In recent years, I have chaired eight PE backed businesses, most of which have differentiated their marketing proposition through technology and/or software. During my tenure, these businesses have generated over £500m of accumulative enterprise value and I take considerable satisfaction from having helped build them, supported the management teams and realised strong returns for our investors.
The common thread throughout my career, from its outset in the armed forces, has been an interest in adopting and leveraging technology-led innovations. Aligning strong markets with innovative products creates the most promising environment for growth. Of course, genuine innovation, solid R&D and great service are equally important components for success.
Eque2 matches these criteria perfectly and has many parallels with other businesses I have led to highly successful outcomes. I believe Eque2’s position is particularly strong, which made joining all the more appealing.
In short, Eque2 is an understated business with significant potential.
Firstly, and most importantly, the company operates in a sector that is of national economic importance, with the government openly saying it is relying on infrastructure and construction projects to stimulate the UK economy post-Covid.
Secondly, the product set is certainly market leading and our accelerating growth is testament to that. There are still things to do to harmonise, simplify and continue our exciting development programme and, very importantly, to accelerate our transition to a much more pure Software as a Service provider.
The senior management team is very strong with superb technical ability. What is certainly refreshing here, too, is that they are the first to acknowledge there is an opportunity to build on past successes and create a truly impressive software growth business.
Since joining, like all new chairs following an investment, my priority has been to ensure the day-to-day business continues uninterrupted and that we deliver our committed business plan. The team has done exceptionally well with this, seeing March 2021 as a record sales month.
I have also worked with the team to agree the ambitious but achievable journey we all want to go on, over and above the investment thesis. This has involved creating a strategic goal and vision for the company and mapping out the six key operational delivery workstreams which will lead us to success.
I am a pragmatist. While it’s imperative to have a strategic plan, it’s vitally important to consider the practical aspects of how to deliver it. The WestBridge team share this view.
In fact, having worked with private equity firms for many years, I can honestly say the WestBridge team has shown a wonderfully refreshing approach. Their investment in Eque2 is their largest to-date so they are visibly excited and motivated to make the relationship work. They have done a tremendous job at motivating the management team and keeping them engaged throughout the process.
Moreover, there is a good balance of experience and it’s refreshing to see younger members of the team given their heads. The partners nurture a spirit of empowerment which, in my experience, will reap its own rewards in hard work and good will.
Early in my career I was told that listening to your instinct is as important as using your head. My instincts tell me that Eque2 will be transformed over the next 12 months and emerge from the shadows to take the wider software market by surprise.
This will be achieved by us all working closely together, focussing on the vision and following the plan. I fully expect to have a certain amount of fun along the way, too.