Mercury Network acquired by Serent Capital
Written by Ellana Walker on May 7, 2015
Here's an e-mail we sent to the appraisal industry today.
To: All appraisers
From: a la mode
RE: Mercury Network acquired by Serent Capital
This is an exciting week for appraisal news! Fast on the heels of the beta release of our game-changing SmartAddress comps consistency and re-use feature (read more about it by clicking here), we're happy to further announce that our rapidly expanding Mercury Network division has been fully spun off and acquired by Serent Capital, a leading San Francisco private equity firm.
We're exceptionally excited about the transaction. This lets us focus exclusively on appraisers' needs during the coming years, with an even stronger balance sheet to boot. And Serent's financial backing and expertise gives Mercury the fuel it needs to grow even more rapidly. There's been a lot of bad news in the appraisal industry over the past few years, but this is the opposite.
You'll soon get a full memo from Dave Biggers (our founder and chairman) explaining everything in detail. Meanwhile, below are some quick facts and figures to help you understand the deal. The bottom line — and the most important thing to remember — is that your relationship with both companies is unchanged, and your interests are protected.
Nothing will be different in your day-to-day processes; TOTAL and WinTOTAL, your plugins, your XSites, and Mercury Network continue to operate today exactly as they did yesterday and as they will tomorrow. Mercury has actually been in its own building, with its own staff and services, for quite some time. It was officially spun off last summer, and we've spent a lot of time and effort since then to be sure that the transition was as seamless as possible. If we hadn't announced the sale, most people would never have noticed a difference.
Below are the highlights of the transaction.
- Serent Capital, a San Francisco private equity firm, purchased 100% of Mercury Network from us in an all-cash transaction. We're not allowed to disclose exact terms, but suffice it to say that we built Mercury into the rapid-growth premium player in a strategic industry, and now we have an even bigger war chest to use in buying and building additional appraiser-focused products and services.
- From this point forward, we're completely independent, and are not in any way compensated by, incentivized by, or beneficiaries of Mercury Network or its new owners. Mercury Network is also located in separate facilities from a la mode, with no overlap of staff or other resources (and has been for some time now).
- That independence lets us focus exclusively on your needs, with no distractions or pressure from some lenders or AMCs. Yes, we got pressure from bad actors, same as you. There are a lot of new and innovative products and features we want to develop for you, some of which might generate some backlash, and we want no conflicts of interest.
- This is important: Mercury Network does not have rights to your data from TOTAL or WinTOTAL; your data hasn't been sold, nor has the security of it been compromised. (Your privacy and data security was our top priority in this deal from day one.) So, both the Mercury Network plugin and the DataCourier plugin are prohibited from harvesting your data. They are only allowed to deliver your report to the client and provide you with useful appraiser-focused services.
- The Mercury Network and DataCourier plugins are moving with Mercury Network, but what you currently know as Mercury Desktop (and all of the other plugins) will remain ours, and will be re-branded soon. Keeping the "Desktop" piece allows us to maintain complete control over all of the plugins, allows us to integrate your other clients and portals into the desktop (besides just Mercury itself), and of course gives us the mechanism to protect your data from unauthorized harvesting.
- Your XSites are unrelated to Mercury and continue to be part of a la mode. It's a common misperception that XSites are part of Mercury Network, but they're completely independent. XSites are unchanged and unrelated to this transaction. (You'll see more from us on a wide range of XSites enhancements on the way very soon.)
- To make sure things are as smooth as possible, we'll continue to provide assistance to Mercury Network as needed for the next six months to a year. For both companies, the goal is to be sure that you never have any headaches caused by the spinoff.
That's it for now. Below is the full press release, and you'll be getting a separate memo from Dave shortly which puts all of this in a much broader context. There's an awful lot coming in our appraisal product line — the industry-changing SmartAddress update we just released this week to our beta testers is barely the tip of the iceberg of extremely useful, very cool stuff on the way. This spinoff and sale of Mercury is all part of that focus, and we're confident you'll see the benefits promptly.
As always, thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
All of us at a la mode
PS — The next time you talk to the Mercury staff, congratulate them on a job well done. On both sides of the house, everyone worked incredibly hard to build what started with simple roots — a feature to defend against HVCC’s robbing of appraiser livelihoods — into a high-growth division of a la mode, and then into a completely standalone company. Mercury is by far the premium vendor management platform out there, and it's got solid a la mode "appraiser DNA" throughout it. We're all very proud of what we nurtured and built, and we know Mercury will thrive moving forward under Serent's new ownership.
