Ionic Partners Completes Sale of Gigster to Virtasant

Dramatic Transformation of Gigster Under Ionic’s Ownership

Ionic Partners, a global investment platform focused on the acquisition of ‘Second Chasm’ enterprise software companies, announced today the successful completion of the sale of Gigster to Virtasant, a leading provider of cloud optimization services. This sale crystallizes a dramatic transformation of the Gigster business since its acquisition by Ionic in May 2021.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gigster to the Virtasant family,” said Michael Kearns, CEO of Virtasant. “Gigster’s innovative approach to assembling cloud teams, combined with Virtasant’s cloud expertise, will enable us to deliver even greater value to our customers. We look forward to working closely with the Gigster team to drive continued growth and success.”

Ionic’s decision to acquire Gigster in 2021 stemmed from the team’s research-driven approach to understanding the future of work. Ionic developed an investment thesis around delivering scalable software solutions via the human cloud and identified Gigster as being uniquely positioned as an investment candidate.

Founded in 2014 and backed by well-established venture capital investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, Y Combinator and others, Gigster quickly built a roster of blue-chip customers and established a strong reputation as an innovative platform for the delivery of advanced software products, built by the best engineering talent in the world. However, despite having established itself as an early leader, Gigster was facing a number of business and financial constraints that threatened the company’s existence.

“At the time of Ionic’s investment, Gigster was saddled with operational and balance sheet issues that hindered the business and obscured the exceptional quality of Gigster’s products, employees, and customers,” described Donald Park, Co-Founder of Ionic Partners. “This is not uncommon among ‘Second Chasm’ companies – organizations with excellent products and people but burdened by misalignment among stakeholders.”

The successful sale of Gigster to Virtasant represents the culmination of a significant turnaround under Ionic’s ownership. In less than three years, Ionic Partners utilized its differentiated transformation approach, value creation strategies, and operational best practices to overhaul Gigster’s business. Ionic reconstructed Gigster’s operational framework, achieved profitability, expanded its employee base globally, and deepened strategic relationships with Fortune 500 clients, propelling the company towards strong growth and scalability. This growth was further amplified by Gigster’s acquisition of CodersRank, now Metrx, in 2023.

The strategic sale of Gigster to Virtasant also represents a significant milestone in Ionic Partners’ growth strategy and underscores its commitment to delivering exceptional value to its investors, partners, and portfolio companies.

Some highlights of Ionic’s investment in Gigster include:

Distinctive sourcing and evaluation: Ionic leveraged its extensive domain expertise to identify a unique investment opportunity.

Fast, fair, and disciplined partner: The acquisition of Gigster was completed in 10 business days – being fast, fair, and disciplined are all hallmarks of Ionic’s approach.

Immediate atomic-level operational focus: Ionic deployed its team of experienced operators and proprietary best practices and playbooks to accelerate transformation and reinvest in the business.

Organic and inorganic growth: Ionic drove revenue growth by focusing on providing more value to existing customers, achieving ‘100% customer success’, and expanding into new markets and products, including the CodersRank acquisition.

Finding the right home: Combining Gigster with a highly strategic acquirer in Virtasant provides Gigster’s employees, customers, and products with the best platform for its future growth.

Looking Ahead:
As Gigster embarks on this new chapter, Ionic Partners remains committed to identifying and nurturing exceptional investment opportunities. The firm will continue to seek out challenged but durable businesses, pursuing strong asymmetric return potential without typical early-stage risk.

About Ionic Partners:
Led by a team of seasoned software operators, Ionic Partners is a global enterprise software platform focused on Second Chasm companies with strong core products and recurring revenue. Ionic creates extraordinary value through a product-led thesis, leveraging a cloud-first global workforce, building elastic infrastructure, and infusing world-class operating best practices into the daily workflow of their companies.
For more information, visit

About Virtasant:
Virtasant is a leading provider of cloud optimization, cloud operations, product development, and outsourcing services. As a global team of cloud professionals in over 130 countries, we work with leading companies around the world to help them thrive in the cloud.
For more information, visit

Ionic Partners unites Edsembli and Sparkrock to forge a new powerhouse in Canada’s K-12 EdTech space

Ionic Partners announced the acquisition of Edsembli, a leading provider of ERP & SIS solutions for K-12 school boards in Canada, merging it with Sparkrock. This strategic move aims to unite industry leaders, enhance product offerings, accelerate technological advancements, and foster community collaboration for greater impact on student outcomes.

March 19, 2024 – Ionic Partners announced today that they have acquired Edsembli, a trusted provider of ERP & SIS solutions tailored to K-12 school boards across Canada. Ionic Partners will integrate Edsembli into its previous acquisition in the K-12 education space – Sparkrock. This strategic move unites two industry leaders in Canada, accelerating innovation and increasing scalability for their customers. Moving forward, Ionic remains committed to working closely with the unified Sparkrock and Edsembli teams, focusing on strategic value creation via Ionic’s proprietary best practices and prioritizing successful outcomes for each of the combined company’s valued customers.

