Private equity firm Vertu Capital acquires developer platform ActiveState

Vertu closed $300 million CAD for its first private equity fund in March.

Toronto-based private equity firm Vertu Capital has acquired Vancouver software company ActiveState. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal marks Vertu’s first publicly announced acquisition since closing $300 million for its first fund earlier this year.

“This is exactly the type of company Vertu looks to invest in – a well-run business, with proprietary technology and incredible market potential.” – Gil Nayot, Vertu Capital partner

At the time of the fund’s close, a Vertu Capital spokesperson told BetaKit it planned to invest in software and software-enabled companies, focusing on enterprise customers with $20 million or more in annual revenue that are either breaking even or profitable.

The spokesperson also noted that the fund was aiming to invest between $25 million and $75 million per deal in companies worth up to $500 million, and that it planned to double or triple the size of its business before selling.

ActiveState’s platform helps software developers create and manage applications that use open source programming languages securely. The company says that without proper controls verifying the origins of open source code, applications can be compromised by open source supply chain attacks. Its platform provides an open-source catalogue of secured code packages, a secure code-building service, and build verification to ensure final packages haven’t been compromised.

Founded in 1997, ActiveState has changed hands a few times over its lifespan. In 2003, the company was acquired by Sophos, then sold in 2006 to Pender Financial Group for $2.25 million USD. In 2015, Hewlett-Packward acquired ActiveState’s Stackato business, a cloud software used to build and deploy applications on the cloud foundry project. In early 2021, ActiveState CEO Bart Copeland said the company was “thrilled to join with” Turn/River Capital after it made an undisclosed strategic investment into the company.

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Vertu said that the widespread adoption of open-source code has led to significant productivity improvements in software development, but it has also introduced complexity around its security. ActiveState claims over two million developers and 97 percent of the Fortune-1000 use its platform.

“ActiveState is a well-established provider with a strong track record that is ideally positioned to support customers as both the complexity of managing open source applications grows, and with it, the need to protect against vulnerabilities,” Vertu Capital partner Gil Nayot said in a statement. “This is exactly the type of company Vertu looks to invest in—a well-run business, with proprietary technology and incredible market potential.”

Peter Lee, who Vertu says is an operating advisor at the firm, will chair ActivateState’s board following the acquisition. Vertu says Lee is a tech founder and operator with more than 20 years of experience scaling software businesses, with operational, product, and talent management expertise.

Image courtesy Arif Riyanto on Unsplash.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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