Serent Capital Acquires Mercury Network from a la mode, inc.
May 7, 2015 — Oklahoma City, OK — Mercury Network, the premier valuation vendor management platform for the mortgage lending industry, was acquired by Serent Capital, a leading San Francisco-based private equity firm that invests in high growth, profitable businesses. Prior to the acquisition, Mercury Network was a subsidiary of a la mode, inc., a technology leader for the financial services industry.
Mercury Network’s SaaS platform is used by mortgage lenders and appraisal management companies to manage compliance and workflow for more than 20,000 appraisal transactions a day. A 375% customer growth trajectory over the past 4 years with a remarkable 93% retention rate, combined with a reputation for customer-focused innovation, positions Mercury Network as the leader in the space in terms of technology excellence and client service. The company’s solutions include: Mercury Network for appraisal vendor management; Enterprise Vendor Framework (EVF) for lender management of multiple AMCs; AQM for quality assurance and compliance; Mercury Mobile for efficient vendor communications; DataCourier for compliant appraisal receipt and delivery; and SureReceipts for compliant delivery of eDisclosures to borrowers.
To support the growing client base, Mercury has dramatically expanded their team of industry veterans strategically located in major financial centers across the U.S. “Our work so far, combined with our new partnership with Serent Capital, positions us to be the premier player in the vendor management and collateral risk market”, said Jennifer Miller, President of Mercury Network. “As we build upon our award-winning product design and strategic partnerships, we’ll continue to expand our set of SaaS solutions and provide even better compliance, reporting and business intelligence for our 600+ clients”.
Dave Biggers, founder and Chairman of a la mode, was equally enthusiastic about the transaction and the future for both companies. “We conceived, built, incubated, and eventually spun off Mercury Network entirely inside a la mode, with one clear purpose – to protect appraisers from the income-robbing effects of the HVCC and its aftermath, by providing lenders with a compelling alternative to the draconian and ultimately ineffective vendor management models in vogue at the time. We succeeded wildly in that effort, and the industry is better for it. As we now pass that torch to Mercury’s staff and to Serent, we’re confident they’ll continue to push Mercury even further. We’re very excited about their future, and of course ours as well, as we’re now able to deploy new resources and focus even more specifically on the appraiser’s side of the lending transaction.”
Serent Capital will further enhance the value Mercury Network delivers to the mortgage industry by bringing additional resources to support technology innovations for clients and partners. “Mercury Network’s success and impressive track record of growth is the result of the work of the team, which is among the finest we have met in the mortgage technology industry. We look forward to working with them to expand their services and help deliver unmatched value to customers”, stated Lance Fenton, Partner at Serent Capital.
About Serent Capital
Serent Capital invests in growing businesses that have developed compelling solutions that address their customers' needs. As those businesses grow and evolve, the opportunities and challenges that they face evolve with them. Principals at Serent Capital have firsthand experience at capturing those opportunities and navigating those challenges through their experiences as CEOs, strategic advisors, and board members to successful growing businesses. By bringing its experience and capital to bear, Serent helps growing businesses thrive.
For more information on Serent Capital, visit www.serentcapital.com.
About Mercury Network
Mercury Network is a leading provider of appraisal vendor management and workflow software to institutional lenders. Mercury’s tools allow lenders and appraisal management companies to manage their vendor workflow process from a cloud-based platform in compliance with banking regulations and appraiser independence requirements. Mercury Network is used by over 600 of the nation’s largest lenders and appraisal management companies, as well as by numerous community banks, credit unions, and wholesale and correspondent lenders. More than 200,000 mortgage professionals have used Mercury Network technology since 2002 to power tens of millions of appraisals. Mercury’s strong product offering, proprietary network of appraisers, and dedication to providing superior client service has led Mercury to be one of the premier providers in the industry.
For more information on Mercury Network, visit www.MercuryVMP.com.
About a la mode
A mission-critical technology leader in the financial technology industry for more than 29 years, a la mode’s products are used by hundreds of thousands of professionals to power more than 50% of all US real estate transactions. In the real estate sales and financing industry, a la mode’s Pipeline ROI division (http://www.pipelineroi.com) hosts the only comprehensive inbound marketing platform, attracting and managing leads for tens of thousands of brokers, agents, and mortgage professionals. And in the appraisal market, a la mode’s flagship TOTAL software line (http://www.alamode.com) is the dominant production system, used by more appraisers than all other brands combined.
a la mode is headquartered in Naples, FL, with additional offices and more than 150 employees located in Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. For more information about the company, visit www.alamode.com.