By harnessing the strengths of both organizations, Sparkrock is set to deliver an enhanced suite of Finance, HR/Payroll, and SIS solutions. This combination will seamlessly blend decades of industry experience with cutting-edge technology, improve the speed of implementations, and accelerate the development of AI-enhanced solutions, ultimately helping school districts make a greater impact on student outcomes.

“Sparkrock and Edsembli will bring together two world-class organizations with truly complementary products in the K-12 space. We already share numerous customers & are united in our unwavering dedication to achieving 100% customer success,” stated Andy Tryba, CEO of Sparkrock. “Bringing these two companies together will empower both customer communities to benefit from our team’s extensive industry expertise and world-class products.”

Randy Lenaghan, CEO of Edsembli, shared his thoughts on the acquisition, “Joining Sparkrock marks an exciting new chapter for Edsembli. Our product suites, years of experience and organizational cultures complement perfectly. But this combination is not solely about merging products; it’s about reshaping how educational institutions leverage technology to achieve greater efficiency and impact.”

Key Highlights of the Acquisition:

  1. A Leader in Edtech for K-12 in Canada: This acquisition positions the combined entity as a leading ERP & SIS solutions provider for the K-12 education sector in Canada
  2. Comprehensive ERP & SIS Solution: The new Sparkrock will merge the ‘best of’ feature sets to offer a comprehensive ERP solution and an integrated SIS platform.
  3. Accelerating Migrations & Implementations: With additional resources & expertise – new and existing customers can now accelerate their move to the cloud and receive the benefits of greater flexibility, scalability, and security.
  4. Community Collaboration: Continuing to foster community-driven forums, workshops, and user groups, with a strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and collaborative growth.

Stacy Veld, Superintendent of Business Services and Treasurer at the District School Board of Niagara, a joint customer of Sparkrock and Edsembli, also shared her enthusiasm: “We are thrilled about Sparkrock’s acquisition of Edsembli. This merger brings together two highly regarded software enterprises in educational technology, promising us enhanced solutions and services. We eagerly anticipate the innovative changes and improvements that will support our system and day-to-day operations.”

About Ionic Partners

Led by a team of seasoned software operators, Ionic Partners is a global enterprise software platform focused on investing in businesses with strong core products and durable recurring revenue. Ionic creates extraordinary value through a product-led thesis and by infusing world-class operating best practices into the daily workflow of their companies.

For more information, please visit or follow @IonicPartners on Twitter

About Edsembli

Edsembli is a leader in ERP and SIS solutions for K-12 education in Canada. Their solutions empower educators to reshape the student learning journey. By integrating essential functions like human resources, payroll, finance, and student information management into a singular platform, Edsembli seeks to modernize educational institutions to meet the demands of contemporary education.

For more information, please visit

About Sparkrock

Since its establishment in 2003, Sparkrock has provided ERP solutions to Education, Nonprofit, Health, and Human Service organizations. Their ERP software, Sparkrock 365, is built on the highly reliable and secure Microsoft cloud platform. While most solutions are built for for-profit businesses, Sparkrock 365 is specifically designed to empower educational institutions with essential tools for thriving in the digital era.

For more information, please visit or follow @sparkrockinc on Twitter

Why managers hate remote work

It’s true – most managers hate remote work. 

Yes, they trust their employees.

Yes, they want a culture of flexibility & openness.

Yes, they believe that results matter more than hours logged.

But no – they still hate remote work.


It’s not that managers don’t like the theory of remote work.

Who doesn’t want to believe that everyone is more productive in their pajamas, banging away at home in an asynchronous manner, only being interrupted from their deep work by their Amazon delivery person? 

It’s just that it’s not a world most managers live in today. 

Most managers are not trying to solve the problem – ‘how I can get John to work more efficiently’.

They’re trying to solve the problem – ‘how I can get John, Kevin, and Sara to all collaborate together to immediately solve this urgent customer issue’.

Remote work makes this more difficult. 

Particularly if the company isn’t a remote-first culture and has always relied on ‘in-person collaboration’. Most Fortune 500 companies are this way today – and many have recently spent MILLIONS to redesign their offices to the ‘open office’ concept to promote more impromptu collaboration.

So what should these managers that were forced to quickly go remote work do?

One easy solution is for managers to set up a virtual office like Sococo.

A virtual office is basically a pseudomorphic depiction of their physical office. It looks just like their physical office – but it’s online instead. Simple as that – no more, no less.

The manager can set up the virtual floor to have individual offices, cubes, meeting rooms, kitchen areas – or whatever else they want to recreate in the space.

The most important part for managers, however, is that their entire team is there and available.

When each team member starts work in the morning – they are automatically placed into their office. The manager can ‘see’ her team, go have impromptu chats, see the various team members collaborating, call a meeting with everyone, etc, etc. 

Just like a physical office – simply online instead.

Sometimes – just simplifying and getting the team back to par is a decent first step…

If you have any questions – please feel free to contact me at @andytryba.