Software testing business founded by Scottish entrepreneur acquired for $330m

EDINBURGH-based entrepreneur George Mackintosh’s software testing platform Eggplant has been acquired by California based Keysight Technologies for $330 million.

Mr Mackintosh was the largest private shareholder in the firm he founded and is thought to have received around $22 million as a result of the deal.

London-headquartered Eggplant had been majority owned by investment firm The Carlyle Group since 2016. Santa Rosa-based Keysight Technologies, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $18.25 billion, was formed as a spin-out from Hewlett Packard.

Eggplant’s Digital Automation Intelligence platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to test any technology on any device, operating system or browser at any layer, from the user interface (UI) to application programming interfaces (APIs).

Demand for its services and products has grown during the Covid pandemic.

Inverness-born Mr Mackintosh founded Eggplant, a three-time Queen’s Award for Enterprise winner, in the UK before establishing its US headquarters in Boulder, Colorado in 2010. He was CEO from 2008 to 2017 and remained on the board until the acquisition was completed this month. He was the single largest private shareholder at the time of the deal.

He previously founded 3i-backed audio, video and web conferencing business Geoconference in Glasgow in 1996, selling up to Global Crossing (now CenturyLink) in 2000. He is also the chairman of shellfish exporter Laeso Fish Limited and an associate and former entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

A spokesman for Mr Mackintosh added: “The pace of digitisation has only increased in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and Eggplant is one of many tech players to have benefited from this trend.

“George has founded and managed equity-backed technology companies for the last 28 years and is highly skilled in software, services and hardware sales to global businesses in Europe, North America and Asia.

“The combination of market vision and that level of expertise in sales is arguably at the heart of the success he has had to date.  It will be interesting to see what George does next and there are certainly some interesting new ventures and projects in the pipeline.”

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