There’s certainly cause for celebration this week, as Syscap officially turns 25 years old! We’re extremely excited to reach this milestone and as our birthday approaches, we’ve been reflecting on how far our company has come since its inception in 1990. We have been thinking back to all our major achievements, and to the challenges we’ve faced and managed to overcome.
Over the years, we’ve tapped into new markets, extended our services and acquired new businesses. We’ve experienced buyouts and major reshuffles to our infrastructure; we also fell head first into the economic crash and came out the other side. Yet, through it all, our principles and values have remained the same – perhaps that’s why we’re still here today.
At the start
When we first entered the market, the technology landscape was drastically different to how it is today. It was rapidly evolving and much of the demand was driven by SMEs. However, the challenge those small businesses faced was the high level of investment needed for technology. Many businesses couldn’t afford paying in full for tech, and banks didn’t make it easy for them to acquire finance. And so, we saw an opportunity.
From the offset, our value proposition has been the same: leasing made easy. We saw huge benefits in this model – a high-touch, value-driven engagement model. Banks didn’t understand the IT channel, the SME or technology markets, but we could provide that level of knowledge and expertise needed.
At this time, we were a modest business that had limited access to capital, and we didn’t want to take any real commercial risk. Our next safe bet was focusing on areas of commercial growth, which resulted in us embarking on our most successful industry-leading campaign to date. Coinciding with the release of the Labour Party manifesto, we spent 12 months researching how technology could be effectively implemented into UK schools, and it wasn’t long before we became a trusted advisor to the education sector.
Into the new millennium
Entering the start of the millennium with confidence, we decided to extend our services to offer IT finance solutions for paper and medical professions. We researched thoroughly in order to understand why the sectors invested in technology and how we could extract value from the marketplace. To aid our efforts, we acquired Professional Finance and Leasing; a company with deep-domain knowledge of funding technology in our target sectors.
Offering these services proved incredibly successful and Syscap was growing year-on-year. We became specialists in our field and had three main competences: finance experience, IT and technology experience, and vertical market experience.
Yet, we still felt that we didn’t have enough access to capital, and we needed increased support in our back office infrastructure. So, after much deliberation, in 2006 we underwent a management buyout from AnaCap. The fund, which was new with no investors, was committed to financial services and concerned with operational management: it was the perfect choice for us. The company helped us to transition and in 2008, we had our best trading year to-date. But then, the business world imploded.
Hitting the credit crunch
The economic downturn was extremely hard for us and we were forced to make some tough decisions, cutting our workforce by over 30% over a 15 month period. However, then and now, our company is blessed with some of the most talented employees in our industry. It is not only their skill, but their ethics and camaraderie that pulled the company through its darkest days.
We managed to pick ourselves up in the years that followed. Some services fell by the wayside, while others remained stable. In 2010 we acquired Exclusive Benefits Ltd, a specialist commercial finance provider with extensive experience in the professions sector. This improved our access to funding and allowed us to move through into 2010 and beyond.
The here and now
Fast forward to 2014 and we fulfilled our potential for further investment and access to capital. Last autumn, we started a review for exiting our investors, knowing that we needed to partner with a company that had proven access to funding on a quantum scale. So, in February this year, Syscap was officially acquired by Wesleyan Group.
Wesleyan was the perfect choice for us: established in 1841, the company has proven vertical market knowledge and £6 billion worth of assets under management. Wesleyan felt that its company’s values were culturally aligned with our own; it wanted to invest in long-term growth and not short-term gain. The services we offer are different, which means we can leverage their expertise and combine it with our own to provide our customers with exceptional service.
Following the acquisition, we can’t help but feel extremely optimistic about the future. We’re looking past today and tomorrow and planning for the long-term. Through the hard work and dedication of our employees, and loyalty of our customers, Syscap is liberated to move forward. Here’s to many more happy birthdays!