Welcome to a special edition of Digital Insight. Mike Bank an Angel investor covers one of the most rewarding aspects of the entrepreneur’s life that few get to experience: The Exit. Mike meets Omkar Joshi who last week sold his business to the market leader in his sector of Financial Reporting .Q1) How did you prepare Company Reporting for exit?Q2) So it almost happened organically?Q3) How much are you able to disclose about the terms of the deal?Q4) How are you finding the change going from a relatively small company you ran yourself to being part of a large group?video link to Q4) And that I guess is going to be key for you and the team going forward having the Company Reporting team here. You’ve been with Wolters Kluwer for two weeks now, is that right? How are you finding the change going from I guess a relatively small company you ran yourself to being part of a large group?Q5) So being part of a large group has been helpful in terms of accelerating change for Company Reporting?Q6) So what's next for you personally?Q7) What if anything would you do differently if you could go right back to the start when you were still working full time at Reuters?Full Transcript: Omkar Joshi, Part 3) The Exit Process and What's Next
Mike: So Omkar we’re here to talk about how you prepared Company Reporting for exit. So why don’t you tell us a bit more about that and maybe give us a bit more background. Was there an exit strategy from the very beginning or was it something that developed over time?
Omkar: Very good question. I should say that we didn’t prepare for exit at all. If fact we didn’t really start looking for an exit at this stage. I personally felt that the business was in it’s early stages.
We saw a huge opportunity, a growth opportunity in emerging markets. So emerging IFRS markets and even in existing markets, we didn’t feel we had fully penetrated.
So there wasn’t really preparing the business for exit although I must admit that when I set it up, my previous business that I merged with Company Reporting, it was firmly with the viewpoint that I knew that there was a gap in the market and all the large players we’re looking at this particular space.
So I would say that yes I did have it in the back of my mind when I started out. But whether we prepared ourselves for exit, like I said it wasn’t planned like that.
We’ve been speaking to Wolters Kluwer for some time about some sort of partnership. Obviously I was very well aware of their global footprint and the fact they are the largest publishers in our space: tax and accounting.
And we’ve been speaking to Wolters Kluwer on and off for about a year on several partnership strategies. How we can bundle some our content into Wolters Kluwer products. Or just create something together and go to market with that.
Somewhere along the way those discussions changed, from a partnership presumably because both Wolters Kluwer and Company Reporting felt that there was just too much synergies involved to not actually combine both these businesses.
Mike: So it almost happened organically. It wasn’t Wolters Kluwer searching for a particular acquisition in this space or were you guys running an active sale process. A marriage as it were.
Omkar: I think so. And I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a sale process. We still had a couple of other companies who were interested in Company Reporting at this point. It’s only fair to say as the entrepreneur and the part shareholder of Company Reporting, I had to make a couple of other companies in this space aware. At the back of my mind I always knew this was really the space where we belong and we could really flourish and really achieve the potential of the business.
Mike: Just in terms of details how much are you able to disclose about the terms of the deal. Can you tell us how much the company was bought for?
Omkar: No I’m bound by confidentiality in the actual sale document so I can’t really disclose much about either the size of Company Reporting or anything to do with the terms of the deal.
But what I can say is that Wolters Kluwer do completely recognise the real potential that exists in this business and are committed to achieving those objectives in the medium and long term.
Mike: And that I guess is going to be key for you and the team going forward having the Company Reporting team here. You’ve been with Wolters Kluwer for two weeks now, is that right? How are you finding the change going from I guess a relatively small company you ran yourself to being part of a large group?
Omkar: I should add that Wolters Kluwer looked at as a growth opportunity, not simply to take the content, bundle it, and be part of the team. So we are all brought into the organisation and we are really looking to develop this further.
So far the experience has been absolutely brilliant. We’ve spent like you said two weeks in this company and already I can see the number of opportunities we’ve got are unbelievable.
And we are already building synergies as we speak, digital apps, international expansion. platform enhancements and several of these are already in being at Wolters Kluwer in progress so we are just looking to build on to these.
Mike: So in your view actually being part of a large group having the resources available to you that’s been really helpful in terms of accelerating change for Company Reporting?
Omkar: I would say there wouldn’t have been a better way of doing this. I absolutely we built the product, we’re able to get traction. We’re able to start growing the business and there was a time we felt a larger partner with a better reach, a better marketing force and better product development capability was really needed to scale up this opportunity.
And I would definitely say we are in the right place to do that now.
Mike: So what’s next for you personally? Are you going to be working at Wolters Kluwer or do you still have an entrepreneurial bug within you?
Omkar: Yes, I do the entrepreneurial bug but I’m told this company is made of several entrepreneurs. This company is a highly acquisitive organisation. Several other businesses are bought and merged in.
I’ve been given a mandate to integrate Company Reporting with Wolters Kluwers for at least the next 6 to 12 months and pretty much operate independently. And really try and push the company forward. I definitely see myself as having a slightly bigger role in the organisation hopefully in the long term. But in the immediate term it’s definitely Company Reporting . Let’s make it bigger. Let’s look at all those opportunities that we’ve identified.
Mike: Sounds like you’re very happy with the way things have turned out. Congratulations again.
I guess the final question I have which might help some of the guys who are watching as well. What if anything would you do differently if you could go right back to the start when you were still working full time at Reuters?
Omkar: Tough question. If I could do something differently it would just be to have started this earlier. I left it too late. I could have set it up more than 10 years back. I jut didn’t have the guts I suppose to do it. I’m thankful that I did eventually do it. Hopefully I’ve seen the company in the right place now and we can really push on from here.
Mike: So the key learning point from you is Do It Now.
Omkar: Yes, We’ve got another section about Do’s and Don’ts?
Mike: We do indeed. Thank you very much and we’ll be back with the next section in due course.
~~ ~~ ~~
Copyright © Digital Insight 2013