ftopia, a supplier of secure online file-sharing workspaces in SaaS mode (Software as a Service) for professionals, announces that its data-rooms have been used by TravelHorizon Group to manage both its fund-raising and acquisition processes.
TravelHorizon Group, an online tour operator, has just closed a 20 million Euro round of financing and the acquisition of Sportura, its Dutch competitor and specialist in ski-related trips. This new step allows the TravelHorizon Group, the only global company in its sector which is already established in 7 countries, to become number 1 in the mountain holidays business in Europe.
With this acquisition the presence of TravelHorizon Group is considerably reinforced in all resort types and it becomes the largest tour operator present in 10 out of the 15 biggest French ski resorts.
AGF Private Equity, CM-CIC Private Capital, together with Wellington Partners, an existing shareholder, managed the fund-raising.
Coordination and control of information flows between many players involving important volumes of data.
In order to carry out these complex operations involving many companies, TravelHorizon Group chose to use the secured workspaces of ftopia, that allow fast, dynamic, flexible and simple sharing of confidential files. The various project members exclusively communicated within these data-rooms - electronic equivalents of a private meeting room - centralizing all shared, viewed and analyzed information related to the procedures.
The various transactions were processed requiring the intervention of:
- Legal Councils:
o for the company: Akléa and Morgan Lewis;
o for the investors: Gide Loyrette;
o for the seller: Orsay Law.
- Due diligence:
o for the company: Ernst & Young;
o for the investors: Grant-Thornton;
o for the seller: Mazars.
In this operation, TravelHorizon Group was confronted with several difficulties: allowing many players to work in a coordinated way on very broad volumes of data related to several companies while controlling the flow of information.
Why ftopia was chosen:
The use of e-mails was completely inappropriate. Traditional ftp servers ran up against many partners security policies - either concerning the installation of, or during the creation of new files (several days would have been necessary to establish multiple accesses after an extraordinarily long initial set-up period was completed) – not to mention the unfriendly client interface.
Traditional data-room offers were considered to be too expensive and complex to be implemented given that plans and procedures would have required an important time investment from the users.
“The extremely user-friendly ftopia environment allowed us to communicate directly amongst ourselves, operational people, without having to involve the engineering services of our respective companies,” declares Emmanuel Champetier de Ribes, Chief Financial Officer, TravelHorizon Group. “This allowed us to efficiently perform the due diligence and negotiation stages in a calm fashion, saving us considerable time and improving our effectiveness during these time-consuming processes that require the ability to concentrate on the essential aspects. All of the players were happy and congratulated us for the organization of our data-rooms.”
With ftopia, it was possible to know if different users had consulted a particular document, which in turn made it possible to quickly adapt the negotiations and certify information transfers.
Given the success of this project, TravelHorizon Group now uses ftopia to share information with all its partners:
- Projects involving contractors and integrators: analysis elements are uploaded on line into a data-room, which makes it possible to share documents between several project contributors and to ensure continuity in key information flows.
- Legal and tax permanent files with lawyers: the electronic file is automatically synchronized with the data-room that is in turn constantly updated without any specific TravelHorizon involvement. With each modification, the lawyers are automatically notified and can cover the subject if necessary. At any moment, they have access to records and information that are as complete as that of their customer.
- Accounting file: Auditors access on line spreadsheets and their associated supporting documents. Their work, based on classified and centralized documents makes it possible to measure document completeness and relevance. Given the added efficiencies of this process, TravelHorizon teams are now less solicited: the audit is done more quickly and more effectively.
Emmanuel Champetier de Ribes adds: “While using our data-rooms, we can also transmit specific access to given documents. In this manner, we almost never need to send a specific attachment by email to our various contacts. Therefore, we avoid bottlenecks in our individual e-mail inboxes as well as in our mail servers.”
The ftopia Data-room is thus a shared workspace for all of these projects, whether they are of a local or global scale. Since the data-room is always accessible from any device, it represents an essential tool for communication within the context of raising funds or managing acquisition operations. It is about giving timely and secured access to all of the participants involved in the transaction. Legal, operational, accountable, tax, social… Information held by the company is placed at the center of the transaction including permanent files, as well as the preliminary negotiation related documents (letter of intent, term sheet, MoU) and in turn, the final transaction documents (draft-agreement, shareholders pact…).
“With ftopia, we found a secured data-room offering all the necessary functions from provision, consultation and reporting which could be completely operational in just a few minutes. We were particularly surprised by its ease of use. ” concludes Clyve Monfredo, Partner, Aklea.
ftopia (ftopia.com) is a European Software as a Service (SaaS) provider. Incorporated in 2008, the company harnesses cloud computing to deliver scalable, secure and cost-efficient online file-sharing solutions to professionals and businesses. Our goal is to let professional users share information easily, securely and instantly with their teams, customers and partners, wherever they are and whatever network endpoint they use. ftopia is a privately held company with offices in Paris, Dublin and Madrid.