Plex Systems was started in 1995 to help those in the automotive space track every single detail of the manufacturing process, and has since grown to attract more than 500 companies as customers. But now the company has beefed up with some extra private equity funding and money from its management to target new industries.
“We have a great product and a great customer base,” says CEO Mark Symonds. “We started in automotive and are the best product out there in automotive. We wanted to get that same stature in food and beverage and a couple other areas.”
The Auburn Hills, MI-based company (formerly known as Plexus Systems) came on our radar this week when an SEC filing revealed the company had brought in $500,000 in equity-based funding, from 17 investors. Symonds says the money comes from its management. Plex also raised more than $5.2 million last year from private equity firm Apax Partners and company founder Robert Beatty.
The new funding will go toward sales and marketing efforts to hit those new target industries, which also include the medical devices and life sciences spaces, and homeland security and defense. “We’ve been growing, but wanted to grow more quickly,” Symonds says.
Plex’s software-as-a-service tracks the nuts and bolts of the manufacturing process for its customers—including orders, raw materials, shipping, accounting, inventory management, and labor, Symonds says. “We’re strongest in highly regulated, high liability industries, where product failures kill people,” because the software enables customers to “take a failed part and find out what went wrong,” he says.
The technology was born at automotive parts supplier MSP Industries, but spun out as a separate company to sell its software to others in the sector, Symonds says. Since then, it’s also picked up customers in the metalformer business. The new push for customers in the food industry has already paid off, Symonds says. Plex has added a big honey processor, rum distillery, and beef processing plant as new accounts.
With the new money, it’s focusing heavy on case studies, video content, and lead generation, and is “hiring people that are really savvy in those areas,” Symonds says. It will be adding to its roughly 165-person headcount in Michigan and as sales staff throughout the country, he says.
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