Kartesia invests €75 million in flexible talent provider HeadFirst

29 October 2020 Consultancy.eu 2 min. read

In its first investment in the Benelux in three years, French private equity group Kartesia has taken a stake in Netherlands-headquartered consulting, external staffing and managed services provider HeadFirst Group.

With an annual turnover of more than €1 billion, HeadFirst is the Netherlands’ second-largest provider of flexible talent solutions. The firm, which serves over 350 clients across Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Scandinavia, Poland and Switzerland) operates with a number of labels, including namesake HeadFirst, Staffing MS, Myler, Proud and more.

Under the wings of Kartesia and the €75 million the investor will pump into its coffers, HeadFirst wants to shift its already steep growth trajectory into the next gear. Just two years ago, when HeadFirst was acquired by Beryllium and a Swiss investor from Value8 (a domestic Dutch investor), the company generated to the tune of €500 million in revenues.

Kartesia invests €75 million in flexible talent provider HeadFirst

Stellar growth of its flexible staffing division has been the main driver of growth – HeadFirst now brokers close to 12,000 independent professionals per year, around 10.000 of which are contracted out on a daily basis. Its managed services divisions, which runs the external hiring desks of corporates and government agencies, has grown its roster of clients to in the dozens. 

The group also expanded its consulting offering focused on procurement, tender management and contracting advisory services, although this unit represents a relatively small part of the business. 

“HeadFirst is one of the leading players in the HR services market in the Benelux, offering innovative, value-added solutions for its client, supplier and freelance base,” said Jean Diercxsens, a Director at Kartesia, a Paris-based private equity firm that specialises in European small and mid-cap market deals. 

For Han Kolff, the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of HeadFirst Group, the time was right to attract a next round of capital. “We want to accelerate our growth strategy, both within the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe,” he said. “The investment and their expertise will be invaluable.” The objective is two-fold: “We want to further penetrate existing markets and launch operations in new markets.”

Meanwhile, HeadFirst will also focus on expanding its service portfolio into adjacent segments with the aim of becoming a “full-service HR services provider,” said Kolff. Investing into technology and solutions will be integral to this end.

HeadFirst Group was established in its current form when HeadFirst and Source Group merged in 2016, added with the 2018 acquisitions of Staffing MS and Myler. The company is headquartered in Hoofdorp.

Other participations of Kartesia in the Benelux are Desmet Ballestra and SPI in Belgium, Ecore in Luxembourg, and Main Energie in the Netherlands.