Kinetic Solutions Acquisition Story

Kinetic_300px_wide_logo
Headquarters: Milton Keynes, UK
Acquisition Date: December 2014
Vertical Market: Education

www.kineticsoftware.com

Background

Based in Milton Keynes, UK, Kinetic Solutions Ltd. serves as a leading provider of comprehensive solutions for higher education institutions, conference centers and hospitality management.

Founded in 1998, Kinetic Solutions was started by Chris Wildsmith and Steve Ashley with nothing more than their partnership and vision. After a few short years at the helm, Wildsmith and Ashley saw tremendous success and sought to expand into the student accommodation and conference markets which provided further consistent growth that has now grown to over 300 customers worldwide.

Challenges

Kinetic's two shareholders were not actively looking to sell but always remained open to opportunities in the wider market. Volaris Group recognized Kinetic as a strategic fit for their portfolio of Vertical Market Software Businesses and approached the two shareholders in June 2014 to discuss a potential acquisition.

The Volaris approach provided an opportunity for the owners to resolve differing opinions on the future business development. Ashley was more wary of risk and possible investment - as a technical developer, he felt uncomfortable with the scale and pressure of owning the business from both a strategic and operational perspective. Wildsmith was more growth focused and motivated to continue developing the business and pushing for the new opportunities. Thus, an inflection point occurred with no evident solution to the problem at hand.

The Decision to Sell

Both Wildsmith and Ashley were intrigued by Volaris’ unique buy-and-hold acquisition philosophy, as it would provide Wildsmith the opportunity to grow and operate Kinetic autonomously. Furthermore, with greater access to capital, Wildsmith would be able to achieve his objective of scaling Kinetic through both strategic and organic growth initiatives. Ashley would obtain the benefits of the sale, removing the risk and personal investment required, allowing him to pursue his true passion in the business: programming. The shareholders were excited to accept the solution offered by Volaris Group as it would fulfill both of their personal and professional goals.

"Making the decision to sell your business is a tough process, a rare combination of emotions, logic, short vs. long-term thinking and ego...what impressed me the most about the Volaris process was that the promises pre-acquisition and realities post acquisition have 99% played out and I'm looking forward to further opportunities under the Volaris umbrella."

- Chris Wildsmith, former Managing Director, Kinetic Solutions

Post-Acquisition Success

The acquisition of Kinetic by Volaris had no bearing on the company’s operations. Ashley removed his risk as a shareholder and followed his passion within Kinetic as a developer before retiring in 2019. Wildsmith continued to operate Kinetic as their Managing Director, retaining his leadership while gaining greater access to capital.

The following year, Volaris offered Wildsmith the opportunity to manage a company in the Marine vertical. Wildsmith accepted the role but ensured Kinetic would be in good hands, identifying Rob Turner in the succession plan. The company's vision was something Turner had developed a deep understanding of over the course of, at the time, 7 years with Kinetic. With Turner at the helm, Kinetic has grown organically and through acquisition. In 2018, Kinetic acquired a former competitor; Occam Systems.

In late 2020, Turner transitioned his attention to acquisitive growth for Kinetic, forming a new Group within Volaris and accepting a new role as Group CEO of Kinetic, and a Volaris Group Leader. Kinetic’s CCO, Luke Warren, was offered the role of CEO; leveraging his many years of sales and account management experience, Warren drives the Kinetic team in their newest chapter of growth. Furthermore, Kinetic now has access to corporate wide sharing of best practices, industry frameworks and wider training materials, providing their young, ambitious workforce the opportunity for professional growth and development.

"Since our acquisition in 2015, we’ve grown immensely. The extensive network of software business experts and the culture of sharing operational best practices have enabled us to focus on what matters – employees, customers, and a long-term future for the business."

- Robert Turner, Group CEO, Kinetic Solutions