Media release: Optimal Workshop raises $10m from Pioneer Capital to accelerate growth

3 min read Optimal Workshop

From left: Andrew Mayfield(CEO), Ben O’Grady(CFO), Seth Strumph(CTO), Meiken Bassant(COO)

FEB 8TH, 2022,  WELLINGTON NZ:  Optimal Workshop, a world leader in information architecture (IA) and digital user experience software, today announced a NZ$10 million investment by New Zealand private equity firm, Pioneer Capital.

It’s the first investment for Optimal Workshop, a New Zealand company with a deep-rooted history of challenging the status quo within the global user research industry.  It pioneered some of the most widely used tools used in the growing field of information architecture (IA), including its card sorting and tree testing tools, used in over a hundred countries by some of the world’s best known brands including Uber, IBM and General Electric.

“We are obsessed with providing better digital experiences for all,” says Optimal Workshop CEO, Andrew Mayfield.  “In a world of complexity, we’re helping remove complications, needless confusion, and frustration through a quality product the world actually needs.  This investment is a really important step in our journey to democratise information architecture and go faster and further.”

To date, Optimal Workshop has successfully grown organically over the past 14 years, while maintaining profitability.  

In addition to its investment, Pioneer Capital has acquired a majority shareholding from Optimal Workshop’s founding shareholders, including a presence on the board. 

Shayne Shepherd, Investment Director at Pioneer Capital, says the investment will support Optimal Workshop’s goal of improving the digital world around us, so more people have better experiences online.

“So much of the internet today has Optimal Workshop’s fingerprints on it, and demand in the user experience world is more pressing than it’s ever been. This investment gives Optimal Workshop additional resources to build and innovate, while still delivering exceptional services every day for its customers,” said Shepherd. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Andrew and the team for this next phase of growth.”

To support its product development and international growth aspirations, Optimal Workshop is looking to increase staff numbers by 50% in 2022.

‘For me, it’s always been about creating a work environment we all want to be in, ‘ says Mayfield. Where curiosity is celebrated, boldness and accountability encouraged and things like office dogs, obsessive recycling, and spontaneous lunch trains are just part of who we are. I’m thankful to the smart, savvy team at Optimal Workshop for helping me build a company worth believing in and can’t wait to see how far we can go, now we have Pioneer Capital on board.”

Kirsty Traill, who has been appointed Optimal Workshop chairperson, has wide-ranging leadership experience in some of the world’s top technology brands, and works with a number of Venture Capital and Private Equity firms advising their portfolio companies, as well as holding several Board positions.

“I am delighted to be joining the Board of Optimal Workshop as Chair, and have been impressed by Optimal Workshop’s great growth trajectory, strong leadership team, and exceptional customer focus.  With this investment from Pioneer Capital, I truly believe Optimal Workshop is poised to really transform the way the world navigates online, and am honoured to be a part of the journey’s next phase,” said Traill.

Find out more about the story behind Optimal Workshop’s investment in our blog