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Leading in Latin America: Q&A with Group Manager Ricardo Pinho

Successfully acquiring businesses all around the world requires more than a check book. The right buyer should have both a deep respect for the leaders who have built their companies from the ground up and their own understanding of the market they're hoping to operate in.

That's why Volaris Group relies so heavily on leaders like Ricardo Pinho when we're building relationships with business owners and onboarding newly acquired companies. In his 25 years immersed in Brazil's bustling software industry, Pinho has focused on everything from service delivery and customer success to ERP business systems and digital transformation projects. In 2023, he joined Volaris as a Group Manager with the goal of delivering the benefits of belonging to a global organization to companies that want to maintain their independence at the local level.

Pinho sat down with Acquired Knowledge to provide his unique take on the Latin American (LATAM) software landscape, reflect on his career path, and explain what he thinks Volaris has to offer businesses in his native country and beyond.

What motivated you to accept the role of Group Manager at Volaris Group, focusing on the Latin American market? 

The chance to teach and learn has been truly rewarding for me! In my role, I dedicate time to sharing experiences with exceptional leaders from acquired companies and to cultivating relationships and learning from new businesses in the region. Additionally, I'm inspired by being part of a global organization that experiences continuous growth, embracing diverse cultures worldwide, all united by a common language: software! The company's genuine commitment to lifelong learning has resonated with me at just the right moment.

Can you describe your vision for driving strategic growth in the Latin American market within Volaris Group?

We're guided by significant opportunities in LATAM’s burgeoning software industry. For instance, in 2023, the size of the Brazilian software market alone hit a staggering US$20.5 billion , according to the Brazilian Association of Software Companies) , emphasizing the immense potential. Even in Mexico, where the market is roughly half that size, the opportunities are substantial.

Within this context, we've identified key software and service user cases across various sectors, such as manufacturing operations, asset management, oil field exploration, and agriculture monitoring. These vertical markets offer promising opportunities for Volaris to expand its footprint in Latin America.

Our approach hinges on leveraging the collective expertise of our North American business bevelopment team alongside my local insights and experience. By combining these strengths, we're poised to deeply engage with the market, going beyond mere transactions. We understand that success in Latin America requires more than just business dealings; it's also about establishing personal connections, navigating local cultures, communicating fluently in native languages, and building enduring relationships based on trust and transparency.

How do you leverage your previous experiences in the software industry to enhance Volaris Group's presence in Latin America?

After 25 years in the software industry, holding various roles across Latin America, I bring a wealth of experience spanning diverse sectors such as utilities, consumer goods, manufacturing, services, retail, telecom, tax, and HR technology. I've managed complex business units with sizable teams and ambitious growth and profitability targets. This expertiseenables me to integrate Volaris Group's management best practices with the extensive experience of local entrepreneurs and executives.

Furthermore, my intimate understanding of the Latin American software market is helpful in offering strategic insights to guide our acquisition efforts.

What attracted you to Volaris Group's mission of acquiring and growing mission-critical software companies?

I'm passionate about the software industry. Embracing new technologies daily is my greatest thrill! Moreover, engaging with diverse entrepreneurs across various vertical markets and helping them realize their dreams is incredibly rewarding.

As part of our buy and hold forever strategy, we not only finalize deals, but also actively engage in fostering business growth. It's about more than just acquiring; it's about collaborating closely with founders or local business executives to facilitate expansion.

This is what I’ve found at Volaris Group, and that’s why I’m here.

In what ways do you foresee nurturing relationships and fostering collaboration within the Latin American market?

I’m working to bring our extensive collection of case studies derived from years of acquiring companies to the LATAM companies who could benefit from it. Working closely with our marketing team, we're translating these valuable insights into Portuguese and Spanish to ensure accessibility and relevance for the local audience.

But beyond translation efforts, we're also actively cultivating relationships with brokers and, of course, founders within the region. Recognizing the significance of personal connections, we're prioritizing more frequent in-person meetings conducted in local languages. This approach aligns with the customary business practices of the region, facilitating deeper engagement and collaboration.

How do you plan to ensure that partners and clients in Latin America receive the highest quality of service and support?

In line with Volaris Group's philosophy of autonomy and decentralization, we're extending the same approach to our operations in Latin America. To ensure our partners and clients in the region receive the attention they deserve, my role focuses on collaborating closely with the local executive team.

This collaboration involves equipping them with a comprehensive toolkit of resources and best practices tailored to enhance customer service. By providing localized support and leveraging our global expertise, we aim to strengthen relationships with our local business partners and deliver exceptional service to our clients throughout Latin America.

What excites you the most about working with Volaris Group's diverse portfolio of companies across different industries?

The continuous learning and growth opportunities Volaris offers. As I mentioned earlier, the experience of teaching and learning every day is incredibly fulfilling.

Moreover, Volaris Group has a remarkable track record of nurturing talent. With over 80% of the company's leaders either joining from acquired businesses or being internally promoted, there's a tangible sense of opportunity and advancement. This aspect is particularly motivating, keeping us energized about our future career paths within the company.

What role do you envision technology playing in driving innovation and growth within Volaris Group's Latin American operations?

In today's world, technology is essential for helping our customers grow their businesses, increase profitability, or achieve both objectives simultaneously. At Volaris Group, we're constantly immersed in cutting-edge technologies to drive innovation across our business units. In Q1 of this year, we hosted a summit to delve into Artificial Intelligence, a top trend topic on every business executive's agenda. We believe in a collaborative approach where we share knowledge, learn from each other's successes and failures, and cultivate an environment that fosters innovation within our companies. This practice is sure to promote innovation within our Latin American operations as well.

How does Volaris Group approach cultural integration when acquiring companies in the Latin American market, and what steps are taken to preserve the identity and values of acquired businesses?

When acquiring companies in the Latin American market, like anywhere else, Volaris Group follows a comprehensive approach to integration. One of our key initiatives is the Volaris 101 program , which convenes all recently acquired companies' business executive leaders six times a year in various locations globally. During this three-day program, participants immerse themselves in methodologies and best practices tailored to Volaris Group's operations.

Regarding preserving the identity and values of acquired businesses, our philosophy revolves around holding and growing them indefinitely while allowing them to operate autonomously and decentralized. This ensures that the unique identity and values of each acquired company remain intact, fostering a sense of continuity and respect for their heritage within the Volaris Group ecosystem.

Could you share a testimonial or success story from software companies in Latin America acquired by the Volaris Group, highlighting the benefits and outcomes they have experienced?

Absolutely. We're thrilled to share the success story of Apdata, a prominent software company in Latin America acquired by Volaris Group about five years ago. Their case study showcases the tangible benefits and outcomes they've experienced since acquisition. For more detailed insights, I recommend reading Apdata's recently published case study

Lastly, on a personal note, what aspect of your new role are you most looking forward to, and why?

It’s the same reason why I’ve joined Volaris. The chance to teach and learn has always been truly rewarding for me.