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HelpSystems, LLC
FoundedMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. (1982)
Headquarters11095 Viking Drive, Suite 100
Eden Prairie, MN
Key people
Kate Bolseth, CEO
Jim Cassens, President
ProductsTechnology management software and services
Number of employees

TA Associates

Charlesbank Capital Partners

Harvest Partners

Fortra[1] (formerly known as HelpSystems, LLC) is an American information technology and software company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, working in the areas of security and compliance, systems and network management, business intelligence, for IBM i, Unix, Linux and Windows environments.[2] The company is recognized as the biggest independent IBM i software vendor in the world.[3]

The company is owned by private equity firms HGGC, TA Associates, Charlesbank Capital Partners, and Harvest Partners.[4]



Fortra, originally known as Help/38 and later as HelpSystems, was founded in 1982 by Dick Jacobson.[5] An engineer with Advanced Circuits (AC) in Minnetonka, MN, Jacobson had written a program called Robot/38, used to provide IT automation for the IBM System/38. The program was originally designed to offset the computer costs for AC. In 1988, when IBM replaced the System/38 with the AS/400, the company became known as Help/Systems.[6] The company was spun off in the late 80’s after AC was sold to Honeywell.[7]

In 1991, in response to IBM's introduction of the AS/400 three years earlier, Fortra introduced Robot/CONSOLE, Robot/ALERT and Robot/NETWORK, a suite of tools for message management and escalation for the AS/400.[8]

In 1992, Fortra became the first software company in the United States to be certified under the ISO 9001 standard.[5]

In 2005, Fortra was bought by Boston-based investment firm Summit Partners.[9]

In October 2006, Fortra acquired Advanced Systems Concepts (ASC), the developer of SEQUEL reporting and business intelligence tools for the i5/OS and OS/400 platform.[9][10] Fortra created the SEQUEL Software division to support the product.[11]

In August 2007, the company announced the Robot/SECURITY suite of products, supporting IBM's i5/OS systems.[12] In September 2007, Fortra was acquired by the Boston-based private equity firm Audax Group.[9][13]

In January 2008, Fortra expanded their International presence in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, by purchasing one of their partners and product distributors, eveLogic Group of England.[9][14] In August 2008, Fortra bought OS/400 and IBM i security and compliance software vendor PowerTech, to complement Robot/SECURITY, and the products were eventually combined under the PowerTech name.[15] In October 2008, they followed up by purchasing Bytware, a provider of the StandGuard brand of security, management and anti-virus tools for IBM devices.[16][17]

In 2010, Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise evolved and led to the launch of Skybot Scheduler,[18][19] which was turned into a separate division.[20] In May 2011, Skybot Software expanded their customer base by acquiring Fleet, UK-based Open Systems Management, a creator of job scheduling and IT process automation tools for Windows, Unix, and Linux platforms.[21]


In June 2011, Fortra bought the DataThread DB2/400 monitoring product from Innovatum, and it became part of the PowerTech line.[22]

In April 2012, Summit Partners bought back a majority stake in Fortra.[9] In June 2012, Fortra purchased UK-based Safestone, a security and compliance software developer for the IBM i.[23] In October 2012, Fortra bought Gillingham, UK-based CCSS, the developer of QSystem Monitor, QMessage Monitor and QRemote Control systems monitoring and performance management tools for the IBM i server.[24]

In January 2013, Fortra announced the acquisition of New Hampshire-based Dartware and their network management product, InterMapper, one of the first network mapping tools ever created.[25][26] In April 2013, Fortra acquired IBM's ShowCase business intelligence products, and added the software to its SEQUEL Software division.[27]

In April 2014, the company acquired Los Angeles-based Network Automation, the developer of the AutoMate [28] line of workflow mapping and automation software. At the same time the company announced its Robot/NETWORK Web user interface, which allowed users to see IBM i server performance information from a mobile phone or any device with a Web browser.[29] In July 2014, Fortra acquired Minneapolis-based document management software company RJS Software, and the data warehousing product from Australia-based Coglin Mill. Coglin Mill's data warehouse product RODIN was added to the SEQUEL product line.[30] After this acquisition, the company was acknowledged by New York-based IT publisher IT Jungle as the biggest independent IBM i vendor in the world.[3]

