3TS Newsletter April 2024

Dear Friends,
One quarter down in 2024 and three to go, in what look like the year of a “new-normal”. While its clear there won’t be a rapid return to the 2018-2022 period of heavy spending by clients and the go-go days of investing, there are green shoots all around. It seems as though we are back to the pre-2018 environment for the foreseeable future. Yes, many things were hard back then too, but the best companies still grew, scaled and succeeded. Now, customer demand has normalized, investors at all stages are coming back (slowly), the M&A market is thawing, and even the IPO window is no longer fully shut. Focus is always the best part of strategy in good and tougher periods alike. The innovations your companies bring to market will break through over time. Good luck out there! 

The 3TS Team


3 Key Learnings From Piano, After Growing Revenues 9x in 5 Years and Becoming a Global Leader

Originally born in Bratislava, Slovakia, the 3TS portfolio company Piano now has operations in 13 countries and over 1,000 clients across four continents. To scale the business 9x, Piano had to make some critical strategic decisions, executed extremely well and learned a few things along the way.

To Become a Global Leader, Focus is More Important Than Expanding Too Far, Too Soon or Too Quickly
Often management teams have a tendency to extend internationally too early in their company’s life cycle. No, your products and go-to-market sales approach are probably not going to work in other areas until they are proven over and over in your home country and regional markets. Don’t get us wrong, we are big fans of international expansion – at the right time. Piano’s team made sure they won a significant portion of their market opportunity (TAM) in each of their initial regional locations and with the initial core products they had. Staying focused wasn’t easy, but it was critical in order to have a solid foundation from which to launch Piano into new areas. Until a company reaches critical mass, the risk of expansion is too high and new areas always take more resources, time and effort than planned. Expanding too early risks wasting the last round of capital raised or worse, sinking the entire company.

Organic Growth is Great, but it’s Not the Only Way to Scale
Yes, we are talking about tuck-in acquisitions in adjacent areas, as another vector of growth. Piano has grown organically throughout the years. Once the company reached critical mass, it begun proactively looking at adjacent spaces to expand its product line and geographic reach to augment organic growth. Tuck-ins are characterized by being “just-right”, not too large, not too small, and fit well from a number of parameters (e.g. culture, product, client profile, pricing, sales tactics, marketing message). First, it was important for Piano to establish  a product platform that can handle multiple modules and it wasn’t just a tool or a point solution. Complimentary products came from customers clearly demanding additional functions or consolidated solutions. Platforms create competitive moats that stand the test of time. Bolting on a smaller company to add clients, employees and know-how in bulk, is also a more scalable, less risky and faster way to enter new geographies, rather than a bottom-up build with a few hires and a few clients at a time. Piano executed five acquisitions in four years, which was an impressive accomplishment, and a separate story with lessons we will cover in a future newsletter.

Establishing Thought Leadership is a Must  
Successful global software companies that lead their markets always have excellence in marketing and are able to establish thought leadership in their sector. Piano approached this in three ways. First, by focusing on key markets the company was able to reach enough top clients to become the de-facto market share leader. Over time this strategy accrued to enable Piano to have leadership in all areas where it was present. Second, from the start Piano had the courage to roll out a value-based, ROI driven pricing model which enabled its sales/marketing strategy to scale quickly, drive high retention rates and increase the up-sell/cross-sell potential (more on pricing further below in this Newsletter). The cross-sell opportunity became especially important with acquired products. Third, once Piano reached hundreds of clients it designed a proprietary maturity model to enable customers to assess their status, benchmark against peers and have a path up to success. This was another strategy that, along with Piano University, helped the company become the undisputed leader in its market.

All of us at 3TS commend Paino’s management team for the undeniable success of creating a global leader that’s bound to continue to be successful for a long time to come.

Feel free to reach out to discuss details or how-to’s for any of the points above: stotia@3tscapital.com


ShiftMed Closes Acquisition of CSU, Becomes Leading Healthcare Workforce Management Platform
Exciting to see ShiftMed take this strategic, transformational step, which fortifies the company’s position in the US. ShiftMed has come a very long way, since 3TS originally invested when the company had just single-digit revenues six short years ago. Exciting times ahead!

