Wellington IT

March 4, 2016

 

  • Headquarters: Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Acquisition Date: November 2014
  • Vertical Market: Banking & Credit Union 
  • www.well-it.com

Background

Wellington IT’s co-founders, Alex Dunne and Kevin Taylor, were employed as software developers at Guinness PLC. In the early 1980s, the company decided to shut down non-core operations, including the software development division. Dunne and Taylor agreed with their former employer to acquire the rights to continue developing the software the two had been working on, and launched Wellington IT.

As their first product, Wellington IT launched a comprehensive ERP solution for the beverage distribution industry to aid with the management of financials, order processing and stock control. Over the years, Wellington IT has successfully expanded into the Credit Union industry and now serves about 75 credit union customers throughout Ireland. Its products help manage many of the processes associated with delivering member services such as online banking, smartphone apps, and full access to national clearing.

Challenges

Dunne and Taylor continued growing Wellington IT steadily over the decades. However, after 30 years at the helm, they realized that it was time to start thinking about succession planning. Initially, Dunne and Taylor considered a management buy-out as their exit strategy, but the complexities of such a transaction proved to be a significant obstacle.

Without a clear succession plan in place, Wellington IT was receptive when approached by the Volaris Group.

Now that Wellington has found a permanent home with Volaris, I think there’s definite possibilities for the business that we didn’t have before. The expertise that Volaris and the wider Constellation group can bring to some of the vertical market software specialties and how that type of business should be run have been great for us. A number of the things they have seen before and experiences they have with what’s going well, what hasn’t gone well, has given us great direction.

— Kevin Bradley, Managing Director, Wellington IT

The Decision to Sell

After meeting with representatives from Volaris, Wellington IT’s leadership was immediately impressed by their professionalism and felt that Volaris was a natural home for their business. As a buy-and-hold acquirer of vertical market software businesses, Volaris’s acquisition philosophy aligned well with Dunne and Taylor’s goals. Namely, Volaris was able to offer stability for Wellington IT’s employees and customers, while keeping the company as a whole intact.

Because Volaris holds its companies indefinitely, positioning them for long-term success is a priority. For that reason, once Wellington IT joined Volaris, a succession plan was put into place that would allow Dunne and Taylor to retire. Wellington IT would continue running its business as usual with Kevin Bradley as Managing Director. Under Volaris’ guidance, the transition process was smooth, and Bradley has been able to successfully assume leadership of the company.

Wellington IT’s employees and customers both responded positively to news of the company’s sale to Volaris. Customers were particularly pleased that Wellington IT became part of a larger organization, allowing it to scale in a fast-changing marketplace. The company’s employees meanwhile appreciated Volaris’ focus on continuous learning and development, which includes coaching and mentoring as well as frequent opportunities for knowledge sharing across Volaris’ businesses. Ultimately, both employees and customers felt that the company was put in good hands.

Wellington has been in business for over 30 years – the last 3 years, each one of those has been our best financial results ever, beating it each time. In the last 3 years, we’ve doubled the size of the company in terms of net revenue. The advice and mentorship we’ve got from the Volaris team and its peer network has been instrumental in that success.

— Kevin Bradley, Managing Director, Wellington IT

Post-Acquisition Success

Since joining Volaris, Wellington IT has seen significant growth in its business. In fact, the financial results for each of its first three years at Volaris were the best in its three-decade history, doubling its net revenue. While Wellington IT’s employees and customers have benefitted from the stability provided by Volaris, the company has prospered as a result of the best practices shared by its fellow Volaris businesses.

Under Bradley’s leadership, Wellington IT is looking forward to continuing financial success in the future by maintaining the freedom to run its business independently while at the same benefitting from the expertise and resources of Volaris and its businesses.

 

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