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Driving innovation and upside in connected-vehicle fleet management

Azuga Case Study

Sumeru Equity and Azuga boldly disrupt fleet management industry while tripling revenue and leading to a $391 million acquisition

“Azuga sought out to do something bold. Ananth Rani, the founder of Azuga, let us think differently about a space that has been around for a long time. We’re proudest of the overall creativity, and the partnership with a unique company that was doing something very different than everyone else said was possible.”

– Sanjeet Mitra, Managing Partner at Sumeru Equity Partners

Founder and Company Background

Azuga’s fleet management software, through GPS telematics, uses gamification to motivate driver engagement and safety along with best in class fleet management. As a next-generation SaaS player in the fleet industry, Azuga had been incubated within a larger successful electronics supplier named Danlaw. The Azuga leadership team was seeking a growth-minded partner to carve the business out of the parent company and help position it to scale quickly.

The goal was to carve-out Azuga as an independent company while finding a partner with strong operational and growth-focused expertise. This is why Sumeru Equity Partners was a natural choice. Sumeru recognized the market’s demand for innovative and creative solutions in the fleet management space. Our research also indicated that Azuga was well positioned by founder Anath Rani to grow and become a disruptive force for years to come.

According to Paul Mercadante, Managing Director at Sumeru:

“We saw a product that had a differentiated customer point of view: It used gamification to improve driver safety, and that was unique in the marketplace. We thought we could use this product’s positioning in the market to build an industry leader.”

Building Out the Team

After Sumeru invested in Azuga and set-up the business to be independent of its former parent company, we partnered with Ananth Rani to build out an executive leadership team. Sumeru helped recruit an EVP of Sales, a VP of Marketing, and a CFO, while also adding an industry veteran to the company’s board of directors.

Managing Director at Sumeru, Mark Haller, said:

“In our investments, we back existing management teams. Since Azuga was a carve-out transaction with a small executive team in place, recruiting was a significant effort in our value creation plans in collaboration with Ananth.”

Expanding the Product Offering

While simultaneously working to help Azuga put the resources, infrastructure, and operational efficiencies in place that were needed to scale, the team also focused on diversifying its suite of fleet management solutions.

This product-led diversification was designed to help meet the needs of their customer base by offering complementary products within the fleet management ecosystem. For example, in addition to fleet tracking software, Sumeru helped Azuga offer related products such as video telematics, route optimization, and more.

Value Creation and Revenue Growth

The team built a multipronged go-to-market strategy to accelerate growth, increase marketing effectiveness, and transform the sales force by applying Sumeru’s best practices. In addition, a unique offshore sales strategy increased sales velocity and helped to decrease customer acquisition costs.
As an innovation leader in the market, Azuga’s flagship fleet management and driver behavior suite evolved into a platform for all field-based workforces, with solutions designed for video telematics, field service management, and insurance and data analytics.

Bridgestone Tire Acquires Azuga for $391M

Bold strategies lead to bold results. This was proven true once again in the case of Azuga. Over the 3.5-year hold period, Azuga’s recurring revenues more than tripled organically. In March 2021, Azuga acquired Mobikit to strengthen its insurance technology offerings for commercial fleets. In September of that same year, Bridgestone Tire acquired Azuga for $391M.

Mercadante concluded:

“Azuga is a classic Sumeru scaling success story. We focused on product, go-to-market, and building out the team, which helped the company grow and ultimately led to a very successful outcome.”