JMI-backed Employee Navigator acquires Spectrum-backed Ease; Houlihan Lokey hires ex-Jefferies senior tech exec

Houlihan Lokey taps tech investing banker Alec Ellison as global head of fintech.

Morning Hubsters!

This is Chris, on for Wire Wednesday.

Quite a week already, right? Trying to catch up with everything after two days with the family for a brief spring break.

Here’s something … an exit: JMI Equity-backed Employee Navigator, an HR software platform, acquired Spectrum Equity-backed Ease, a broker-centric HR and benefits software platform.

Spectrum will continue to retain a stake in Ease.

Employee Navigator founder and CEO George Reese will lead the combined company, which will support more than 130,000 businesses, more than 4,000 insurance brokers and more than 13 million employees in the US.

“As a single company, we will continue our strategy to help every business in the U.S. offer their employees a Fortune 500 set of benefits by providing the largest agnostic marketplace of integrated partners in the industry,” Reese said.

New hire: Houlihan Lokey hired tech investing banker Alec Ellison as global head of fintech, who was also named chief innovation officer, corporate finance, a newly created role at the firm. Ellison will be based in New York leading a team of more than 30 finance professionals in New York, London and Los Angeles.

Ellison joins Houlihan from digital venture and growth investing platform OurCrowd, where he was US chairman. Before, he was vice chairman at Jefferies and a member of the executive committee. He began his investing career at Morgan Stanley in 1988.

“Financial technology continues to grow at a breakneck pace as the digital revolution continues and even accelerates with greater adoption of AI. Despite current challenges facing many fintech companies, as valuations have contracted from the pandemic-induced euphoria, the overall market is in its early innings,” Ellison said in a statement.
Challenges ranging from broad underserved markets to ensuring safe transactions to addressing the inevitable growth of regulation from the recent crypto and bank crises remain opportunities to be addressed by both emerging and incumbent players.”

That’s it for me! Have a great rest of your Wednesday. Hit me up with tips n’ gossip, feedback or book recommendations at or find me on LinkedIn.