Private equity firm invests in tech company


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A West Michigan tech company has secured a “strategic growth investment” from an out-of-state private equity firm.

New York-based Seaport Capital made the investment in Holland-based Rutherford and Associates to “support the continued growth of the company,” according to the companies yesterday.

Rutherford provides software solutions for beverage distributors, including route accounting, warehouse management, forecasting and mobile sales capabilities through its proprietary software, eoStar.

Seaport funded the investment through Seaport Capital Partners V, a $230-million private equity fund.

“We’ve been looking for the right strategic partner to take our business to the next level,” said Mike Rutherford, founder, Rutherford and Associates.

“Seaport has a proven track record of providing the necessary growth capital and operational resources to successfully grow recurring-revenue businesses such as ours. I am looking forward to working with Seaport to continue developing our market-leading platform to better serve and expand our client base worldwide.”

Rutherford’s eoStar platform has served bottlers and beverage distributors of all sizes since 2001. The platform’s business management solutions provide "a full overview" of a client's operation, while “improving cost efficiencies and optimizing overall business performance.”

“We’ve been following Rutherford’s business for some time now, and we’ve consistently been impressed with their long-standing entrepreneurship and focus on building a superior software platform,” said Scott McCormack, partner, Seaport Capital.

“Rutherford’s management team has been successful in attracting a wide range of clients, and we are excited at the opportunity to grow their customer base.”

Additionally, Rutherford and Associates announced seasoned technology executive Jim Clishem as CEO. Clishem brings extensive management experience building and growing various software and infrastructure businesses.

“I look forward to applying my experience in order to grow our capabilities and execute on the company’s strategic plans, while continually improving how we serve our clients,” Clishem said. “Rutherford has achieved great success over the years, and I’m looking forward to building upon this success to improve the business operations for all of our clients around the globe.”

Mike Rutherford will move from CEO into the full-time role of CTO to focus his efforts on providing the company “visionary technical guidance” to improve the eoStar platform.

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