Waud Capital scoops up Anovia, TrustCommerce in payments drive

Waud Capital, a middle-market PE firm known for investing in software and healthcare services, has made its second investment in the payments space.

The Chicago private equity firm has acquired Anovia Payment. Financial terms weren’t announced. Anovia, Irving, Texas, provides payment processing and merchant relationship management software to small and medium-sized businesses.

The deal comes a week after Waud unveiled its first payments investment. On Sept. 14, Waud Capital said it partnered with TrustCommerce, a Santa Ana, California, provider of payment security software.

Both TrustCommerce and Anovia are “100 percent” owned by Sphere Payments, a holding company Waud formed earlier this year, said Andrew Rueff, Sphere’s executive chairman. “Definitely, we’ll be looking at other acquisitions as time goes by,” Rueff said.

No job cuts or management changes are expected at TrustCommerce or Anovia. Both will operate independently, Rueff said. TrustCommerce is the bigger company, having processed $20 billion of transactions in the past 12 months, he said. Anovia processed $1.7 billion.

Fintech is new for Waud Capital. The middle-market PE firm traditionally focuses on healthcare and software (business and technology services). Waud, over the past four to five years, realized that software and payments were quickly merging, Rueff said.

“I was very interested in finding an opportunity to take advantage of that merger,” said Rueff, one of the original founders of TransFirst Holdings Inc. He stayed with TransFirst for nearly two decades and through three different PE owners: GTCR, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and ultimately, Vista Equity Partners. It was Vista that sold TransFirst to TSYS for $2.35 billion in 2016.

Rueff is contributing to Waud’s fintech strategy. He joined the PE firm in January 2017 as an operating partner to pursue investments in payments and financial technology. Waud has committed at least $100 million of equity to pursue investments in payments and fintech, a January statement said.

Fintech will operate as a subsector of business services, executives said. Waud used its fourth fund, which closed on $1.1 billion in 2016, to invest in TrustCommerce and Anovia, a spokesman said.

Action Item: Email Rueff at arueff@waudcapital.com

Photo of man using mobile payments courtesy of Ipopba/iStock/Getty Images