Advantage 360 Reflects On Life Post-Acquisition with Lumine Group
In June 2019, Lumine Group (then Volaris Group Comms & Media) acquired Advantage 360.
After operating the business for over 30 years, Advantage 360 Founder and CEO, Richard J. Card, started to plan for retirement and was in search of an acquirer. Card knew the right acquirer of Advantage 360 (A360) would continue to grow the business and nurture its employees while taking care of its loyal customer base. Card also wanted an acquirer with expertise in the telecom space that could implement best practices to grow the business and improve the customer experience. Upon meeting with Lumine Group, he knew he found the right fit.
Today, 18 months post-acquisition, Lumine is celebrating the success Advantage 360 has seen so far. We spoke with Matt Young, recently appointed CEO of Advantage 360, about key moments and learnings since the acquisition.
Lumine: Upon acquisition, what goals did you set to accomplish in the first year?
Matt Young: We were excited to learn about the acquisition, and extremely happy for Richard who was able to retire knowing Advantage 360, a business Richard had worked his whole life to build, was in good hands.
Once the acquisition was closed, we were able to look at the business and identify areas of improvement. We focused on things like process optimizations and developing clear success metrics for each department. At the time of the acquisition, we were doing well but knew we could be doing better. We had evolved our business over three decades without considering standards or effectiveness. Consequently, this inhibited us from capturing more customer market share. With Lumine, we were able to identify how we could improve this.
What was the integration process like?
Our integration felt tailored to our needs and was run onsite—back in a time where business travel was still an option. On day one, we were introduced to the Lumine team. We also introduced the management team to all its peers within Lumine. Within the first few weeks of close, Lumine also assisted us in closing a new customer contract, Tonga Communications.
That’s exciting. Tell us more about the Tonga Communications win.
Tonga noted that with news of the Lumine acquisition, we were able to provide the customer with a strengthened sense of security and financial stability. Given the strength, size, and reputation of Lumine/Volaris, the acquisition positively impacted our ability to win this customer.
By this time, you and your team have gone through various Lumine Group workshops. What has the impact been so far?
All new learnings have had a great impact on our turnaround of customer requirements and levels of product quality. We presented and leveraged the new measuring tactics and organizational structures to demonstrate to customers the new level of direct accountability with positive feedback. It has all been very positive.
What has access to the Lumine Group ecosystem meant for your business?
We are now part of a network of like-minded businesses, with complementary product offerings allowing us to strengthen relationships with our customers. We recently launched an Online Charging System through Lifecycle Software and have proactively begun to build up opportunities through our existing customers.
Tell us a bit about succession planning. Once acquired, Richard Card retired, and you have now transitioned to CEO. What should other founders know about this type of transition with Lumine?
I first took on the role of CTO post-acquisition, and Tony Garcia, Lumine Group leader, assumed the interim CEO role. I was privileged to be invited as a candidate and was extremely humbled to be awarded the role.
I have worked at A360 most of my career, 2 ½ decades. To now have the ability to steer the business through its modernization is massively rewarding. I’ve learned that Lumine is looking in the first instance to retain and develop acquired talent—I am truly an example of this.
The tools and support infrastructure from Lumine is constant and reassuring. I have learned so much in my time as CEO and would say to all executives, the future is bright at Lumine!
Congratulations, that’s great news. Can you tell us more about team development?
In addition to my appointment as CEO, we also promoted the Head of our Quality Assurance team Steve Munoz to VP Maintenance and Support. Steve has done an excellent job in adopting all the Lumine best practices. He has upgraded his entire support organization, renewed customers, and maintained mandated profit levels for his department! Incredible to think just over 12 months ago, he had not been responsible for a profit and loss.
One year later, what is the biggest change in your business?
Given the scale of Lumine and Volaris, the acquisition has provided us with a sense of legitimacy and trust to customers. We have managed to renew all customers successfully!
What would you tell a fellow CEO about being part of Lumine Group?
Most CEOs believe they are experienced operators and at the top of their field. If they take a step back and embrace humility, they will see that Lumine has the experience, best practices, learnings, and templates that can ever be gained by a single individual. Collaborate, absorb, and execute with your peers at Lumine!
What do you look forward to in year two and beyond?
Our focus is on our customer base. We will ensure the new ecosystem of products and services we are a part of will be of value to those customers. There are many opportunities within the Lumine ecosystem, and we have only scratched the surface.
If you’re interested in learning more about Advantage 360, or more about what life at Lumine Group is like, please get in touch!