“Our sole focus was finding the right partner, to support the growth of CSI. Now, 4 years on, we remain convinced that MML is the right partner, and the support of Luke and Rob has been exceptional”

Alan Watkins, Executive Chairman, CSI


Shareholder re-organisation and growth capital to support future organic and acquisitive growth.

The business

Hybrid cloud services focused on modernising critical, complex and regulated workloads with specialist data protection and security capabilities. 

The deal

CSI was founded by industry veterans Alan Watkins and Kevin Lewis who scaled the business through their investment vehicle Blackhawk Capital. At the time MML were introduced, Alan and Kevin did not want to sell but were looking to step back from executive roles. MML helped facilitate their transition to NEDs, alongside a partial de-risking, and supported further M&A to evolve the proposition. Since MML's investment, a new executive team has been brought in (CEO, COO, CFO and CRO) and CSI has made three highly strategic acquisitions, enhancing its capabilities across data protection and specialised industries including financial services, healthcare and e-commerce, as well as facilitating its US expansion.

Partnership Capital
Deal Status

Catch-up with Founder Chairman, Alan Watkins, and CEO, Simon Fisk.

What are your key observations in how the market and CSI’s proposition has evolved?

Alan - In the early years it was all about shifting the focus to a full managed services proposition as clients looked to outsource the running of more of their key IT environments. By the time MML invested, the focus was very much cloud and creating a multi-platform offering that could safely migrate and run the complex and critical from the private or public cloud. This remains our core but alongside that we have done a great job of enhancing our modernisation capabilities as the demands from clients to digitally innovate and operate flexibly, on-demand continues to surge.

What attracted you to CSI?

Simon - The cloud and managed service market is huge, but it is a relatively crowded space, so differentiation is key. I was attracted to CSI given its specialism and credentials in cloud and data services focussed on highly complex environments. For example, this is a business with a track record in migrating and running regulated banking applications in the public cloud, partnering with global leading FS and healthcare ISVs to move enterprise clients off core legacy applications to SAAS solutions and even designing and running the infrastructure solution for developing one of the Covid vaccines.

What are you most excited about looking forward?

Simon - In short, capitalising on the opportunity in front of us. It’s very significant given the level of migration and modernisation still to take place in our core areas of application and infrastructure expertise along with our ISV relationships and strategic partnership with IBM, where we are very much aligned with Red Hat’s modernisation agenda. This is compounded when you take account of the size and fragmentation of our core market across the UK and US.

Related news

MML backed CSI Group bolsters its North American offering
CSI Group (www.csiltd.co.uk) has acquired APSU Inc (www.apsuinc.com), based in, Tennessee.
MML backed CSI Group acquires Data Protection Specialist Tectrade
CSI Group (www.csiltd.co.uk) has acquired Tectrade (www.tectrade.com), a leading provider of data protection solutions.
MML backed CSI Group acquires Cloud Solutions Provider Niu Solutions
CSI Group (www.csiltd.co.uk) has acquired 100% of the shareholding of Niu Solutions (www.niu-solutions.com), a leading provider of agile, flexible and secure cloud solutions to regulated industries.
MML partners with IT managed service provider CSI
MML Capital Partners (“MML”) has invested £36m into CSI, a leading IT Managed Service provider to the attractive and fast growing UK mid-market.

Associated deal team

Luke Jones

Managing Partner (Enterprise)

Robert Devonshire


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