Seth Boro – Mister Opportunity:
Thoma Bravo’s Seth Boro has found a way to keep on profiting from the tech bubble.
2008 and 2009 represented a long, frustrating stretch for a lot of dealmakers. For those who stayed active, the hope was that ongoing dialogues would pay off once clarity returned to the market. At least for Thoma Bravo principal Seth Boro, those conversations weren’t in vain. From July 2009 to the last week of September, Boro has knocked off five major deals, transactions, he says, that were the result of ongoing discussion and continued follow-up. “As the deal environment changed,” he says, “the opportunities shook loose.” As Ernest Hemingway used to say: “You make your own luck.”
Boro played a key role in Thoma Bravo’s acquisitions of LANDesk, SonicWALL, and Entrust, as well as add-on acquisitions of Double-Take Software and eWebHealth, by Vision Solutions and Hyland Software, respectively. He also didn’t shy away from the hard deals, either. LANDesk was a carveout, and both SonicWALL and Visions’s add-on of Double-Take were public to privates.
Boro, a native of Ottawa, knew early on that he wanted to get into technology, and initially could have chased a career in venture. After becoming familiar with Summit Partners’, Boro cold called the firm and managed to turn conversations with junior staffers into an interview a few months later. He started working at the PE firm in the summer of 2000. The timing probably didn’t seem ideal, but it instilled in Boro an appreciation for “finding ‘real’ and profitable companies.”
He joined Thoma Cressey five years ago, and stayed with Thoma Bravo after the split. While the collapse of the tech industry in 2000 may have added some turbulence as Boro was just getting into the business, remnants of the bubble are, today, his bread and butter.
“There are still a lot of small cap technology companies that went public back in the late Nineties,” Boro says. “As the market matured the profile of those businesses changed. They’re not the high-growth stories they used to be, but the notion of value to the public market is different than it is for us.”