Enseo, a Plano-based provider of in-room technology services, has secured a growth investment from H.I.G. Capital to rapidly accelerate its organic and inorganic growth. The investment gives H.I.G. a majority stake in the company.
The hospitality tech company plans to use the capital to continue innovating in the hospitality industry. Its patented solutions are currently used by guests in more than 300,000 rooms worldwide—offering in-room entertainment, managed WiFi, smart room automation, energy management, and a suite of health and safety capabilities.
The investment will also help the 21-year-old, Latina-led company to expand into the senior living, education, and healthcare markets.
“Enseo is uniquely positioned to build upon its meaningful innovations in this market to address some of the major challenges in the industry, including employee safety systems, IoT room controls, and contactless technologies,” Todd Ofenloch, a managing director at H.I.G, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the Enseo management team to support their growth initiatives.”
H.I.G is a Miami-based global private equity and alternative investment firm that has $44 billion of equity capital under management, according to a news release. The team specializes in providing both debt and equity capital to small and mid-sized companies, with its current portfolio including more than 100 firms.
“H.I.G.’s investment is a testament to Enseo’s unique capabilities, leading market position, and substantial opportunity for growth,” Vanessa Ogle, Enseo’s founder, CEO, and chairman, said in a statement. “Enseo’s success is a result of its amazing team, loyal customers, and committed vendor partners who worked hand-in-hand with us to successfully navigate the effects of COVID-19 on the travel industry. The best is truly yet to come.”
With the investment, Ogle will remain chairman of the board. She will also serve in an interim CEO role until a new chief executive is named via a committee process.
Entertainment and experience management
Enseo lauds itself as the premier provider of customer experience management technology in the U.S. Its in-guest-room entertainment and customer experience management tech reaches more than 85 million users annually through Fortune 500 and industry-leading customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic was brutal for many people connected to the hospitality industry, but Ogle refused to let the crisis dismantle the business she had spent more than two decades building. Last year Enseo was issued more than 10 new patents, with several related to touchless technology and remote control.
Transforming smartphones with Fido
In May 202, Enseo leveled up its enseoCONNECT product by adding what it callsl Fido. Fido turns a hotel guest’s smartphone into a type of universal remote. By scanning a QR code, guests can control the TV, thermostat, lights, and other smart devices with a cell phone. They also can see the details of cleaning and sanitization processes for the room and the building.
In a matter of weeks, the improved enseoCONNECT system was launched in more than 20,000 hotel rooms. Early last summer, enseoCONNECT won the Hospitality Technology Next Generation TechOvation Award for 2020.
In February 2021, Enseo announced a partnership with WarnerMedia to provide HBO on its in-room entertainment platform by subscription or free to guests where hotels subscribe. With enseoCONNECT, guests can access and control HBO through their smart devices.
Other recent Enseo additions include VERA, a video-enabled remote agent that assists guests with a live feed, and MadeSafe Checkpoint, which measures an employee’s temperature before shifts.
From high touch to “my touch”
“In the past, the hotel experience was ‘high-touch,’ but now guests want the flexibility to choose how much contact they want—or ‘my touch,’” Ogle says. Enseo’s contactless technologies let guests use their own devices and reduce unwanted contact with surfaces or people.
In March 2021, the company also celebrated another important measure of success: More than half its executive team is now female, thanks to two recent hires.
Ogle herself gained attention in 2020 when she made Inc’s third rendition of its Female Founders 100, an annual list that celebrates the female entrepreneurs who are producing game-changing innovations, inspiring others, or having fast success.
“I am proud to look at our leadership team and the awesome talent I get to work with every day,” Enseo previously said. “The fact that more than half of the leaders on our executive team are women … that is a milestone worth celebrating.”
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