Thoma Bravo is a successor to the firm of Golder Thoma & Co. established in 1980 by Stanley Golder and Carl Thoma. The firm originated the “consolidation” or “buy and build” investment strategy which sought to combine the best of venture investing with the best of leveraged buyouts by investing in a “platform” business in a fragmented industry and then working with management to transform it into a larger and more profitable business through internal growth and a series of strategic, industry consolidating acquisitions. Business Week magazine credited Golder Thoma  with pioneering this strategy and Fortune magazine recognized the firm for combining the key elements of venture capital, leverage and “business building.”

In 1998, the original firm, then known as Golder Thoma Cressey Rauner, split into two firms: GTCR Golder Rauner, to raise larger funds and pursue larger investments; and Thoma Cressey Equity Partners (TCEP), to continue the firm’s traditional concentration on the “middle market.” TCEP subsequently became Thoma Cressey Bravo in recognition of the substantial contribution to its success being made by Orlando Bravo, and then, in 2008, Thoma Bravo, when Bryan Cressey established a separate healthcare services fund.

Over the last 30+ years, Thoma Bravo and its predecessor firms have applied and refined the original consolidation investment strategy across many industries, in all economic cycles and through a series of ten private equity funds representing billions of dollars in committed capital. 

Thoma Bravo has become particularly known for its investment experience in both the software and services business sectors, including application and infrastructure software and business and financial services of various kinds. These remain the areas of current focus for the firm, although new business sectors are evaluated for investment continuously, as are potential investments from sectors in which the firm previously has been active.