Aspire eyes growth with investment from Mainsail Partners

Investment will support product development, hiring
With investment from Mainsail, Aspire will focus on product development, hiring. (Photo: Vectortone, Dreamstime)

The Aspire Software Company announced on Thursday that it has received an investment from Mainsail Partners, an equity firm that targets software companies to help them grow. Aspire will use the investment on product development and hiring.

Technology is a rapidly changing environment that requires large investments to drive growth, according to Kevin Kehoe, co-founder and co-CEO of Aspire. “We decided that to be able to scale and grow, it would be incumbent upon us as the leaders to find someone who could help us with both capital and expertise,” he told Colorado Patio & Landscape on Friday.

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Aspire is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, providing business management software, training and support to landscape, snow and ice management, and construction companies. The company currently has over 29,000 users.

Aspire released Version 5.0 of its software in February, including an online payments platform and customer portal, and Fleetsharp GPS tracking.

Mainsail’s investment will allow Aspire to “accelerate our product map,” Kehoe said. “When we listen to our customers about what they want, we can turn things around quicker.”

Kehoe and co-founder Mark Tipton will remain on the board of directors at Aspire, along with Mainsail’s Managing Partner Jason Payne and Vice President Jason Frankel.

“We still have a significant investment in the company, so we still have a lot of skin in the game,” Kehoe said.

One of the first initiatives is to increase hiring, Kehoe said, including engineers to work on product development. Aspire will also focus on building out a learning management system to help their clients document systems and processes to manage onboarding and training of new employees.

Aspire has been on a growth track. In the last year, staff jumped from 30 employees to about 50 across product, sales, support and delivery departments, Kehoe said. The company hired a new vice president of marketing, Scott Travis, in March.

Aspire also restructured its compensation program to provide additional key managers with “stock options … to motivate them going forward,” Kehoe said.

“This is an exciting time for us. Our strategy of delivering game-changing solutions for our customers remains as strong as ever,” Aspire’s Tipton said in a statement.

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Mainsail’s Payne pointed to a lack of technology created to serve the specific needs of the landscape industry.

“We believe that the industry is underinvested in technology and that systems like Aspire’s, with a customer-centric approach, are in an attractive position to help contractors grow profitably while navigating the competitive market dynamics,” Payne said of the decision to invest in Aspire.

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He added that landscape businesses are facing increasing labor costs with decreasing availability. “With rising labor costs and a shortage of quality labor, contractors are turning to technology and data to help them drive higher margin projects while tracking and managing costs more effectively,” he said.

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the growth timeline of Aspire’s staff. The company was founded five years ago by Mark Tipton and Kevin Kehoe. It has grown from 30 people a year ago to over 50 total employees as of March 2019, according to Kehoe. 

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