KeyedIn aiming for growth in fresh industries

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THE entrepreneur who took over AIM-listed business software firm Atlantic Global has revealed plans for huge growth by the end of the year by stepping up sales in new industries.

James Waterhouse, head of the UK division of United States technology group KeyedIn Solutions, which took Atlantic Global off the stock market in January, said the team would increase the firm’s turnover from £1.4m to £8.5m in its first year.

Atlantic Global, which now operates under the KeyedIn Solutions name, develops software to help companies to monitor and run projects more effectively.

Its customers include big financial and pharmaceutical businesses such as HSBC, GlaxoSmithKline and Aviva, but Mr Waterhouse said the sales team was now targeting new sectors including advertising agencies, legal firms and architectural practices.

“We believe the product is capable of delivering much larger revenues than it has done in the past,” he said. “We plan to increase that six fold-up to £8.5m. Beyond that we want to develop the business into what we call a trading platform – a single website where you can run your entire business.”

KeyedIn Solutions, which has sales and development staff in Ikley and Cleckheaton, is also creating new jobs. Atlantic Global employed 18 people in January. KeyedIn is expected to reach up to 40 in the next three to six months.

Software and consulting group KeyedIn was founded last summer by three former executives of US software firm Epicor – Mr Waterhouse, George Klaus and Lauri Klaus – who sold the business for almost $1bn last June.

It now has seven sites in the US, an office in Melbourne and is expanding into Europe, including Sweden, the Middle East and Far East.

The software that the company is creating in Yorkshire, is even being sold in Silicon Valley in the US. “It’s fantastic to see products that are being developed and worked on here, suddenly taking off around the world,” said Mr Waterhouse.

The deal for Atlantic Global came about after Mr Waterhouse spotted the company’s name by chance last August. After Googling the company, trialling the software and going through its accounts, he emailed the chief executive, Eugene Blaine, with an offer to buy the business.

“I was looking for a software product that we could sell alongside our consultancy product,” he said. “I saw a significant gap between what the product could do and its value in the market place, and the current revenues of the business so I thought it was a great opportunity.”

Atlantic Global was put up for sale last September and KeyedIn found itself competing against a number of different companies for the business. It eventually bought the firm in a £4.9m deal.

“We were working blind a lot of the time, we didn’t know who we were bidding against and it was just a matter of velocity that got us through that,” said Mr Waterhouse. “We could move very quickly.”

KeyedIn is launching its new corporate identity on April 17 at an event to be held at Alea Casino in Leeds.

Mr Waterhouse was upbeat about the company’s prospects at a time when businesses are reining in their spending. “The great thing about our products is that if you’re a business running projects we can help de-risk those projects and help you run them better and help you identify if they are ever going to actually deliver success and within the time and budgets you’ve already got set.

“In a downturn it’s still a product people see value in so we’ve got a lot of interest.”

Looking to the next 12 months, he said: “It’s not going to be easy but then you wouldn’t expect it to be. We’re looking forward to a good year. We think we can deliver on the growth targets we’ve set ourselves.”