Utrecht-based Specialisterren, a social enterprise and IT service provider specialising in software testing and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), announces that it has received an investment from Oslo-based Unicus, a social enterprise that specialises in data science, software development, and quality assurance and testing.
As a shareholder, Unicus will work closely with Specialisterren and strengthen their product offerings to allow more people with autism to get permanent jobs, the companies mentioned in a press release.
Lars Johansson-Kjellerød, founder and CEO of Unicus, says, “The services of Unicus and Specialisterren complement each other perfectly. With this transaction, both companies will strengthen their product offerings in RPA, Business Intelligence, data science, software testing, and development.”
With this investment, early investor DOEN Participaties announced its exit from Specialisterren by transferring its shares to Unicus.
Beau-Anne Chilla, Impact Investment Manager at DOEN Participaties, says, “DOEN contributed with great passion to the growth in the first phase. We are therefore incredibly proud that we can hand over the baton and expect that the company will grow even bigger in the future through European collaboration! Our exit from Specialisterren shows that it is possible to grow social enterprises stably and sell them with positive returns. We hope this will inspire more investors to get into social enterprises as well.”
Founded in 2010 by Sjoerd van der Maaden, Specialisterren has created hundreds of jobs over the past 13 years and currently employs fifty people with autism as testers and other IT professionals. The number is set to go up to 75 in 2022 with the collaboration with Unicus.
Sjoerd van der Maaden, CEO of Specialisterren, says, “Everything is right about this collaboration, and that is very special. We are extremely grateful to DOEN Participaties, our investor from the very beginning, for helping to make this step possible. We share the same mission, vision, business management with Unicus, and above all, the desire to allow people with autism who until recently had no work to flourish in IT until recently.”
Johansson-Kjellerød says, “It is a valuable addition for our customers and (future) employees because the combined customer base and the expansion of the service offering creates even more jobs for people with autism.”