Social Solutions Global of Austin, Tex. is acquiring Waterloo-based Athena Software in a proposed deal intended to increase global market share and boost Social Solutions’ ability to provide case-management software to social service and not-for-profit organizations around the world.
The acquisition, which requires regulatory clearance under the Investment Canada Act, is expected to close within 60 days. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Social Solutions plans to add Athena’s flagship software, called Penelope, to its own stable of case-management products. The Athena name will no longer be used but Athena CEO Geoff Bellew said Social Solutions plans to keep the Waterloo office, which employs 80 people.
“They not only want to keep Waterloo as a vibrant operation, we are the subject matter experts in Penelope, and because they want to grow Penelope, they actually need the knowledge of the talent here as well,” he said in an interview with Communitech News.
Bellew said he will be staying on for nine months to help with the integration of the two companies. Athena founders Greg and Diane Stanley-Horn and Kevin Stanley are “happily retiring” from the company, Bellew said.
Back in 2001, Greg Stanley-Horn was working for a nonprofit. He was searching for a case-management software to help with reporting, compliance and service-tracking. When he couldn’t find what he needed, he decided to build it. Together with Diane and his brother Kevin, they created Penelope and brought it to market.
Bellew said the founders started the company with a tech-for-good “mission” to help social-service organizations improve their ability to help clients.
“Greg, Diane and Kevin were ahead of their time,” he said. “They had a mission to serve the world’s needs.”
“(Athena has) created 100 jobs, we’ve touched millions of lives, and that human interest story I think has more resonance in the 21st century than in the 20th century. People are realizing with COVID that mental health is an epidemic and the merging of technology and data and people is critically important.”
Bellew, formerly of Communitech, was brought on as CEO four years ago to help manage and grow the business. He negotiated Athena’s first use of outside capital and was looking for more when Social Solutions approached the company last September about a possible acquisition.
In discussing the sale, it was important to the Athena founders that the buyer was interested in the company’s “talent, the customers, the product and to continue the mission,” Bellew said.
In a news release, Social Solutions said that it and Athena are “perfectly aligned in purpose, mission and values, with complementary products and solutions, creating a significant opportunity for their clients to increase the positive impact they make in the communities they serve.”
“Joining forces with Athena will allow us to expand our offerings and provide better service to our entire client base, while pursuing our growth objectives and furthering future product innovation,” said Erin Mulligan Nelson, CEO of Social Solutions. “Together we hope to better enable communities to accelerate social change, ultimately driving greater value and impact to clients around the world.”
Social Solutions said the Athena acquisition will make it the “largest and most powerful data analytics platform” serving social service organizations, with existing clients in the United States, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, and additional international expansion planned in the future.