In January 2015, Fortra bought Peterborough, England-based Halcyon, a developer of software for multi-platform systems management, and announced its intention to operate Halcyon as an independent company for the time being.[31] In June, Fortra bought IBM i security vendor SkyView Partners, a deal which included SkyView's team of security experts.[32] In 2017 this team expanded its service to help customers with AIX and Linux platforms too.[33] In August, it was announced that the company was being acquired by Florida-based private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, for an undisclosed amount.[34]

In February 2016, Fortra acquired Tango/04 Computing Group, a software company specialized on monitoring, with HQ in Barcelona (Spain) and offices in Buenos Aires (Argentina). In June, Fortra acquired Linoma Software.[35] Linoma Software is well known for its products that enable organizations to transfer files in an automated and secure way. It also has software that encrypts data at-rest. Its products include GoAnywhere managed file transfer, the RPG Toolbox free format converter, Crypto Complete and Surveyor/400.[36] In October, Fortra brought to market a high availability solution for IBM i users.[37] In December, Fortra acquired TeamQuest to help more customers with IT capacity planning.[38]

In May 2017, Fortra released a new software product called Access Authenticator – a multi-factor authentication solution for IBM i users.[39] In July, Fortra released its free network monitoring software Intermapper.[40] In August, Fortra announced a partnership with IBM. It involved accelerating enhancements and marketing for IBM i products including Backup, Recovery and Media Services (BRMS) on i, PowerHA SystemMirror for I, and Rational Developer for i. Fortra agreed to also enhance the development of Rational Developer for AIX and Linux (RDAL).[41] In December, Fortra acquired Fox Technologies.[42]

In April 2018, private equity firm HGGC became the lead investor in Fortra.[43] In August, Fortra acquired Midrange Performance Group (MPG).[44] In November, Fortra acquired MVP Software Systems and its JAMS enterprise workload automation solution.[45]

In February 2019, Fortra acquired SecureAuth's Core Security.[46] In October, TA Associates and Charlesbank Capital Partners signed a definitive agreement to become additional investors. The firms joined existing investors, HGGC.[47] In December, Fortra acquired UK-based information security company Clearswift to expand its cybersecurity portfolio.[48]

In June 2020, Fortra acquired data classification companies Canada-based Titus and UK-based Boldon James.[49] In December, the company acquired VERA, a cloud based data protection solution provider.[50]

In January 2021, Fortra acquired FileCatalyst, a provider of enterprise file transfer acceleration services.[51] In February, the company acquired vulnerability management and threat assessment provider Digital Defense.[52] In May, private equity firm Harvest Partners SCF LP acquired partial ownership in Fortra.[53] Also in May, the company acquired vulnerability assessment and management provider Beyond Security.[54] Shortly thereafter, Fortra acquired Agari, a provider of enterprise solutions that protect against advanced email threats.[55]

In October 2021, Fortra acquired PhishLabs, a cyber threat intelligence company.[56] Later that month, Fortra acquired Digital Guardian, a provider of data loss prevention software.[57]

In February 2022, Fortra acquired Tripwire, a leading global supplier of specialty networking solutions. [58] Shortly followed by the acquisitions of Alert Logic[59] and TerraNova[60] in March 2022, adding MDR services and security awareness training to its portfolio.

