Last July Onecom received backing from mid-market private equity firm LDC, following a management buyout led by CEO Ben Dowd. This gave them access to funding which underpins their growth ambitions.
As the UK’s largest independent business telecoms provider, Onecom manages nearly 100,000 business customers, delivering fixed-line, mobile, unified communications, and connectivity solutions to some of the UK’s most dynamic companies including Sir Robert McAlpine and Celtic Manor.
Ben Dowd, CEO, Onecom explained: “Getting the right level of investment is crucial to our plans over the next three to five years. We plan to continue increasing our workforce substantially, investing in systems and processes and making acquisitions. We aim to ensure that Onecom can take full advantage of the opportunities presented through continued convergence in the communications sector and the expansion of digital infrastructure, including the rollout of 5G and superfast fibre.”
Despite moving at pace, private equity firms apply a long-term lens to major strategic issues and opportunities and will not proceed without exacting due diligence or thoughtful debate.
Here Onecom shares the three things that it has discovered from the PE investment process:
1 Choose your (PE) investor carefully
In the seven months since we agreed our partnership with LDC, we have seen just how important it is to team up with an investor that shares the same vision and ambition as Onecom and our management team. We enjoy their challenges and different perspective, and it feels like we are all pulling together to build a more successful business where everyone can prosper.
We worked closely with LDC over many months to ensure they share the same level of ambition that we do, and ultimately, we were keen to leverage LDC’s unrivalled heritage and experience across the technology, media and telecommunications sector.
Trust is key if you all share the same vision and passion; it helps to add fuel to the ambitious activities required to gain the desired growth.
2 Take advantage of your PE’s full portfolio
Your PE house may have investments in lots of other businesses. We have taken advantage of this through knowledge sharing with peers across multiple sectors and by using the network to generate more business.
There is enormous potential in the resources, capabilities and expertise of the management teams of companies within a portfolio. This can enable all portfolio companies to access best-in-class resources and expertise to enable faster transformation and growth.
3 Learn from your PE’s experience
We have worked on building a strong relationship with LDC and see them as a ‘trusted adviser’. The wealth of knowledge and experience they have is priceless and has challenged us to work smarter.
By their nature, PE’s are laser-focused on value creation. They make it their business to understand how each activity contributes to value creation and invest in the highest-potential ideas for creating core value. This focus has helped us to re-evaluate every aspect of our business to see how we can maximise potential.
This investment will help accelerate Onecom’s growth, organically and inorganically. The opportunities that exist for Onecom are also significant from a partnership perspective. Onecom has a proven track record of delivering growth, and this approach is now supercharged. The market is ripe for consolidation, and Onecom can play a significant role in this across mobile and fixed solutions where there is a considerable number of resellers.
Ben Dowd concluded: “Myself and the management team are very excited by the growth opportunity that lies ahead, and the role that LDC can play in enabling us to succeed. LDC’s proven track record in backing growth businesses is second to none and Onecom will extract all that knowledge and expertise as we set out on the journey ahead”.