Case Study: hedgehog lab


Global technology consultancy, hedgehog lab, was founded by Sarat Pediredla and his business partner while they were working as developers at a digital agency. Together they created a tool for the financial services sector and generated interest in their software-as-a-service offering. The business then pivoted to a digital agency model and grew its market reach after expanding its office network to London and India, it then looked to the US, opening an office in Boston in April 2015.

Going from strength-to-strength revenues grew 130% in 2016 while staff headcount more than doubled to 98. In 2017, Maven invested through our Investor Partners network enabling the business to double its revenues with the company named as one of the fastest-growing tech consultancies in Europe for three years running.

As the business scaled, we provided further funding in 2019 which saw hedgehog’s international footprint continue to evolve, reaching global revenues of £5m for the first time and launch successful projects with household names including Kodak Moments and Deliciously Ella.

In 2023, we realised our investment in hedgehog following the sale to BGF to allow the business to embark on its next phase of development by acquiring digital product consultancy Netsells and bring new digital transformation services to the market.

In this video, Sarat Pediredla CEO and Co-founder of hedgehog lab and Michael Vassallo, Investment Director at Maven, talk about securing private equity backing being much more than just the finance and entering a new relationship with an investor can represent a significant change for a business, particularly in parallel with embarking on a programme of growth. They also talk about how a private equity partner shares the risks and rewards so finding a long-term business partner who is as committed to the business as the owners, is paramount to maintaining a long term, constructive working relationship and enhancing shareholder value.



Sarat Pediredla: Hedgehog Lab is a human-centred global tech consultancy. That means that we help brands develop digital products all across the globe. When we started our journey, we were looking to expand our business into the United States, which needed a little bit of investment, and ironically, we weren't at that stage looking for private equity. We just wanted to try and get some additional capital that we could basically invest and de-risk the process of opening an American office.

Michael Vassallo: Finding Hedgehog Lab that was building world-class software applications from a small base in Newcastle, and it had this massive growth potential, but needed a partner to help harness it. That's what we liked about the business when we first met. With our help, Sarat has managed to build that team around him and delegate responsibility and become a fantastic leader. Fantastic software applications that Hedgehog builds, help people become more efficient, more profitable. There's great demand for their services. So, we saw the team, we saw the growth potential, and we also saw value added that we could bring.

Sarat Pediredla: One of the things that really attracted us to Maven was that we felt that they could give us more value than just the funding, but I think what really sold it for us was the relationship that we built up with Michael. Bill, who was the founder of the business, actually spent a lot of time engaging with us, and building that relationship with us. So we felt like we were valued as an investee.

Michael Vassallo: I joined the board in 2017, and this was to work closely with Sarat, to help them build out a senior management team because the idea was to scale the business fourfold, and that's not easy to do and it's not easy to do on your own. So we had a hands-on approach with this investment. We've introduced a fantastic chairman, Charles Andrews, who's a very experienced chap across the software sector, we helped source the COO into the business, Yousaf Khalid.

Sarat Pediredla: Maven's funding really enabled us to achieve our growth ambitions because of three reasons, really. The first thing is just numerically, we quadrupled our business from the time we took Maven investment just in terms of topline revenue. We managed to bring a lot more professionalism and put a lot more structure into the organisation. We had our first board of directors, our first chairperson, it allowed us to really start thinking about business as a professional unit, and how we would scale it into a global business.

Michael Vassallo: We work very closely with Sarat and mentored him, and by the end of the investment, when we exited, the team was fantastic, it was a broad, rounded team with Sarat as a fantastic leader. It's been a very good relationship from day one, and it's grown into a really powerful relationship, in one which I think will endure, even now we've exited the business.

Sarat Pediredla: Michael has been instrumental, particularly through the challenging periods of the business. I think obviously when things were running fine, it's great for him to take a bit of a step back and let the management team do what they do best. But I think when things were challenging, when you needed that support and somebody to talk to, Michael was always there, I think more so than most private equity people will be, to really support the business.

Michael Vassallo: I worked closely with Sarat and the team to make sure that they would progress after the deal as well. So we did work around future-proofing the business, around what the business would look like post-investment of the new owners, because we believe in helping these businesses grow, make a good exit for Maven investors, but also we want to see the business sustained and grow after we've put our money in.

Sarat Pediredla: Our current aspiration is to effectively, like we did with Maven, we grew the business four times in the Maven investment period. We want to grow the business five times now and build a global technology powerhouse and hopefully with our new investors and the support that we've got, we're well on that journey.

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