Ellie Mae Moves Accelerated by Thoma Bravo Purchase

A month after being acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, Ellie Mae last week completed a restructuring that included layoffs of about 10 percent of its staff.

In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with Mortgage Media at the MBA’s National Secondary Market Conference, Ellie Mae President and CEO Jonathan Corr addressed the downsizing, saying it likely would have happened even if the company had stayed public.

“Being taken private, there are a bunch of costs that are public related. And when you’re growing very rapidly, and you’re in a public market, all you worry about is revenue growth,” Corr told Mortgage Media advisors Dave Matthews and Suresh Ramakrishnan. “With Thoma Bravo … we want to have smart, profitable revenue growth.”

Ellie Mae had been looking at ways to continue to accelerate next-gen efforts, “The things we’re doing around the loan officer, Investor Connect … basically accelerator solutions, and increase our customer success,” Corr said.

“By looking at it that way, we made some small adjustments in the organizations. Likely, I would’ve done the same things as a public company. With a private owner, it just accelerated it, but it makes the company that much stronger to support our customer base in the industry.”

Corr covered many topics during the 38-minute interview, including what he expects from the company, now that it is owned by a private equity firm.

“A single investor that is completely aligned with where we want to take this company, which is continue on the journey to automate everything, get in a place where we can basically double the company over the next four to five years,” Corr said about Thoma Bravo. “Someone that gets the platform, gets the culture, is willing to allow us to continue, even accelerate our investment in our next gen, and support us not only through organic growth, but to go off and do acquisitions to add even more value. It’s fantastic.”

Ellie Mae is likely to continue to make moves.

“We’ve done many acquisitions over the last seven years and with a private equity type of situation, it’s a combination of equity and debt. We now have leverage so we can further the returns and, in general, that’s their thesis,” he said, pointing out how Thoma Bravo loves the idea of building around a platform for partners. “As they told me, they’ve never bought a company that hasn’t bought at least one other company and typically, it’s multiple. They’re very supportive of us going off and figuring out what’s the best way for us to deliver value to our customers on this journey to automate.”