Inside the private equity partnership fueling By Light's acquisition strategy

Sagewind Capital and By Light Professional IT Services have raised their profile with two quick acquisitions that have added contracts and new cyber training capabilities.

The list of private equity-backed platforms in the federal market's middle tier continues to grow.

Joining that list alongside others like Applied Insight, EverWatch and E3 Sentinel is By Light Professional IT Services.

WT POWER TRAINING

Mastering Stakeholder Engagement

We have joined with MBDi to offer a one-day course on Mastering Stakeholder Engagement as a way to foster closer relationships and win more business.

DATE: June 7

WHERE: Valo Park, McLean, VA

Click here for more info.

However, By Light is not a recent entrant to the private equity world. It's just been a little quieter. But that changing as it closes its second deal in less than two months and third in 18 months.

Two years ago, By Light was acquired by Sagewind Capital. Founder and CEO Bob Donahue and the rest of the management team stayed on board. In that first year, Sagewind helped By Light build the financial and management systems to move the company from the small business world into full-and-open competition.

That management team was a critical part of Sagewind’s reason for buying the company in May 2017, according to Steve Lefkowitz, managing partner of Sagewind.

“For me it is all about the people,” Lefkowitz said. “We met with Bob and he’s built this fabulous business and his team has a cohesive vision and is very mission focused."

The company also is in areas that are priorities for the government like cybersecurity, intelligence, contingency and communications support, rapid prototyping and satellite communications.

"You don't want a great management team that is in the buggy whip industry," Lefkowitz said.

For Donahue, Sagewind’s focus on people also won him over when By Light was looking for a private equity partner. He had other options but he knew from Lefkowitz’s track record, which includes working with Joe Kampf during the creation of Anteon International, that SageWind was in this for the long haul.

“Sagewind was the most aligned with our mindset. They’ve been a tremendous partner,” Donahue said. “They’ve forced us to do somethings on the financial side. They provide good governance but they let us run the business.”

By Light has now closed its third deal with the acquisition of Metova Federal. This follows the buy of Phacil in late March. In February 2018, By Light and Sagewind bought Axom Technologies. Financial terms of the deals have not been disclosed.

Each deal has fit a need and built on the By Light platform.

Axom brought contracts and customers with an intelligence agency, which the company cannot identify.

Phacil was an employee-owned company that had several IDIQ contracts. Donahue said that for example, By Light didn’t win a spot on the Army ITES-3S contract but Phacil did.

“Getting on these large IDIQs is key to our strategy,” he said. The vehicles give By Light flexibility in how they serve current customers as well as the ability to pursue new ones.

The acquisition of Metova gave By Light a new line of business -- cyber range training – that complements the cyber work it has been doing for several years for customers such as the Joint Special Operations Command.

Motova brings a software product called CyberCENTS that emulates multi-domain environments which is critical to training the cyber response teams that have proliferated across the Defense Department.

By Light was drawn into training because of its contract to support the Joint Regional Security Stacks. Through an Other Transaction Authority contract, By Light worked with a commercial company that had an emulation technology that could simulate the JRSS environment.

“That got us focused on training and we are dead focused on it,” Donahue said. “And this is an example of our partnership with Sagewind. We guided them that this is what we needed and that’s how we got to Metova.”

“We are getting a nice product focused on cyber ranges and it’ll help us enhance and grow out our cyber business,” Lefkowitz said.

The acquisitions feed By Light’s strategy for more organic growth. The company had several IDIQ contracts including the Veterans Affairs’ Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology-Next Generation contract known as T4NG.

By Light was a small business incumbent under the T4 contract and won in the full-and-open competition for T4NG.

A major project under that contract is the MyHealtheVet portal that will become even more important as both the VA and the Defense Department roll out new electronic health record systems built on the Cerner platform.

With the addition of Phacil, By Light now has a deep stable of contract vehicles such as Alliant 2, ITES 3S, the Army’s Responsive Strategic Sourcing for Services (RS3), Custom SATCOM Solutions and Encore 3.

By Light has a long runway with these contracts because the earliest one expires in 2026. The rest run through 2028 and 2028.

“We are bringing people on who know how to leverage these large, rapid task order IDIQs and that’s how you get the exponential growth you are looking for,” Donahue said.

His goal is to quickly reach $1 billion in annual revenue from the current spot between $500 million and $700 million.

For Sagewind, the hunt will continue for more acquisitions that fit with By Light. Lefkowitz predicted a pace of about a deal a year on average.

“We looking for services and customer relationships and contract vehicles that can accelerate our move up the food chain,” he said. “By Light is in the right place and they have a lot of opportunities to grow.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.