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Alpine Investors Makes Bet on Harnessing Big Data

Private-equity firm acquires corporate-ethical-standards company Ethisphere and folds it into a newly launched platform that also houses vacation-rental data company AirDNA.

‍Tech-focused private-equity firm Alpine Investors has acquired Ethisphere LLC, a data-technology company specializing in corporate ethical standards, as part of a broader push into data software.

San Francisco-based Alpine has launched a data-software business platform called predictis to house Ethisphere and AirDNA LLC, a vacation-rental data company that the private-equity firm acquired this year. Alpine plans to add at least one more anchor business to predictis and will focus its search on sectors in which data plays a key role, including healthcare, geolocation and transportation, said predictis Chief Executive Jean-Marc Levy. Smaller acquisitions are also planned, he added.

In launching predictis, Alpine said it is betting that the digital transformation of various industries will drive demand for data and that the torrent of data being generated will produce opportunities to harness that information and help customers prioritize resources or manage risk, for example.

Alpine aims to build predictis as a holding company, much as it did with Alpine Software Group, which has acquired more than 45 companies across eight industries.

“There is real value to creating those shared resources and subject-matter expertise at the holdco level at Alpine Software Group and then using them across all the operating companies,” Mr. Levy said. He previously led Compliance Science Inc., a private-equity-backed provider of regulatory compliance software and services that does business as ComplySci.

Ethisphere has amassed years of data across industries to help organizations define and measure standards of ethical business practices so they can manage their social and governance risks, among other tasks. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company, for example, spent years assessing how companies tackle human-rights issues and how they combat human trafficking in their supply chains, said Tim Erblich, who recently stepped down as Ethisphere chief executive and is now a senior adviser to the company. Issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion also gained traction among businesses in the past few years, as has, more recently, employee mental health, he said.

“There [are] so many questions and so much, for lack of a better phrase, noise,” said Erica Salmon Byrne, Ethisphere’s new CEO and previously the company’s president. “The big question we are getting is: How do I prioritize the places where I can actually have an impact, where I can actually do something that’s going to make a difference?”

Data, for example, showed an overlap between addressing human-trafficking risks in supply chains and anticorruption initiatives, Ms. Salmon Byrne said.

Alpine, which is investing out of a $2.25 billion fund raised in 2021, declined to say how much it paid for Ethisphere. But Mr. Levy said Ethisphere’s annual revenue falls within the range at companies that Alpine typically backs, $10 million to $50 million.

As part of the deal, Udit Pillay, an executive who joined Alpine this year, becomes Ethisphere’s chief operating officer and head of transformation. Former Chief Operating Officer Andrew Neblett has become president, taking on the role previously held by Ms. Salmon Byrne.

Alpine, founded in 2001, bills itself as people-focused and prides itself on bringing in leaders with soft skills such as emotional intelligence and perseverance. The firm holds a B Corp certification from nonprofit organization B Lab, showing it has met certain criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

AirDNA is a subscription service that uses data from clients and public listings, such as those from Airbnb Inc. and Expedia Group Inc.’s Vrbo, to help property managers and investors figure out things like whether to buy a property and how much to charge.