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Catalyst invests $41 million in Chicago firm Fusion Risk Management - Bazini Hopp, LLC


Crain's Chicago Business

June 13, 2017

Chicago disaster recovery firm gets $41 million safety net
By John Pletz

Unless you spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the next disaster, you probably don’t know Fusion Risk Management.

That’s about to change. The Rolling Meadows-based company just landed $41 million, led by Catalyst Investors.

Fusion was founded in 2006 by David Nolan and with former colleagues Vic Fricas, John Jackson and Bob Sibik, who ran the disaster-recovery business at Rosemont-based technology equipment-leasing giant Comdisco. They’ve long toiled in the unsexy niche of helping big companies plan and handle disasters, from hurricanes to terrorist attacks. Nolan says Fusion goes a step further, from helping companies draw up plans to actually managing them. Its software helps digitize and automate those plans by enabling simple but crucial elements such as updating the people responsible for certain tasks.

“We’re getting people to think differently about business continuity management,” said Nolan, 58. “The problem with most risk tools is they point out the problem, not how to fix it.”

Fusion customers sign up for multiyear subscriptions, mostly in the upper five figures, starting as low as $20,000. One-third are over $100,000.

The company has grown to 160 customers, including three in the top 10 of the Fortune 100, Nolan says. Among its big customers are Deerfield-based Walgreens and Chicago-based TransUnion.

“If you just looked at the company’s profile, it’s hitting its stride and had reached a certain level of scale,” says Ryan McNally, a partner at New York-based Catalyst Investors, which provides growth capital to later-stage companies. It had been looking at the broader space of tech-enabled service companies in governance, risk and compliance when it was introduced to Fusion last year.

“They’ve had some really great wins with Fortune 500 companies, and they seemed to be beating the competition head to head,” McNally said. “They were showing 50 to 60 percent top-line growth, flirting with profitability. The financial indicators were that there’s something here, and it’s working.”

Fusion raised $2.3 million from angel investors in 2014, then another $8.1 million from Level Equity at the end of the same year. Since then, the company has grown from 17 employees to 70. It’s doubling both its headquarters space at 3601 Algonquin Road in Rolling Meadows to 11,000 square feet and its downtown office at 2 N. Riverside Plaza to 13,500 square feet.

Nolan said some of the new capital will go to co-founders, as well as to beefing up the company’s balance sheet.