Skip to main content

Why One Experienced Seller Chose Volaris

Mike Dickerson got his first taste of entrepreneurship early in his career.

Fresh after graduating from Stanford, he co-founded a licensed sportswear company with a friend from high school. Dickerson became the CEO, and he got involved in managing everything from product development to sales and marketing. 

One year into starting the business, the two co-founders were already flying high — and they were getting noticed, including by the national press. In their first year as business owners, the duo gave an interview to The Washington Post while the business was still being run out of Dickerson's apartment. People magazine, typically known for covering celebrities and royal families, even featured Dickerson and his friend as young entrepreneurs to watch. 

They had hit a home run with their first business. Eventually, Dickerson's co-founder decided to depart to pursue other interests. Dickerson continued as the CEO for a while longer, but after operating the company for 13 exhilarating years, he decided it was time to move on too. He sold the business and closed the first chapter of his career.

Little did he know at the time that it would be just the first of several business sales he would be involved in over the course of his extensive career. After his first entrepreneurial venture, he moved away from sports apparel and into the technology sector. Then he went on to found or lead several software companies – until in 2017 he landed at ClickDimensions, a provider of sales and marketing software to small and medium-sized businesses.

Preparing the Company for a Sale

Mike Dickerson became the CEO of ClickDimensions after the founders sold the company to a private equity firm, Accel-KKR. Accel-KKR’s leaders brought him in with the goal of professionalizing the company, globalizing it, and ultimately selling it. 

When he initially took the helm at the company, ClickDimensions faced challenges with growing its customer base. The team saw an opportunity to attract new customers by improving the product offerings. Under Dickerson’s leadership, the company launched several new products before the company’s sale to Volaris.

“It was the right time for a new investor to be able to buy the company at a price based on its past performance, but also be able to see how the company could grow with these new product launches,” he said.

When it was time to sell the company, Dickerson estimates the company’s bankers spoke to more than 100 investors. The company was in the middle of a process when he was first introduced to Volaris.

The Volaris story really stood out in that it offered security and professional development for our employees. The promise of having the right investor to help the team realize the vision of our 'next chapter' strategy, and the opportunity to build a healthy company that would never been sold again — that was all more attractive to me than selling to an investor who would be solely focused on a program of growing the company toward the next sale.

-Mike Dickerson, CEO, ClickDimensions

Despite all the interest the company had generated from potential acquirers, it was obvious to ClickDimensions and Accel-KKR that selling to Volaris would be the best choice. Once talks began with Volaris during the summer of 2022, they progressed in a positive direction and the deal closed relatively quickly just several months later.

How He Decided on the Right Fit

Since Dickerson had spent several years growing ClickDimensions as its CEO, he looked at the sale of the business with a similar perspective as a founder might – keeping the employees and customers top of mind.

He used his previous experience selling companies to look for the most appropriate fit for ClickDimensions – an acquirer that would see the company through into the future, rather than aim to sell it again as quickly as possible.

“I was looking for the people fit, the emotional fit, and the opportunity to keep growing a company that my team and I had poured their hearts and souls into building,” he recalls of his decision-making process. 

I wanted the company to be able to keep building successfully, instead of just completing the next set of value-creating activities so that its owner could trade the asset again.

-Mike Dickerson, CEO, ClickDimensions

Dickerson appreciated that the Volaris M&A process considered both data and people. It was this balanced approach that helped the company stand out as an alternative to private equity firms.

The Unique Appeal of Volaris

“What Volaris does is not the norm,” he said. “The focus on small businesses, decentralized oversight, customer intimacy rather than economies of scale… Volaris is product-focused first, and very data-centric, taking the data points from hundreds of acquisitions made within Constellation Software, and using those as diagnostic tools for companies, and to very intentionally manage business leaders for development and succession.”

Selling the company to Volaris presented ClickDimensions with a chance to grow at a pace that was appropriate for its stage of maturity. Compared to private equity firms, Volaris was looking to invest in the company forever, instead of looking at a three-year or five-year window for the next value milestone.

Sometimes you need to just let the souffle cook at a lower temperature for a little longer.

-Mike Dickerson, CEO, ClickDimensions

“We wanted to go with a company that was going to support our next chapter,” Dickerson said. “With Volaris, we were allowed to make the right business decision for the long-term and not be constrained by thinking we need to be ready to sell again in a few years.”

The Integration Experience

Dickerson’s experience in the C-suite includes taking a New York Stock Exchange-listed company private. By the time he sold ClickDimensions to Volaris in 2023, it was the fifth company he had sold during his career. Compared to his past experiences selling businesses, Mike said the integration into Volaris has been lighter on work, confusion, and stress.

“People who didn’t really know the business didn’t always have helpful opinions,” he recalls of some past experiences. Those situations made it difficult to take care of customers and employees or innovate their products. 

But he says that hasn’t been the case after Volaris acquired ClickDimensions. In contrast, Volaris has done as much as possible to emphasize a “business as usual” approach after the acquisition.

If you were to ask our developers what's different about their day today versus three months ago, they would say there is no difference in their actual day-to-day job, and that's been true for pretty much everybody.

-Mike Dickerson, CEO, ClickDimensions

You might also be interested in: