This week partner Alex Thomson sat down with Paul Francis-Grey, Editor at the Actum Group to discuss the plans of scaling up Hippo through operational excellence drive.
The full interview can be read below.
UK-based SME investor, Growth Capital Partners (GCP), is looking to broaden the national footprint of digital transformation consultant, Hippo Digital, having invested in the business in April 2021.
Hippo Digital was founded in 2016 and provides clients with expertise in how to digitally transform organisations’ user-facing services. The company works with public and private sector clients and has offices in Leeds, Manchester and Coventry, as well as a growing business in London. It generates approximately £20m revenue with a profitable EBITDA, as reported by Alex Thomson, Partner at GCP.
Thomson said that Hippo Digital’s plan is to double its workforce, which stood at approximately 175 when the investment was made. This spans over three user-centred business areas – design, product & delivery and engineering & data. There is an opportunity to scale all three of these divisions in all locations and potentially expand to other new locations.
“There has been a very conscious investment into the talent acquisition team,” Thomson said. Management has appointed someone to head this team and there has been investment in recruitment. It will additionally launch its Hippo Academy in the new year.
“We will initially take on 25 people and run a training programme in which senior management will dedicate their time over a few months providing them the skills needed to work in the digital space. We can then begin integrating them into the company and kick-start their careers in tech,” Thomson explained. “There is a war for talent in the tech space, so we are looking to broaden the talent pool from which we recruit.”
The bulk of the recruitment will centre around the core technology of the business, but it will also hire within the business development team as well as within the systems and finance functions of the company.
Additionally, there are plans to open offices elsewhere in the country. It is in the process of identifying places within the UK where it can establish hubs that will not necessarily be siloed, given the working from home culture that has developed in the working space.
Thomson pointed out that this expansion may involve a combination of organic growth and M&A. Hippo acquired a company called CDL, which has proved successful, and could be followed by similar, complementary deals.
“We are not a buy and build platform but will be a welcome home for a company with complementary capabilities. Acquisitions would help build the existing verticals we have. We see a huge amount of opportunity in the existing fields we work in and do not see an immediate need to venture into new markets,” Thomson said.
The majority of Hippo’s clients exist within the public sector. The UK government has actively encouraged advancing the digital capabilities of the likes of the NHS and other State departments, from which Hippo is confident of securing further business.
“Equally the private sector offers great opportunities. The impact of Covid has put digital transformation higher on the agenda of corporates, which Hippo hopes to work across,” Thomson said.
“GCP places an emphasis on aligning itself with management teams of companies we acquire. Together we plan how we can best add value and become a supportive partner, which is an essential component for any investor,” Thomson added.
Thomson referred to GCP’s investment of a similar company three years ago, Infinity Works, as an important milestone for the investor in backing a business in that space and familiarising itself with the Leeds-based tech community.
He explained that GCP was introduced to Hippo through its connections built since the Infinity Works investment. Additional experience from investments in Chaucer Consulting and The DMW Group that operate in similar sectors also provides GCP with experience it has in the space that it can leverage on in order to help Hippo though its journey.
A big thank you to the Actum Group for inviting Alex. You can read more about their service here.
Read more about our partnership with Hippo Digital here.
“Our partnership with Growth Capital Partners began in March and we have already started to see the valuable impact of their knowledge and experience within digital transformation. Their approach and culture is very much aligned to Hippo’s and that was very important to us when we were choosing an investment partner to support our business growth. We are enjoying the journey with GCP and look forward to sharing the challenges and rewards as the business grows”. – Adam Lewis, CEO, Hippo Digital