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Roy Singham: Investment company buys social IT consultancy Thoughtworks

Thursday, August 24th, 2017 | Gadgets

About 30 years ago, Roy Singham began developing IT consulting services. In the early 1990s, the consulting company Thoughtworks developed, which was influenced by the influence of the developer Martin Fowler on agile software development. After almost three decades in the private ownership of Singham, Thoughtworks has now been bought by an investment fund led by the investment company Apax Partners, as the company announced.

Private ownership as a business risk
Fowler writes in his blog that the sale did not happen unexpectedly. So Singham had for some time withdrawn from the active business of Thoughtworks. In the same way, the founder had been looking for a long-term model of ownership, such as a foundation.
However, Fowler would not have been able to raise Thoughtworks from his current business. Similarly, an unexpected death of Singham could have led to similar financial problems which could only have been resolved through an emergency sale. The threats to Thoughtworks associated with such events have now obviously been averted by Singham through the sale to Apex.
What will become of social responsibility?

Thoughtworks is well-known as an IT consulting company, above all also for its way of doing business, which emphasizes the company's own social responsibility. Fowler wrote in 2011, that this model was also taken over by the ice cream producer Ben & Jerry's. The company philosophy also reminds us of the culture that the DM founder Götz Werner has tried to implement in his drugstore chain. For this reason, Thoughtworks described Thoughtworks as a "socialist" concept, which was particularly flattering in the US.

Part of this company identity is to cultivate some open source projects, which are intended for humanitarian purposes. In recent years, the company has also increasingly focused on increasing the diversity of its own workforce as well as investigating pay for unfair distinctions, such as gender, and reducing these differences.
The fact that the acquisition of Thoughtworks by an investment company could change this approach is obvious. So writes Fowler in his blog: "Like many people, I have an instinctive mistrust of private equity." The British IT magazine The Register comments Apax Partners' intentions to sell the press release and writes: "Thoughtworks are pretty good in this DevOps and Cloud-native stuff, which we can always hear when we give them some cash We get some coal from those. "
Whether Thoughtworks actually changes his company identity, is not yet foreseeable. According to Fowler, Apax Partners was intensively involved with Thoughtworks and would probably not change the existing business practices. This is why the developer is also cautiously optimistic that the consultancy company can maintain its culture.


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