Recently, payment facilitator WorkWave announced that its owners had spun it out into a freestanding company, elevating it from its previous status as a division of enterprise software provider IFS.
We spoke with the company’s CEO, David Giannetto, about the thinking behind the decision and the company’s plans for this next iteration.
WorkWave is a software provider for the field services industry, serving companies in verticals such as pest control, HVAC and landscaping.
Giannetto described the decision to spin out WorkWave as a commitment to its long-term success. The company’s owners, investment firm EQT and private equity firm TA Associates, recognized that WorkWave was at a place where focused investment now would lead to more impact for the company over the next three to five years, he said.
The company reported that it had achieved 47% organic revenue growth and 131% growth in profitability during 2020 in the press release about its new phase.
“I think WorkWave’s performance across 2020 really demonstrated our ability to perform – to identify opportunities that were beyond incremental growth and then to go out and achieve them,” he said.
“We’ve demonstrated that there was a lot of potential in WorkWave, with a management team that had an ability to come up with big, industry-impacting ideas and execute on them.”
Among the industry-impacting ideas that WorkWave has executed for its customers has been the introduction of WorkWave Payments in the fall of 2019. The product won an award for Best New Product of the Year – SMB from the Best in Biz Awards, an awards program judged by editors and reporters from North American publications.
WorkWave says it was the first software provider in its industry to take the step of bringing payments capabilities in-house by becoming a PF.
“Becoming a payment facilitator was not something that was well understood at the time. It certainly wasn’t well understood among the service companies that are our customers,” he said.
But the concept has been borne out in the solutions that WorkWave has subsequently been able to offer its customers, Giannetto said. Becoming a payment facilitator has given the company buying power that it can pass along to its customers, as well as an infrastructure to develop products and capabilities that were otherwise out of reach.
“There’s a lot we can do. As a software company, we have to help our customers. When you add in payment facilitation and the ownership and responsibility for payments processing, it opens up a whole new range of opportunities,” he said.
And while some in the industry may talk about terms like embedded payments and embedded finance, Giannetto said, WorkWave simply sees the opportunity inherent in bringing financial instruments to its platform – to give its customers access to better rates and solutions that are uniquely relevant to them.
Earlier this month, WorkWave introduced a discount partnership with a specialty product company that leverages an integration into that company’s ecommerce platform.
“With this program, WorkWave customers will see that as their true partner we can use the power of WorkWave Payments on their behalf, to offer them direct, bottom-line savings that they could never achieve on their own,” Giannetto said in that announcement.
While he declined to share specifics about WorkWave’s next moves to avoid tipping the company’s hand to its competitors, Giannetto said that launch was an indicator of things to come.
“We seek out and vet high-quality partners that are a good fit with our customer base and in return, we expect our customers to get a higher quality of service from those providers,” he said.
Giannetto also said that WorkWave’s new status as a freestanding company positions it to be more acquisitive than it has been in the past. Having performed better than many competitors through the pandemic and come out on the other side financially stronger, he said, WorkWave will be looking to identify acquisition targets that could be valuable to the company and to its customer base.