TASS

August 28, 2019
  • Headquarters: Brisbane, Australia
  • Acquisition Date: July 2016
  • Vertical Market: Education
  • www.tassweb.com.au

Background

TASS was founded in 1988 by Ken Reid. The company’s core product, TASS.web, is a web-based school administration system with integrated portals that connects all key stakeholders – parents, teachers, and students – across the school community.

In its infancy, TASS started out as an accounting business selling customized solutions to various industries. Although the business was strong, writing customized code for their customers was problematic as the returns on development costs were diminutive. In the late 90’s, Ken decided it was in the best interest of the business to develop a single product called TASS (The Alpha School System). Unlike the accounting software, TASS would be sold into a vertical market, serving K-12 schools.

Today, TASS’ products manage critical functions as student administration, financial administration, and payroll as well as provides information and learning management tools for teachers and students.

The fact that there was another Brisbane based business only 20 kilometers away from our head office that was owned by Volaris, was huge for us. Being able to discuss the process with another business leader who had already been through a sale and had great success made me comfortable to pursue the transaction.

— Ken Reid, Founder, TASS

The Decision to Sell

By 2015, Ken and his leadership team had built a strong customer base with several hundred school clients, and the business had grown significantly. Over the years Ken had welcomed 3 other shareholders into the business, all with unique goals and visions for the future. Although there was no pressing reason to sell TASS, with 2 shareholders wanting to continue on with the business and the other 2 looking to exit, they started exploring the possibility of an acquisition.

In 2015, TASS was approached by several potential acquirers, however, most of these acquirers were not software specialists and lacked the domain expertise to take the business to the next level.

The following year, Volaris Group identified TASS as a high-value acquisition target and connected with Ken. As a specialized acquirer of vertical market software businesses, Volaris demonstrated intimate understanding of TASS’ core operations and licensing model which was invaluable to the shareholders. Intrigued by the opportunity, Ken made contact with a Volaris business unit leader in Brisbane to learn more. After hearing a fellow executive’s positive experiences firsthand, Ken and his fellow shareholders felt that they had finally found the right home for their business.

I consider that the overall experience of dealing with Volaris through the acquisition was positive. They were tough negotiators, as was to be expected. However, after the acquisition was confirmed, they did everything that they committed to do within the agreed time-frame.

— Ken Reid, Founder, TASS

Post-Acquisition Success

In July 2016, TASS was acquired by Volaris Group. The transaction allowed all 4 shareholders to achieve their personal and professional goals. Aside from adapting their financial reporting to adhere to public company compliance, business continues as usual for TASS’ customers and employees.

As a firm believer in talent management, Volaris has invested a lot of time and resources in the development of the leadership team. We look forward to working with TASS’ leaders to complete complementary acquisitions in the APAC region in the near future.

 

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