With GCI Com one of the first three businesses backed by the Business Growth Fund, GrowthBusiness looks at why the company chose the funding route and how progress has been.
As part of a roundtable hosted by GrowthBusiness and the BGF, we caught up with the business.
The Lincoln-based company had previously made 19 strategic acquisitions since it was set up in 2000 by Wayne Martin and had a turnover of £65 million.
By backing the business, the BGF was allowing GCI Com to pursue organic growth as well as an active acquisition strategy. While it had previously had to rely on bank debt and company cash reserves to finance its growth, the BGF’s biggest ever investment was put in place to allow it expand out its product offering and build scale.
Wayne Martin, CEO of GCI Com, says that prior to becoming involved with BGF, he was reluctant to take on private equity backing because he viewed it as loosing control. He was ‘very focused’ on making sure that any equity-type partner coming in was only going to be in a minority and was going to get behind the board and its vision.
More from our exclusive Business Growth Fund roundtable:
- Taking on capital for acquisitions
- Marketing and new hires for companies after backing
- Capital expenditure for businesses post-investment
- Building out new products
- Video: Deciding when and how to take on backing
- Video: How acquisitions can accelerate growth
- The Business Growth Fund: Two years in numbers
- Stephen Welton: Entrepreneurs, don’t be afraid to ask for help
He found that the BGF had values which were aligned with those of GCI Com and were a ‘breath of fresh air’ compared to other stories he’d heard around venture capital and private equity.
‘The BGF has bought a little more discipline to the business and in a way has helped us grow up a bit,’ Martin explains.
‘GCI Com has been a young dynamic business, a little bit like a teenager really, and we’re now having to adopt new disciplines and more detailed processes now that the BGF is onboard.’
Company profiles from our exclusive roundtable:
This year, GCI Com’s main focus will be on the launch of its cloud services. Martin says that part of the company’s strength is that, as it owns most of its infrastructure, it doesn’t have to outsource the services it provides. He points to competitors who ‘struggle’ due to the fact that outsourcing becomes a requirement, and says that they are not in control of their own destiny.
It is focusing on its five key pillars of: cloud, communicate, connect, data centres and managed IT. With a broad set of skill sets and services, GCI Com is well charged to tackle its next year of growth.
This feature is part of a larger package looking at the Business Growth Fund’s active portfolio. See links above for more content.