Lucid’s $1.1B Sale Makes It New Orleans’ First ‘Unicorn’

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Patrick Comer

NEW ORLEANS — News broke today that the Cint Group, a Swedish market research firm, has agreed to buy New Orleans-based analytics company Lucid for roughly $1.1 billion. 

Cint, which listed on the Stockholm and NASDAQ exchanges in February, said it will pay $580 million in cash and $470 million in shares for Lucid. 

“Cint and Lucid are complementary leaders in the insights industry, helping insights-driven companies unlock substantial efficiencies across their value chains,” said Cint CEO Tom Buehlmann in a statement posted to the company’s website. “Us coming together will be a transformational step change for Cint. The combined organization will be a global leader in technology-enabled insights, and further strengthen Cint’s current proven business model.”

Founded in 2010 by Patrick Comer, Lucid makes software that “helps organizations access survey takers who contribute authentic responses to their studies providing valuable data for their insights.” The company, which has been growing year after year, said it has approximately 230 employees spread across offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

The sale means Lucid has become the city’s first tech “unicorn,” a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a startup business with a value of more than $1 billion. The sale comes a month after New Orleans-based tech company Levelset sold for approximately $500 million and in the same year that Turbosquid, another New Orleans tech startup, sold for $75 million. 

Experts say one potential benefit of the sale is that some of Lucid’s investors who will profit from it may use some of the proceeds to invest in other local tech upstarts, feeding the New Orleans technology ecosystem. Needless to say, the city’s economic development community — including Michael Hecht, the CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. — is beyond thrilled by the news.

“The Lucid exit is the capstone on over a decade of effort within our startup community,” Hecht told Biz New Orleans. “Patrick and his team have been all home-town drive, creativity and class, and it is wonderful to see the payoff. Combined with the recent success of Levelset, and many other recent exits and recent rounds, the Lucid exit is a ‘drop the mic’ moment for our entrepreneurial ecosystem.  It means validation, it means wealth creation, and it means the fly-wheel of entrepreneurial success is beginning to spin for Greater New Orleans.”

Buehlmann, the Cint CEO, noted that the proposed transaction is subject to customary conditions and approvals and is expected to close by the end of 2021. “Until the transaction is completed, Cint and Lucid will remain separate independent companies, and will not begin integrating or acting as a single company in any way,” he said.

Comer, meanwhile, is expected to become chairman of Cint’s board of directors — and Lucid’s owners will now own 17% of the Swedish company.

“I am thrilled to welcome Patrick Comer and the entire team at Lucid to the Cint family,” said Buehlmann. “Together we will continue to serve our industry’s demand for digitalization and the need for faster, more cost-effective, and scalable technology solutions.”

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