Case Study: InCircuit and AssetWorks Thrive Together

September 9, 2020 Nikki Jefferson

 

Background

Founded in 1993, InCircuit Development Corporation established their niche offering highly customized software solutions to public sector entities for fixed asset and equipment management.

With two owners, one who was ready to sell and another who wanted to stay with the company, AssetWorks LLC and their model proved to be the perfect solution for InCircuit. In 2010, InCircuit joined the AssetWorks family. Their employees, customers, and solutions continue to thrive today.

“AssetWorks’ commitment to investing in the growth of the companies they acquire eased my concerns over the future of InCircuit.” - Dean Hebert Owner, InCircuit Development Corp; General Manager, AssetWorks LLC

The Decision to Sell

With strong customer relationships, a close-knit group of employees, and a partner who wanted to stay involved with the business, the decision to sell was not an easy one for the leadership team at InCircuit. Selling to a buyer who might dismantle the company to find value was simply not an option.

AssetWorks along with their parent company Volaris Group share an acquisition philosophy of buying good businesses, keeping them intact, and investing in their growth. For InCircuit, this was exactly what they were looking for in a buyer.

Post-Acquisition Success

When InCircuit joined forces with AssetWorks’ Fixed Asset Management team, it created the perfect storm of knowledge, talent, and resources for the two companies to thrive together.

“The industry leading solutions developed by InCircuit were a perfect complement to our existing offering in the fixed asset management space. Merging the two has allowed us to excel together.” - Mike Borello General Manager, AssetWorks LLC; Group Leader, Volaris Group

Since the acquisition of InCircuit, the team has experienced 136% total net revenue growth, 43% growth in staff count, and over 190% growth in EBITA. The two companies, now joined as one, continue to innovate, develop new products, and explore new markets.

Leveraging the talented development staff brought onboard with the InCircuit acquisition and the decades of experience AssetWorks has providing appraisal services to the public sector, the team was able to introduce AMP, a software solution for managing property data and insurable values. Through collaboration with customers, new features, functionality, and modules of AMP continue to be released.

While having access to a development team allowed the AssetWorks team to bring new products to market, the knowledge, experience, and resources of AssetWorks and their parent company has helped the original InCircuit product line expand into new markets. Most recently, InCircuit has found success introducing surplus management software to the higher education market.

10 Year Acquisition Update

Since 2010, a lot has changed for InCircuit. We met with Dean Hebert to check in and discuss his perspective on the acquisition ten years later.  

  1. Why were you looking to sell InCircut?

Motivations for selling are different for everyone, so I can only speak about mine. Of course, I wanted to get the most for the years of blood sweat and tears invested, but I also felt strongly that the people who helped us get there and the legacy we built should be taken care of.

My partner was ready to exit the business, but I loved the people, customers, and culture we created. After selling to Volaris, those remained and thrived – so much so that I’m still here ten years later. I have watched all of our employees develop and grow with opportunities that we couldn’t have provided before we sold.

  1. What promises did we make pre-acquisition? Did we live up to these promises?  

The primary promise was that nothing would change. The meaning behind that promise was that we would be provided with complete autonomy to manage and grow the business. That promise has been kept, but ironically, quite a lot has changed as a result. The people are largely the same, but the new resources and training allowed us the freedom to create opportunities to improve every facet of the business. The Volaris ‘sharing and learning’ culture provides consistent guidance on best practices that we apply at every stage of our growth.  

  1. How has InCircuit evolved from the point of acquisition until today?

Becoming part of the AssetWorks family has created new opportunities for our employees, customers, and solutions. Freeing the management team from the burden of HR, benefits, payroll, insurance, legal and all other back office activities was huge. The management tools and methodology has allowed InCircuit to become a much more professional and polished organization and helped us make significant improvements to our marketing, support, and contracts.

Additionally, being able to maintain a small company feel with access to large company resources has been great. Receiving guidance and instruction on how to improve the long-term health of every functional area of the business has had significant influence on our development. The business has grown since acquisition and is poised for future growth that would not otherwise have been possible.

  1. In what ways do you believe Volaris’ long-term investment in our businesses will affect InCircuit?

InCircuit will continue to grow in ways that were not possible before. As our market and industry changes, we use initiatives and other tools to identify smart ways to expand our product offerings so we can continue to grow beyond what we initially planned. Viewing businesses as a long-term investment significantly changes the way decisions can be made in the daily business. Growth is important, but for the long-term, healthy growth becomes a must. Balancing growth with profitability is a tenet of the Volaris way and makes stronger businesses in the long-term.

  1. What talent development opportunities do you see for yourself and your staff inside the group?

The companies within Volaris work closely together, and because of the many training and networking opportunities, all employees and leaders have relationships with people in many other business units. That makes us a group of businesses that provide opportunities for the right fit beyond our immediate company or industry.

Since the acquisition in 2010, my role has evolved to General Manager of the Asset Management business unit where I oversee two acquisitions from our industry. In that time, I have watched peers move from operations to management to leadership roles within and in new Volaris organizations. The acquisition practice and solid growth at Volaris creates an ever-expanding business environment that provides opportunities for new managers and leaders.

  1. Do you have any exciting initiatives or plans in the works for next year?

We have a major product expansion underway that will be in full-swing next year. I am very excited about launching that product and getting into a whole new market next year.

  1. If you were speaking with another professional manager about selling to Volaris Group, what would you tell them?

Why an acquirer purchases a business has a profound impact on what happens to the business – to the people, customer relationships, products – in the years after the sale. Volaris recognizes that you are a leader in your vertical and they want you to continue doing what got you here. The ‘buy and hold forever’ commitment at Volaris means the core business model is based on helping you build a stable, healthy business that is here for the long haul.

 

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