In November 2022, the company changed its name to Fortra.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mary, Prarthana (November 2, 2022). "HelpSystems is Now Fortra". Security Review. 
  2. "Company Overview of HelpSystems, LLC". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "IBM i Job Market: Not All Doom and Gloom". 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  4. "Harvest Partners' Minority Investment in HelpSystems". 2021-05-18. Retrieved 2021-05-18. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Help/Systems Celebrates Its 20th, Too". 2002-06-01. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  6. "Happy Anniversary to the AS/400". 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  7. "When $100m just isn't enough". 2014-04-21. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  8. "Help/Systems Celebrates Its 20th, Too". 2003-11-08. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "Summit Partners Sells Help/Systems to Audax Group". 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  10. "Bytware Bought by Help/Systems and Audax". 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  11. "Help/Systems Buys ShowCase BI Products from IBM". 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  12. "Help/Systems Launches Comprehensive Security i5/OS Suite". 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  13. "New Product Lines Inspire Growth for a Successful Niche-Market Leader". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  14. "Help/Systems Buys International Distributor". 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  15. "Help/Systems - PowerTech". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  16. "Summit Partners Acquires Control Of Help/Systems--Again". 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  17. "Bytware Bought by Help/Systems and Audax". 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  18. "Enterprise Schedulers: Robot vs. Skybot". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  19. "About Skybot". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  20. "IBM i: Where HelpSystems Got its Start". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  21. "Help/Systems Buys Safestone To Boost Power Systems Security". 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  22. "Help/Systems Buys Database Monitoring Tool from Innovatum". 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  23. "Help/Systems Acquires Safestone Technologies Ltd.". 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  24. "CCSS Improves Visibility and Control of Message and Performance Monitoring on the IBM i With Latest Release". 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  25. "Dartware acquired by Help/Systems: Congratulations!". 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  26. "Help/Systems Buys Dartware To Build Out Heterogeneous Monitoring". 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  27. "Help/Systems Buys CCSS For Systems Management Expertise". 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  28. "Automate Software". Retrieved 2021-07-09. 
  29. "HelpSystems Launches Mobile Initiatives, Acquires NAI for Workflow Automation". 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  30. "HelpSystems Grows With RJS And Coglin Mill Acquisitions". 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  31. "HelpSystems buys Halcyon Software". 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  32. "HelpSystems Adds SkyView Partners To Its Security Assets". 2015-06-08. Retrieved 2015-06-10. 
  33. "HelpSystems Provides Managed Security Services for AIX and Linux". HelpSystems. 2017-06-30. 
  34. "HelpSystems Acquired By Private Equity Giant H.I.G. Capital". ITJungle. 2015-08-31. 
  35. "HelpSystems Fills Encryption Gap With Linoma Buy". 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2017-01-24. 
  36. "Linoma Software Products". Linoma Software. 
  37. "HelpSystems Introduces New IBM i High Availability Solution". MC Press Online. 2016-10-04. 
  38. "Twin Cities company acquires TeamQuest in Clear Lake". Globe Gazette. 2016-12-15. 
  39. "HelpSystems Introduces New Multi-Factor Authentication Solution". Markets Insider. 2017-05-23. 
  40. "HelpSystems Releases Fully - Functional Free Version of Intermapper Network Monitoring Software". MC Press Online. 2017-07-21. 
  41. "IBM and HelpSystems Collaborate to Enhance IBM i Offerings". Markets Insider. 2017-08-01. 
  42. "HelpSystems Acquires Fox Technologies to Expand Cybersecurity Portfolio". Cloud Security Resource. 2017-12-13. 
  43. "Fast-growing HelpSystems has a new majority owner". Star Tribune. 2018-04-03. 
  44. "HelpSystems Acquires Midrange Performance Group to Expand Capacity Management Portfolio for IBM i". 2018-08-22. 
  45. "HelpSystems Gets Into JAMS for Scheduling" (in en-US). 2018-11-14. 
  46. "Software company HelpSystems acquires Atlanta-based operation with 115 employees". 
  47. "HelpSystems' Accelerating Growth Attracts Strategic Investment from TA Associates and Charlesbank Capital Partners". 2019-10-10. 
  48. "HelpSystems Bolsters Data Loss Prevention with Clearswift Buy". 2019-12-04. 
  49. "HelpSystems Acquires Leading Data Classification Providers to Bolster Security Business". GlobeNewswire. 2020-06-25. 
  50. "HelpSystems Acquires Data Protection Firm Vera". 2020-12-24. 
  51. "FileCatalyst acquired by HelpSystems". 2021-02-02. 
  52. "HelpSystems Expands Cybersecurity Portfolio Through Latest Acquisition". 2021-02-03. 
  53. "Harvest Partners Takes a Stake in HelpSystems". Mergers&Acquisitions. 2021-05-06. 
  54. "HelpSystems Acquires Beyond Security, Expands Cybersecurity Portfolio". Informa Tech. 2021-05-11. 
  55. "HelpSystems acquires Agari to focus on enhancing its data security suite". Help Net Security. 2021-05-17. 
  56. "HelpSystems Acquires Charleston-Based PhishLabs". Tech.MN. 2021-10-19. 
  57. "SC Media". SC Media. 2021-10-27. 
  58. "HelpSystems Acquires File Integrity Monitoring Company Tripwire" (in en). 
  59. "HelpSystems to Acquire Alert Logic to Gain MDR Service" (in en-US). 2022-03-14. 
  60. "HelpSystems Acquires Phishing Specialist Terranova Security" (in en). 

External links