This post is also available in Portuguese.
Apdata was founded in 1984 by Manoel Jose da Rocha and Luiza Nizoli. Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Apdata provides a complete solution for Human Capital Management, intelligent outsourcing services, and HR process consulting services. Apdata works on the development of integrated, flexible, and automated solutions in technology and outsourcing for HR.
We met with owners, Manoel and Luiza, to discuss the acquisition process and life post-acquisition for Apdata.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Luiza and I started our company in 1984 without any loans or bank financing. From the beginning, I was responsible for the Systems Development aspect of the business, while Luiza, who had administrative and legal experience, developed the Commercial and Administrative teams. We now have a team of over 400 employees in our offices located in Campinas, Rio de Janeiro, and Orlando, FL.
2. How were you first introduced to Volaris and what was your first impression of us?
By the time we got to know Volaris, we had already met six other companies interested in buying Apdata. After the initial call, we felt that there were a lot of synergies between our companies, especially due to Volaris’ extensive knowledge in the technology industry.
A month later, we met with Mr. John Hines a senior Portfolio Manager from the Volaris team. Both Luiza and I were impressed with the attitude and professionalism of Mr. Hines and the entire team at Volaris Group. This gave us total confidence to proceed with Volaris and place it as one of our preferred companies to keep in the acquisition process.
3. What did you look for in a buyer?
We were looking for a buyer who would be interested in Apdata indefinitely. We were not interested in an acquirer who would change the identity of the organization. More specifically, we looked for a buyer that:
- Maintained and continued to invest in our renowned product, Global Antares (GA)
- Gave us an opportunity to continue growing with more speed and investments
- Gave our employees opportunities to grow within the organization. We also wanted to secure positions for our directors in the future since many of them have dedicated years supporting us.
4. What were your key reasons to sell?
We wanted to see our business have the opportunity to continue to grow long-term with expanded opportunities for our staff, including children involved in the business. Over time, we didn’t feel family ownership allowed for the business to grow to its full capacity due to the size and complexity of the business. We always believed in the company's potential - that it would be one of the largest companies in the world in People Management. In order to achieve this goal and grow at a fast pace, we would need an investor.
5. How satisfied are you and your leadership team with the integration?
As you can imagine, the acquisition process imposed some insecurities and fear for ourselves and our team. A very important factor for the success of any acquisition is respect and transparency from both sides, especially with the governing body and with the whole team. We have always had a relationship of trust with Volaris and they have continuously supported us 100%.
The business leaders were involved with the process from beginning to end, always pursuing our goal to grow and keep clients happy. They work with us in a united team spirit and believe that Apdata will continue to grow and have many future opportunities.
6. What does life look like now, one year into the acquisition?
The most positive aspect of the acquisition is that our independence has been fully maintained. We now have a more structured method of planning for the future and monitoring the results of the organization through several metrics that help to generate enormous visibility. In addition, Volaris allows us to expand business supported by an internationally recognized and experienced company in our segment. This generates a huge gain in productivity and assertiveness.
7. In what ways, if any, has your relationship with your customers and staff changed post-acquisition?
Our customers expressed great satisfaction and support when we announced that we became a multi-national company, belonging to a very strong Canadian group. Our employees, despite apprehensions about the sale of Apdata, remained positive and motivated throughout the acquisition process.
8. What talent development opportunities do you see for yourself and your staff inside the group?
Firstly, we are investing heavily in the English language, aiming at better communication outside and within our organization. We now have new management techniques for the entire board of directors and coordinators and advanced training to better support our customers. Additionally, we have been given the opportunity to contribute to Volaris M&A processes and share knowledge and best practices with other groups within the organization.
9. If you were speaking with another Professional Manager about selling to Volaris Group, what would you tell them?
We would certainly say that Volaris is an ideal company for you to grow and expand your business, due to their buy-and-hold forever philosophy. Since the acquisition, Volaris has fulfilled its agreed commitments to us. Volaris is undoubtedly the best option if you believe in your own business. If we had to choose a company to acquire Apdata again, we would make the same choice.