ITIS

  • Sector: Technology
  • First Invested: September 1999
  • Total Invested: £6.2m
  • Status: Exited

ITIS was founded in 1997 by Stuart Marks, and was one of the early entrants into the then nascent UK traffic information market initially piggy backing its position in vehicle security probes to develop the first ‘Floating Vehicle Data’ methodology (“FVD”), now used widely in the market.

Through a deep understanding of the technological landscape, and a progressive R & D program, ITIS had already established itself in 1999 as a leader in the space, however required further funds to develop the revenue model. The team were looking for Pre-IPO funding with the intention to float, and thereby raising the funds required to get the business through break even.

The leadership position and the very strong entrepreneur leading the business encouraged us to partner with the team. The following year, we and the founders appointed Sir Trevor Chinn as the Chairman of ITIS to lead the board into the float process. Sir Trevor – who was well known in most parts of the automotive industry and a proven executive in the automotive sector – brought with him an invaluable wealth of experience. Sir Trevor is currently also Chairman of Tusker, and was Chairman of Streetcar, a previous Smedvig Capital investment. In late 2000, the business floated very successfully raising more than £30m to fund growth.

ITIS over time sold its vehicle tracking business to COBRA to focus exclusive on the traffic information market. It also acquired a small Israeli company called Estimotion which gave it the technology base to develop a new form of FVD using complex algorithms to interpret the movement of mobile phones.

Its position in the FVD market allowed ITIS to grow rapidly, overtaking Trafficmaster.

The business grew to a peak EBITDA of £5.3m, as the clear leader in the UK for real time traffic information, and having the majority of leading auto manufacturers as clients, as well as government agencies and media organisations. It was also making significant strides internationally and won the first large pan European OEM contract for BMW.

The global crisis of 2008 caused a dramatic drop in car sales which had a significant impact on ITIS’s revenue but through strong management initiatives the business returned to profitability and growth in 2010 and 2011.

Throughout the long ownership of ITIS, Smedvig Capital was a key adviser to the CEO and board and was involved in all major strategic initiatives over the period culminating in leading the exit process on behalf of all the ITIS shareholders, alongside carefully selected professional advisors. ITIS was acquired by the dominant US player, INRIX in August 2011 for £37m cash.