A New Chapter for Safe Software: Co-Founder’s Multimillion-Dollar Exit

A New Chapter for Safe Software Co-Founder's Multimillion-Dollar Exit

The Journey of Safe Software

Over three decades ago, Don Murray and Dale Lutz embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that would defy expectations. Leaving behind their jobs at Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates, they faced skepticism but persevered. Today, their brainchild, Safe Software, is a testament to their vision and hard work. Based in Surrey, British Columbia, the company has become prominent in Canada’s tech landscape.

With a team of 244 dedicated employees, Safe Software’s success is evident in its impressive $80 million revenue from last year. The company’s unique platform serves over 20,000 clients worldwide, offering seamless data integration across various software applications. The founders are optimistic about reaching a staggering $250 million in annual revenue in the next five years, thanks to their shift to a subscription-based model.

Dale Lutz’s Decision to Step Back

At 57, Dale Lutz, the co-founder of Safe Software, has decided to take a step back. Opting for a part-time role and relinquishing his co-CEO title, Lutz seeks more time for personal pursuits, particularly after his son’s challenging journey through a leukemia diagnosis and recovery. This experience has significantly influenced his decision, propelling him towards philanthropic endeavors, including supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

This change in Lutz’s life path has led to a significant financial event. Baltimore’s JMI Equity, in partnership with Don Murray, has acquired his 50% stake in Safe Software. While the exact terms remain undisclosed, it’s speculated that Lutz’s share exceeded $200 million, considering the company’s valuation and robust financial health.

Safe Software’s Continued Success and New Partnerships

JMI Equity, a significant player in Canadian tech investments, has added Safe Software to its impressive portfolio. This marks the first external investment in Safe Software, a company known for its market leadership, innovative solutions, and strong intellectual property. The partnership aims to respect the company’s core values and operational independence. Mr. Murray, who remains the majority shareholder, welcomes JMI’s expertise and network to further Safe’s growth ambitions.

The company, which initially bonded over discussions of Star Trek, has evolved significantly since its inception in 1993. Safe Software’s applications are diverse and impactful, from creating digital twins for planning purposes to aiding in emergency services. Moreover, the company is expanding its reach in the IT sector, with contract sizes significantly larger than before.

As Safe Software

embarks on this new chapter, the shift in leadership dynamics is noteworthy. The employees, accustomed to the duo’s collaborative leadership, may find this transition challenging. However, JMI’s confidence in Murray’s vision suggests a smooth continuation of Safe’s legacy. Mr. Murray, at 59, expresses no desire to sell his stake and is committed to honoring his partnership with Lutz, underscoring the enduring friendship and respect between the co-founders.

Looking Ahead: Safe Software’s Future Prospects

Safe Software’s evolution from a small startup to a tech giant mirrors the ambition and foresight of its founders. The company’s shift in branding from quirky graphics to a more professional enterprise image reflects its growing market presence. This rebranding aligns with the company’s expansion into larger IT contracts and its continuous innovation in data integration solutions.

The company’s future, with its promising revenue targets and expanding client base, looks bright. The partnership with JMI Equity opens new avenues for growth and resource access. For Mr. Murray, it’s not just about business expansion but also about maintaining the company’s ethos and employee-centered policies, such as profit-sharing.

In conclusion, Safe Software’s story is one of remarkable growth, resilience, and innovation. Dale Lutz’s decision to pursue philanthropy and personal interests marks a significant milestone in the company’s history. Yet, with Don Murray at the helm and the strategic partnership with JMI Equity, Safe Software is poised to continue its trajectory of success, blending technological innovation with a deep commitment to its roots and values.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-safe-software-co-founder-cashes-out-200-milion-plus-stake-as-jmi-buys/