture capital fund who already invested in Docebo in February when it made a growth equity investment of $3M to accelerate the growth of its SaaS enterprise e-learning platform and fuel expansion into the North American market. And it is not the first time that Klass Capital acquires company shares in Docebo. Indeed, just after only for months, in July 2015 Klass Capital decided to acquire Seeweb's shares in Docebo. Seeweb an Italian cloud, server and web hosting company is Docebo's first angel investor who supported the startup from the outset with an initial investment of €150k. Seeweb was the first to believe, and invest, in Docebo. In fact, Docebo used Seeweb Cloud Infrastructure during its transition to a SaaS business model. It only took a few years for Docebo to become a prominent international cloud software provider in the e-learning industry, which has paid off tremendously.

Principia SGR, instead, had entered Docebo in 2012 with a seed investment of €2.4M. Investment that has contributed to the business development of the company by growing revenue five times. And it is the rapid company growth coupled with Docebo's ability to scale revenues internationally that brought to increase the investment of Klass Capital in the company and to commit additional budget for future M&A operations. 

Present in more than 70 countries around the world, Docebo allows organizations of all kinds (especially large companies but also SMEs) to deliver and track processes of distance learning in real time. Docebo (Latin for “I will teach”) provides a Corporate Learning Management System (LMS) that enables organizations of all sizes to plan, deliver, track and certify online and classroom training activities. Docebo plans to use the funds to invest in its North American expansion and finance the continued development of its E-Learning ecosystem.

The Company is an international SaaS provider. Over 800 B2B clients use the system in over 80 countries worldwide (including Bloomberg Institute, Thomson Reuters, FreshBooks, and Autodesk among others) and it is available in over 30 languages. The Company has offices in the United States, Italy and Dubai.

The Company’s success lies in the ease-of-use and intuitive design of its platform, along with its proprietary sales and marketing process. Docebo’s ‘secret-sauce’ consists of a multi-channel customer relationship strategy and engine. Docebo’s system enables the team to ensure that all requests are followed-up rapidly and that customers’ needs are addressed by its highly qualified pre-sales teams. Thery are able to onboard and support customers virtually in an effective manner, which is essential for the company global strategy. Given the rapid growth of Docebo's business in the UK and North America in the past 2 years, the company find the partnership with Klass Capital highly strategic and aligned with its long-term goals and objectives for the global market. Docebo has always taken a user experience (UX) driven approach to developing its software, which stems from its design team’s culture – the design team being based in Italy. Its LMS is user-friendly and has a modern look and feel that is consistent across all devices, including mobile and tablet.

Most of Docebo's customers have very specific needs when it comes to their training programs. Docebo is the only Enterprise LMS that allows a highly modular approach to training implementation. Thanks to its proprietary web apps marketplace Docebo's customers virtually “assemble” the LMS according to their requirements, especially in self-provisioning. With this approach its customers benefit from increased usability and adoption, and hence ROI.

The sale of the stake has allowed the Principia to realize an IRR (internal rate of return) of 25% in less than three years. Certainly not a great result for a venture capital fund.

Chiomenti Studio Legale advised Principia SGR in the sale of the stake to Klass Capital.

About Docebo - Docebo is a Cloud E-Learning solutions provider that is revolutionizing the online training market with its SaaS LMS. Docebo has been ranked in the world’s Top 10 for SaaS E-Learning solutions providers, and in the Top 3 for B2B LMSs. Docebo is generally regarded as one of the industry’s most comprehensive solutions for training management, and has been chosen by some of the world’s most respected companies to achieve operational efficiency. For more information about Docebo, visit its website at

About Klass Capital - Klass is a growth equity firm established to provide expansion stage capital to high growth enterprise software businesses. The company’s target equity investment size is between $1 million and $20 million. Klass moves quickly, has a collaborative approach, and strongly believes in adding value to its partners. Klass has built a portfolio of 15 high growth enterprise software businesses. For more information about Klass, visit its website at

About Principia SGR - Established in 2002, Principia is one of the leading Italian venture capital funds. Currently the company manages three investment funds, called Principia Fund, Principia II and Principia III - Health.
Through the first two funds - today fully invested - Principia has funded about 40 companies in the operations of start up capital and expansion capital (ie. early stage private equity) 

Principia Fund has completed its investment period and started the divestment process of the portfolio, which is today composed of a remaining investment. The fund Principia II, currently under management and development, had an investment strategy focused on "digital" and, for reasons of public policy (co-investor at 50% is DIT-DigItalia), invested on projects located in regions of Central and Southern Italy.
In the second half of 2014, Principia made the first closing of its third fund, Principia III - Health, raising €160MPrincipia III - Health is the first Italian fund of Venture Capital and Growth Capital, specifically dedicated to the Healthcare sector. Principia III - Health acquires holdings both majority and minority stakes in target companies with high innovation content, including start-ups, industrial or academic spin-off, companies in expansion phase and SMEs. The selection of target companies is carried out between companies active in specific areas of the medtech sector. Main objective of Principia III - Health is to contribute to the development of a sector that in Italy suffers from the lack of financial support, although both characterized by the presence of high skills - and internationally recognized - quality.