German Influencer marketing agency The Influencer GmbH is now part of Boksi.com.

The Influencer GmbH has joined our portfolio company Boksi, expanding the company’s reach in Germany. With a new regional HQ in Hamburg, Boksi is experiencing rapid growth. This acquisition strengthens the network of creators and influencers, enhancing data insights and operational efficiency. Boksi’s CEO Lasse Laaksonen says, “This partnership accelerates our growth and improves our service in Germany.

Autenti partners with the Romanian market leader – Trans Sped
Autenti adds another significant partnership with Trans Sped, a leading provider of electronic signatures in the Romanian market. This move aligns with their strategy to offer a comprehensive solution for document signing across boarders. With Trans Sped’s integration, they’re one step closer to providing their clients with the best digital transaction tools available.


Alica Mozolikova – Fund Operations Analyst 

At 3TS Capital Partners, Alica is part of the operations team, handling reporting, accounting, investor relations, audit, performance monitoring, managing service providers, and other fund administration related topics.

Before joining 3TS in September 2023, Alica started her career within the audit department at one of the Big Four accounting firms and later moved to Deal Advisory as a Merger and Acquisition Associate. There she actively participated in helping businesses achieve their financial, strategic, and commercial objectives. She gained experience in assisting in most aspects of M&A transactions. Her industry coverage included technology, real estate, and automotive. Based in Bratislava, Alica holds an MSc degree in Finance and Management from the University of St. Andrews. Previously, she earned a BA degree in Economics and Finance from Charles University in Prague and an MA degree in Fine and Decorative Arts from Sotheby’s Institute, London. 

Alica likes to devote her time to book reading, running, and a nice round of golf with friends, in wintertime she enjoys skiing. She is passionate about the intersection of fine art and high finance and is always interested in exploring further intricacies of this area. She has learnt that we have two hands, one for helping ourselves, and the other for helping others. 

Alica’s Favorite Quote: “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” – Abraham Lincoln
Last Book Read: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty – Patrick Radden Keefe


Elevate Your Marketing Dashboard: How to Impress the CEO, CRO, and CFO, by Carilu Dietrich
For software companies, marketing better be more science than art. Its critical to clearly, directly line up marketing programs to pipeline building and sales results. Benchmark your company against this weekly marketing dashboard, which is comprehensive, easy to use and will help align marketing with sales, finance and the CEO.

How to Accelerate Growth by Focusing on the Features You Already Have, by Ken Rudin ex SVP Products at Salesforce, Zynga
To drive more growth with the current product, the simple answer is — use this ARIA framework: analyze, reduce, introduce, assist. 80% of clients actually use 20% of product features. Selling what you have versus building more is a great way to grow, now, not when development delivers new releases in the future. These features already exist, they work, and sales/marketing/support already know them or can learn quickly. Read on to see how to implement ARIA.

Small Deals at Large Customers. Hooray!! And 100% At Risk, by SaaStr
Too many companies price low to get a chance to win clients. Problem one, is that being the low-cost provider is rarely a winning strategy in the long term. Problem two, which is bigger, is that in larger clients a low price is viewed as just an experiment that’s easily swept away, not taken seriously, or cut from budgets. Don’t be afraid to position as the premium-priced provider, land and then expand immediately. Take a look at these seven ways to up-sell your way in large customers.

12 Ways How the Top SaaS Companies Retain Clients, by Copyhackers
Here’s a series of great tactics to boost retention that can be implemented Monday morning. Net revenue retention (NRR) is equally or frankly more important than new business. Without strong NRR above 100%, consistently, over time, software companies don’t scale. There’s not enough sales resources or new business to effectively fill the gap left by low retention, especially as the revenue numbers get larger over time.


EU-Startups Summit – 9 – 10 May 2024, Valletta, Malta
Latitude59 – 22 – 24 May 2024, Tallinn, Estonia
Private Equity Insights – 23 May 2024, Warsaw, Poland
NOAH London – 3 – 4 June 2024, London, UK
Connect Day 2024 – 4 June 2024, Vienna, Austria