Dream Big Invest in the Best
Ajit Isaac, the chairman behind the block buster listing of Quess Corp, with his 26.4% post-IPO stake in the firm translates to a value of nearly Rs 1,700 crore.
In 2000, he started PeopleOne Consulting – A human capital solutions company with a focus on recruitment and training services to client organisations, with funding from JP Morgan Chase and successfully grew the company to $70 Million in revenue. In 2004 Swiss staffing company Adecco acquired PeopleOne Consulting and Ajith joined the board at Zurich. It was a dream come true with Adecco acquiring PeopleOne, this is where he learnt the nuances of having the right structure and processes.
Scaling up IKYA
Post his exit in 2007 he joined staffing again though a strategic investment in IKYA. He later took on the role as the MD and CEO in 2009 transforming the staffing provider into a business services company by acquiring Coachieve. He incurred heavy losses as the business grew but in 2010 but he saw profits when he acquired Magna Infotech – An IT Staffing company owned by Mr Pradeep Mittal. When Magna was acquired by IKYA it was as large as Magna with Rs. 180 cr size and Rs. 8- 10 cr in profit and 600 employees. This led IKYA double in scale and being selected by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, to train 8,000 individuals in 2011. By 2013 the company grew from Rs. 3 Cr revenue & 1,100 employees in 2007 to Rs. 1,000+ Cr revenue & 61,000+ employees.
Transforming IKYA into Quess Corp
In 2013 IKYA secured strategic investment from Fairfax Financial Holdings – Canada’s largest insurance company built by Hyderabad-born Canadian tycoon Mr. Prem Vatsa. This led to the transformation enabled growth of IKYA from 3 verticals to 5 verticals – People Services, Technology Solutions, Facilities Management expanded to include Industrial Asset Management and Internet Business and created an Investment Platform for value investing and reinvigorating the String of Pearls strategy and Quess Corp was born.
This led to 147x Oversubscribed IPO (2016) and a successful IPP of Rs. 874 Cr (2017) of which 55% is held by the promoter and the remaining 45% is held by the public.
How to look at acquisitions
Mr. Ajith Isaac has a very red pill way of looking at acquisitions, he stressed on having meaningful partnerships and friendly transactions. He believes hostile transactions might solve the purpose immediately but might lead to bad pivots. He looks at collaborating rather than competing. This shows with the expanded bouquet of services through a series of strategic acquisitions.
Quess’ Business Model revolves around:
The central point for success of any business is a business built around people, we must strive to create an inclusive and all-encompassing work environment and the policies evolve around the need and aspirations of our people
Employees to CEO’s
We must encourage ‘Nurture Leadership’ and ‘Build Business’ around our people, people who came to Quess, are today leading world class business’, we have built business around people. Indians take joy in being hands on, by giving strategic direction and leaving it to the CEO to do the execution. Decentralized is best with right leadership, People led investment serious is very helpful
Creating a ‘Culture of Empathy’
Empathy for us is at the centre of a creating a people centric organization, this fosters a culture of ‘Openness’ and ‘Understanding’, leading to high levels of employee satisfaction.
Recognize Aspirations of Employee
We must encourage our employees to come up with B-plans and nurture their talents. And always be open to help our people realize their aspiration and true potential and Distance yourself appropriately and be inside to know the things in hand. Be patient with a plan as long-term investments make money.
Reimagining the Future: Digitization and Smart Solutions
We must always be on to to with technology, we are doubling no of bots we are using as this is the wayward for the future. Companies must research for technologies that help them automate processes. With every bot we can save 3-4 headcount. Digitisation through a combination of external technical expertise and internal domain experience and quantum change in business processes by bringing in layers of automation and analytics
An entrepreneur should be stoic and resilient, his decision can be flexible, but the central thought should be stoic, it’s an enjoyable ride. An entrepreneurs role has a high social impact.