The first greek “unicorn” has been found
Further strengthening of its position internationally among the leading companies in its sector is planned by the management team of the startup PeopleCert,which certifies professional and language skills, through a new exit in the markets, after the successful four-fold oversubscription of a 300 million bond issue last July, as well as through new acquisitions.
The plans of the greek multinational startup were presented by the founder and CEO, Byron Nicolaides, a self-made entrepreneur, in an information meeting with journalists.
PeopleCert, having completed the acquisition of the entire share capital of the British company AXELOS Limited, for 450 million euros, with a valuation of around 1.1 billion euros is now ready to claim large public and private sector projects in Greece and abroad. It has already been working with 800 state bodies and 50,000 companies around the world.
Byron Nicolaides referred to the importance of the successful completion of the acquisition of AXELOS, stressing that it is a joint venture company created in 2013 by the Cabinet Office on behalf of the UK government (HMG) and Capita plc (CPI). L), to develop and promote global methodologies for project management and digital services.
This is a landmark acquisition both for PeopleCert, which establishes its position as a global leader in the certification of project management and digital services, and for Greece, where another technological hub is being created, Vyron Nicolaides stressed.
It is further internationalized but the headquarters remain in Greece
He emphasized that in addition to increasing jobs, Greece will also benefit in terms of know-how at a key moment when its digital transformation is being attempted.
Mr. Nicolaides stressed that the company is internationalized, but maintains its headquarters and its basic productive core in Greece, giving employment opportunities to the country’s highly trained scientific personnel.
Referring to the financing, Mr Nicolaides said that PeopleCert had paid 380 million sterling to the seller and proceeded to issue a 250 million euros bond with the assistance of Morgan Stanley. The remaining amount was covered by the equity of PeopleCert as well as FTV Capital, based in the USA, which acquired a minority stake (20%) in PeopleCert. FTV Capital is a share capital investment company that collaborates with innovative companies in the field of technology aimed at accelerating their development since 1998.
Speaking about the company’s financial figures, after the acquisition, its founder and CEO estimated a very significant increase in sizes in PeopleCert’s EBITDA. He estimated that at the consolidated level in 2022 it will be in the range of 80 million euros while in the last five years the company has been growing at a rate of 40% per year, in terms of EBITDA and revenue.
We expect to have annual growth of 40% in the coming years in EBITDA, possibly also in revenues, which will come by 30% from organic growth and 10% from acquisitions and this is the direction we have been working towards”, underlined Mr. Nicolaides.
Mr. Nicolaides talked about the possibility of listing on the Stock Exchange stating that PeopleCert is ready to proceed if the decision is taken. But he clarified that nothing is planned promptly in this direction.
Large increase in the number of employees
Special reference was made to the employees of the company, whose number shows great growth.
At the beginning of 2020 PeopleCert employed about 300 people, at the beginning of 2021 more than 500 and today more than 700 with the aim of further increasing them.
80% to 85% of PeopleCert staff are employed in Greece, while the management’s decision is to transit the company entirely to teleworking. About 98% of PeopleCert’s staff are university graduates and about half of them have master’s degrees and PhDs.
In 2020, PeopleCert completed the acquisition of the International Association of Six Sigma Certification (IASSC), the global professional Association for the development and enhancement of Lean Six Sigma standards.
In the field of IT certifications worldwide it is among the two to three major players in the field, while in total it is in the top five internationally.