Spiria is a Montréal SME that specializes in developing custom software. The two major challenges it faced? It wanted to diversify its markets to reduce its risks and faced with the current labour shortage, it needed to recruit strategic skills. That’s what motivated the company to make acquisitions. Spiria’s Director of Finances Luc Gagnon shares his experience and advice.
Four acquisitions in six years
“In 2012, 95% of our sales came from 2 clients,” said Luc. To rectify this situation, the SME decided to diversify its market shares by making four acquisitions in six years: Montréal in 2011, Gatineau in 2014, Toronto and Boston in 2017. The result? Spiria kept its two major clients but today, they represent only 35% of their sales.
Toronto: a foot in a strategic market
Despite how close the Ontarian market is to their headquarters in Gatineau, potential new clients in Toronto always went with local companies instead. Their 2017 acquisition allowed Spiria to finally pierce this new market.
A skilled workforce that adds depth to the company’s know-how
In a context of labour shortage, specifically in the IT sector, this acquisition turned out to be very promising. According to Spiria, it allowed them to access a new pool of IT developers. “When we want to open up a position, we can do so in Montréal, Gatineau, or Toronto,” said Luc.
Learning from your mistakes
“Out of our four acquisitions, three were successful, one was not,” added Spiria’s Director of Finances. Their most recent acquisition, in Boston, was a failure. The reason? A difference in how both organizations envisioned their business development. This experience taught Luc two lessons: “never fall in love with the deal” and assess the compatibility between management and the rest of the team. They will be the ones working together after the acquisition.
Acquisition turned out to be an efficient growth strategy for this Montréal company and they will continue to pursue this avenue. “The bigger we get, the more credibility our company has, the more contracts we get,” said Luc.
This video was produced in collaboration with Services Québec de l’Île-de-Montréal and the Ministère de l’Économie, des Sciences et de l’Innovation as part of the Acquistion initiative, co-presented by Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Osler Lawers.