Laxton poised for acquisitions as biometrics platform enabler with latest investment
An investment in Laxton by private equity firm Enlightenment Capital sets the stage for potential acquisitions by the biometrics provider.
The relationship between Laxton and Enlightenment is not longstanding, but nor is it completely new, Laxton says.
“We’ve partnered with them both so that we can grow the business, obviously organically, but I think more important, inorganically through M&A,” Laxton Founder and CEO Lyle Laxton told Biometric Update in an interview.
The company received an undisclosed investment from Enlightenment, and is currently pursuing strategic M&A opportunities.
While he declined to provide details on the area his company is considering investing in, Laxton emphasizes the ability to expand its biometric offerings based on the company’s technology platform.
This is an evolution from the early days of Laxton, when it was focused on hardware, with some middleware development to support its integrations.
Now, he says, Laxton technologies can serve entire processes, “end-to-end,” in the company’s four key verticals. Those verticals are elections, civil ID, border security and law enforcement.
That evolution, Lyle Laxton says, is behind the recent move to rebrand, dropping “Group” from its name.
“The goal is to be able to handle the full ecosystem, there, on the hardware, software and support levels,” he explains. “I think from a branding point of view, we want to project first, that we’re a full system integrator, which we’ve been for a while. The other thing is to make it clear that we’re utilizing Laxton as a platform, not only to scale our own four verticals organically, but to look for great other businesses and vehicles to clip onto that platform. So, the branding coinciding with the deal announcement, everything obviously is interwoven strategically.”
Laxton is now looking into opportunities in complementary technology markets and supply chains.
Must play well with others
Many of the systems deployed in Laxton’s four key verticals are large-scale, integrated projects. One result of that is a wide range of models for engagement with various stakeholders and partners.
“In a lot of cases governments or organizations want to improve certain segments,” Laxton states. “It’s not necessarily all at once.”
In some cases, Laxton provides everything, “but that’s actually quite rare,” he says. “In most cases you’re working with partners locally as well as other system integrators.”
Sometimes biometrics providers will work together on one project and bid against each other on another, according to Laxton.
Laxton says his company has partnered “quite closely” with both OSIA and MOSIP, and he lauds both initiatives as ways of moving beyond difficulties that have hindered some government projects in the past.
Scale and scope
The deal with Enlightenment, Laxton says, is “highly strategic and very, very focused,” and the company’s interest in investment was “not open-ended.”
“In order to grow inorganically with M&A, especially with deals of substantial size, you need a strong financial partner that’s on the same page as you and believes in the same strategy,” he says.
Notice of the new funding was tucked into an announcement on the launch of Infinite ID, based on the acquisition by Enlightenment of Printscan.
“PrintScan and Laxton go a long way back,” Lyle Laxton says. “We’re actually sister companies.” The businesses have very different focusses, however, making direct collaboration unlikely.
Laxton says he sees the Enlightenment investment as a strong strategic partnership as the company is looking to leverage its role as a biometric “platform enabler” to “make a big difference in this industry as tis dramatically evolving.”
With that partnership in place, Laxton has the right mechanisms now, operationally and financially, to keep up with rapid pace of change around biometrics and digital identity.
“We see a lot of great opportunities,” the CEO says.