Evolve IP, the Wayne-based cloud-services firm, has agreed to buy Amsterdam-based Mtel, a 60-person communications provider that builds internet protocol phone systems, contact centers, and business-collaboration tools for companies in the Netherlands and Germany, for an undisclosed price.
The acquisition, Evolve’s 12th in 10 years, cements its foreign presence, which also includes a previous purchase in Israel and rep offices in European cities. Evolve IP will employ more than 300 when the Mtel deal closes, up from 200 last year, when Boston-based Great Hill Partners bought a controlling stake in the company and committed more than $100 million to expansion.
“Acquisition is one of our growth strategies,” Tom Gravina, Evolve CEO and cofounder, told me. Gravina says he expects total Evolve IP sales will hit $100 million this year, and growth will continue to top 25 percent a year.
Besides adding European clients and a veteran software and business staff that will speed new-product development, Mtel offers “some interesting technologies and intellectual property that we like to our product set.”
The buyer, which already claims Apria Healthcare, Chick-fil-A, Christian Dior, Firstrust Bank, and 1,500 other companies, nonprofits, and agencies as clients, hopes the deal will cement its image as a multinational service provider. Mtel’s outside investors had decided to sell, and though “there’s a lot of capital looking to make investments in the tech sector, we happen to be a company of substance and size that had the wherewithal” to buy Mtel, Gravina said.
“We are looking forward to growing the European market,” through more purchases and “organically,” Evolve IP president and cofounder Guy Fardone said in a statement.
Can independent firms like Evolve IP continue to win market share from the telecom and software giants? Besides its cloud services offerings, “our technologies revolve around any form of business communications. Unified communications, contact centers, disaster recovery, network security, we put into one bundle as one service. We build in multiple redundancies,” Gravina said.
“We use the new technologies to build better than what the old bureaucratic-type companies have. It’s not about fiber in the ground anymore. It’s about our IP.” He says Evolve IP and other cloud-based specialists compete with telecom giants such as AT&T as well as data-software providers like Wayne-based Sunguard, Microsoft, and Google. The company is a certified vendor for Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, and other big software providers.
“We are very happy to be joining Evolve IP and excited to have new opportunities to expand the company’s presence in the region,” said Mtel executive Michiel van Dis. “Some of the first features we expect them to take advantage of will be the award-winning web-based management portal OSSmosis and contact-center integrations.”
As sales rise, will Gravina and his backers and financial partners sell out, or seek new partners to get bigger? “We think there’s a long runway here of growth for us. So we’ll continue to do what we’re doing: growing organically” and through deals when the opportunity rises, he said. “We’re not focused on anything but to execute our business strategy.”