SEG Client Stories: Chris Atkinson, CEO of Investor Management Services

VIDEO LENGTH 3:18 minutes

IMS CEO Chris Atkinson highlights why the team at Software Equity Group are the top M&A advisors in commercial real estate, citing their role in his company’s acquisition by RealPage. Watch the video for more details. View Transaction Details. 



{Chris Atkinson:} My name is Chris Atkinson. I am the CEO of Investor Management Services, or better known as IMS. We are a vertical software platform within the commercial real estate space that allows private equity investors to track the performance of their investments. The business was acquired by RealPage in December of 2019.

The Top M&A Advisors in the Commercial Real Estate Space

{Chris Atkinson:} Choosing an advisor to begin this process with was one of the most important decisions we faced. We spoke to a lot of potential partners and we ultimately selected SEG for two primary reasons. One, their reputation inside of our industry was impeccable. We’re in the commercial real estate space and the de facto advisor who’s led the most transactions and the most successful outcomes was SEG, so they came to us very highly recommended. But the second factor for us was the team within SEG sitting down with our team, it truly was a partnership. They wanted to understand what were our goals, what were our concerns ultimately and did we want to move quickly or did we want to take our time? And they built a strategy around our goals. So SEG was head and shoulders the right partner for us.

Getting to That Last Mile

{Chris Atkinson:} So when you think about a process like we just went through the way that I can think about it, breaking it into three distinct parts. There’s the top of the process, there’s the middle, and then there’s the bottom, sort of the the last mile. SEG was critically important for us in each of those three sections. 

First, was the pre-marketing stage, which when you’re running a company and your management team is in that hamster wheel, you can tell your story but it’s really from your operational lens. What SEG pulled us out of was at the 30,000 foot, here’s what that means in market and here’s why that’s important, here’s why that’s unique. So they really helped us with the messaging and pre market and just had us thinking bigger. 

In the middle layer was the management team and the management visits, and again, we’ve got phenomenal leaders truly inside of IMS. They are functional experts. But when it comes time to answering questions succinctly and really understanding what’s being asked, you really needed some training and some rehearsal and SEG really helped us get that message tight. 

Finally at the close was the last mile. Running a process is about as high stakes as you’re going to find when investors (or even on the buyer side) when agendas start to diverge. Staying calm, staying focused, knowing when to push back, knowing when to relent… SEG did a phenomenal job of keeping us focused on the goal.

Putting Faith in SEG

{Chris Atkinson:} Choosing a partner is putting a lot of faith in the decision and you don’t know until the end if that’s a partner that you really feel you would work with again. For us it’s it’s double sweet because the outcome itself was a 10 out of 10 for our investors and for our team. So I’m very appreciative for SEG, for the results that they were able to deliver. But more important for me is going forward. There’s not a question, If I’m in a situation again where I’m looking for an advisor, I will be working with SEG in the future.