Netguru Leads an Eight-Figure Investment into Corporate Innovation Studio Pilot44

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Rafał Sałak

Mar 30, 2022 • 7 min read
Marek Talarczyk Netguru on Pilot44
San Francisco/Warsaw/March 30, 2022 - Netguru has acquired a significant minority stake in Pilot44, one of America’s most trusted corporate innovation studios.

This strategic investment reinforces the company's capabilities and plays a key part in Netguru’s long-term strategy to become an end-to-end innovation partner to fast-growing startups and corporations. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

  • Poland-based Netguru, one of Europe’s fastest growing software development and consultancy companies, has today announced a strategic eight-figure investment into Pilot44, a US corporate innovation studio.
  • With this first investment into an American-owned and operated company, Netguru seeks to both expand its presence within the US market and to lay the foundation for a new type of innovation consultancy.
  • Netguru acquires a significant minority stake in Pilot44, and intends to fully acquire the company in the next couple of years.

Headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Singapore and Sydney, Pilot44 has extensive experience in helping consumer-facing companies to accelerate innovation and drive growth. The brand’s focus is on delivering integrated end-to-end growth innovation services across all aspects of the discovery, design, development, and early incubation of new solution concepts.

"Today’s rapid pace of digital disruption combined with a hyper-focus on growth acceleration has created demand for a new type of strategic innovation consultancy."— Marek Talarczyk, CEO at Netguru.

"Today’s rapid pace of digital disruption combined with a hyper-focus on growth acceleration has created demand for a new type of strategic innovation consultancy," —said Marek Talarczyk, CEO at Netguru. "Together, Netguru and Pilot44 will partner with both top corporations and fast-growing startups to offer today’s most comprehensive suite of end-to-end digital innovation and venture building services. I’m excited by what this new collaboration can bring to our current and future clients."

Netguru, recognized among the fastest growing software companies in the EU, has built and delivered more than 1,000 digital projects and solutions for some of the largest brands in the world, including; Volkswagen, IKEA, Keller Williams and UBS; while Pilot44 has run over 250 pilots for brands including Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola, Red Bull, Diageo, Nestle, and Kellogg’s, among others.

"At Pilot44 we have always had an ambitious vision of unifying traditionally disparate innovation services." — Jon Corshen, Co-founder of Pilot44.

"At Pilot44 we have always had an ambitious vision of unifying traditionally disparate innovation services," said Jon Corshen, Co-founder of Pilot44. "These functions or services are typically outsourced to an array of agencies and consultancies. The result is much more time, higher costs, a loss of transparency and an endless cycle of experimentation that does not scale. Netguru and Pilot44 share a common goal of creating a new type of agency that bridges the divide between digital and growth innovation and that delivers measurable innovation outcomes."

Netguru will be helping to boost Pilot44’s position in North America and the rest of the world, and leveraging the company’s experience to expand both the reach and the depth of joint strategic services.

This strategic investment is a part of Netguru’s long-term strategy of becoming an end-to-end innovation partner to fast-growing startups and corporations that seek support in developing their digital infrastructure, and in creating and executing comprehensive business growth strategies. Through this collaboration, the companies now offer a complete range of growth-essential services, including:

  • Integrated market & consumer research
  • Disruption sensing
  • New concept design & prototyping
  • Brand strategy
  • In-market validation testing
  • Digital development & support
  • Product Design
  • Business & financial modelling
  • Go-to-market Strategy & Planning
  • Incubation & Growth Marketing

"We could tell right away that we shared a common perspective on where the market was heading and a very similar company culture," —Marek Talarczyk, CEO at Netguru.

"We could tell right away that we shared a common perspective on where the market was heading and a very similar company culture," added Marek Talarczyk. "But what was most important is that both organizations pride themselves on being entrepreneurial builders and really more co-founders than consultants. We can’t wait to see the horsepower of the combined companies."

The eight-figure investment was supported by a number of external partners, including: Polish International Development Fund managed by PFR TFI S.A. which also invested into Pilot44; Citi Handlowy, which provided a credit facility to enable the transaction; and James Oury, CLA and EY, who provided tax and legal counsel throughout the process.

The US company will continue to function as a separate entity. Netguru plans to fully acquire Pilot44 in the next couple of years, including buying-out the shares purchased by the Polish International Development Fund, managed by PFR TFI S.A.

"The Polish technology industry already holds a strong export position. Netguru’s investment in the American entity, Pilot44, proves that Polish companies operating within this sector can reach for more and become top players in the digital transformation mainstream. In the last 2 years there’s been a rapid acceleration in the areas of videoconferencing technology, artificial intelligence, teamwork software, digital payments, or mobile security. These trends encourage a different view on how companies approach their business development. They need to react quicker than ever to the changes that are taking place, and digital technologies are now becoming one of the key elements of building competitive advantage and growth acceleration. Thanks to investing in Pilot44, Netguru will be able to present a complex offer of strategic consultancy, including implementing innovations and digital infrastructure to customers around the world," says Piotr Kuba, Member of the Management Board responsible for Investments at PFR TFI.

Sebastian Perczak, head of Commercial Bank at Citi Handlowy: "Cooperation with Netguru is part of our strategy to be the bank-of-choice for companies with plans to develop and expand abroad. Through a dedicated team of advisors and industry specialists we support Polish companies from the Digital sector. We have expertise and know-how in this area, and thanks to the fact that we are part of one of the largest financial institutions in the world, we can support our clients wherever they go. I am glad that we could be a partner in this transaction and help in the implementation of Netguru's ambitious plans."

Got questions about this story? Let us know at press@netguru.com.

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Rafał Sałak

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