6th Jan 2013. Czech/Australian defence gaming firm Bohemia Interactive Simulations s.r.o. (BISim) has announced it has secured investment from global private equity firm the Riverside Company. Terms of the investment have not been disclosed.
Based in Prague but with Australian connections, BISim is a market leading innovator, developer and provider of games for training technology and interactive simulation systems sold to defence, emergency andmission-critical customers. BISim supplies the U.S. Department of Defense, UK Ministry of Defence, Australian Defence Force and a range of other international clients. BISim’s flagship product, Virtual Battle space 2 (VBS2) is the de-facto industry standard within its segment.
VBS2 (http://products.bisimulations.com) is a fully interactive, three-dimensional training and simulation system suitable for a wide range of military or commercial training and experimentation purposes, particularly for tactical training and mission rehearsal scenarios.
BISim was founded in 2001 in Australia, and has since 2007 been led by CEO Pete Morrison, who was previously a Captain in the Australian Army. In the army, Mr. Morrison was involved with delivering game-based training to soldiers as a part of mission rehearsal exercises for deployments to Iraq. Once retired from the armed forces, Mr. Morrison and BISim CTO, Dr. Mark Dzulko, saw tremendous growth opportunity in the simulation field, as the provision of high-quality training across a wide range of skills and scenarios was critical to the effectiveness of modern militaries. Together, they fostered an alliance with Czech-based Bohemia Interactive Studio, the producer of the popular Arma series of entertainment games based on simulating military combat, and grew Bohemia as a joint venture.
BISim’s central sales offices are in the U.S., part of the Team Orlando area of excellence for military simulation technology. In addition, BISim has major sales and operations offices in the UK, Australia, Czech Republic, and, most recently, Poland, with plans for further international expansion.
“We’re delighted about partnering with Riverside,” said Pete Morrison. “Their global footprint and deep knowledge of the software industry will help us continue expanding and meeting the dynamic needs of our clients.”
The existing BISim management team remains essentially unchanged into 2013, with Peter Morrison continuing as the CEO and Dr Mark Dzulko the CTO. John Givens is the President of the US office, and Ryan Stephenson the Managing Director of the Australian team. Colin Hillier and Oli Arup continue as the Directors of the UK studio. BISim has also announced the appointment of Arthur Alexion as the new Deputy CEO.
Riverside Partner Dr. Martin Scott, who leads Riverside’s Software and IT specialization in Europe said “BISim is leading the way in a technology segment which is already experiencing extremely strong and sustained growth, and will do so in the coming years,” said Scott. “VBS2 and the pipeline of innovations and products that BISim has are setting the standards in this dynamic space. These products and services are transforming the way in which military personnel are trained. Most importantly, the use of these training tools leads to saving lives.”
BISim were advised by Business Development Asia LLC as a joint financial advisor along with CN Finance from the Czech Republic.
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Clifford Chance LLP, KPMG UK and Czech, and Kordian Group LLC advised Riverside on the investment.
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing businesses valued at up to $200 million (€200 million in Europe). Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 300 transactions. The firm’s international portfolio includes more than 70 companies.
Previous Australian investments include e-Learning firm Learning Seat (Nov 2012), healthy quick-serve restaurant operator and franchisor Retail Zoo (May 2010) and Independent medical assessment provider MLCOA (June 2010).