Arden Life

What’s going on at the Arden offices?

Our new Chief Executive on why he’s in the best job ever

When an old friend of mine approached me with the opportunity of running what sounded like a mobile phone reseller in the centre of London I was underwhelmed. Having built a business from pretty-much start-up to one that boasted, at its peak, a valuation close to €500m with locations around the world, the idea of selling mobile telephones in the UK alone didn’t seem like the ‘next big thing’ to me. It wasn’t an ego objection, it was an interest one.

Well, I was wrong. Once I got past my first reaction and agreed to meet for a coffee and listen, and in the three years since I first heard about babble (or IP Solutions as it was at the time), the scale of the opportunity just becomes clearer and clearer.

Here’s the three reasons why this industry is so rich in opportunity

1. The industry is enormously interesting. Comms is the new battleground for business success. It’s a cliché, but competitive advantage in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, is delivered through the customer experience – and that relies on great cloud-based technology to deliver a competitor beating customer experience. It’s enormously exciting and absolutely disruptive. It’s what I love.

2. The market has been dominated by old-school resellers used to selling ‘tin’. They’ve struggled to move their business model to subscription-based revenues and their sales execs are too used to selling commoditised products to sell effectively to commercial leaders. There’s a clear opportunity there.

3. I don’t have the stress of building product anymore! I spent years leading organisations that built disruptive cloud-based technology, and it’s very exciting but, boy, it’s hard. Being a reseller may not seem sexy, but we are in the great position of being able to continually source that same breakthrough technology, from lots of different places without the stress of developing and delivering it. It’s a win-win.

The more time I’ve spent in the industry the more I enjoy it. There’s a lot of smart people building solid businesses, and everyone has a different story to tell. It’s by some margin the most interesting & entertaining industry I have worked in.

And today, with our announcement that we’ve acquired Arden Communications, it just got a whole lot more interesting. In one step we’ve doubled the size of the business. We’ve now got £20m in revenues, 1200 customers to look after, two offices (one in London and one in Birmingham) and we’ve added some outstanding talent to the babble team.

For most businesses’ life gets easier with scale. Funding for growth becomes easier, hiring talent gets easier, you create more interesting and varied opportunities for the talent you have, and as a leader, it becomes easier to work on the business rather than working in it.  We are no different. This acquisition opens up even more opportunity to grow even faster. We’ve got big ambitions and no excuses for not achieving them.

I’d like to welcome our new colleagues to the babble team, we are a great bunch. I’d like to welcome our new customers with the commitment that we will not let you down and I’d like to thank everyone else simply for getting to the bottom of my blog. The lesson here? Next time you feel underwhelmed by an opportunity: just listen. You’ll never know what you might be missing.

babble doubles revenue and customer base with acquisition of Birmingham-based Arden Group

London-based babble cloud holdings limited, one of the UK’s leading providers of cloud-based communications technology, is strengthening its portfolio and doubling its industry footprint by acquiring Birmingham-based Arden Group for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will add strength in mobile and IT managed services to babble’s existing market-leadership in Unified Communication (UCaaS) and cloud-based Contact Centre solutions (CCaaS). It will also double babble’s revenue to nearly £20m and create a combined customer base of more than 1,200 customers.

The business has been backed by leading mid-market private equity firm LDC since October 2017 and this is the second acquisition babble has made this year. It follows the earlier acquisition of Direct Response Plus, formerly part of the Yonder Digital Group of companies.

Arden Group has built a strong footprint of mid-market enterprise customers, and its track record of successful acquisitions over the past 36 months has given it a portfolio heavily focused on solving the challenges of IT and Telecoms convergence. Its Birmingham office will become babble’s first location outside London.

Matt Parker, Chief Executive of babble, said: “It’s unusual to get a chance to double the size of a business with a single acquisition but with our purchase of Arden Group we have done exactly that. More importantly, we’ve significantly strengthened our product portfolio, added real talent to the leadership and management teams and given ourselves a great footprint outside London with a team that has built a loyal and highly referenceable customer base. This feels more like a merger than an acquisition in that we are bringing two highly complementary businesses together and I am very excited about the future as one team.”

Nigel Walker, Arden Group’s former Managing Director and majority owner, said: “It gives me great pride and pleasure to have built up Arden Group into the organisation it is today, but even more to know that Matt and his team will protect that legacy. The two organisations are an extremely good fit, our cultures are aligned, Arden’s product portfolio is entirely complementary, and I am confident knowing that our customers will continue to receive the standards of care and attention we have always delivered.”

Alex Clark, Investment Director at LDC, and member of the babble cloud board, added: “The acquisition of Arden Group will continue to strengthen babble’s core proposition, as well as extend the business’ span across the UK. Since partnering with Matt and the team, we have been actively looking to drive scale in what is a highly competitive market and  this second acquisition in our first year of partnership forms part of a wider ongoing growth strategy as we look to build a business with longstanding value.”

About babble

At babble, we bring businesses and communications technology together in new and unexpected ways – to make them more accessible, more productive and more profitable.

Working primarily with large and mid-sized UK enterprises, including Park Plaza, Secret Escapes and Chubb, we are recognized leaders in the deployment of UCaaS and CCaaS solutions. Our passion is to identify the best technology, and our skill is in the integration of it to deliver customer and business benefits. We aim to make our customers “business brilliant”.

Our efforts are often award-winning and our customers are the leading advocates for the positive impacts we make.

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