The co-founder of Annodata will use the proceeds of its 2016 sale to fund a buy-and-build project Academia.
Andrew Harman has taken a 75 per cent stake in the education-specialist Apple reseller via his investment firm Strive Capital - nearly four years after selling his print reseller and managed services outfit Annodata to Kyocera.
Taking to CRN, Academia CEO Mike Bacon (pictured above) said that his firm will make multiple acquisitions to drive its revenues beyond the £100m barrier.
He and Academia's sales director Mark McCormack will stay on as CEO and chief commercial officer, respectively, and will retain a 25 per cent stake in the London-based firm.
Strive's backing will take £68m-revenue Academia to "another level", Bacon claimed.
"I'm not taking the money and sailing off into the sunset; it's the opposite - I have a boss for the first time in 17 years and am relishing it," he said.
"We've been growing the business very successfully but we've never had a lot of external expertise of expanding where we hadn't been before. We've tried consultants and advisors, but ultimately Andrew was interested in the investment.
"We had a conversation, and he wasn't going to come on board without taking a significant investment. I was happy to do that as I think it's the right thing for the business to go onto another level."
The M&A strategy will bolster Academia's managed services business or propel it into complementary product lines and markets, including the SME space, Bacon indicated.
Harman built Annodata to £70m revenue along with his brother Tim (pictured on the left), who has retired from the industry.
His restrictive covenants ended around a year ago, Bacon said.
"His brother probably thinks he's mad doing it again," Bacon said. "But Andrew's got so much energy and drive that he wants to. It's about pride. It took him a while to find us and get the deal exactly right for both parties, but ultimately it was too good an opportunity for Academia and me."
In a statement, Harman said: "I have been reviewing a number of investment opportunities over the past year and feel there is a gap in the market for a consolidated technological offering. Academia has excellent heritage in providing IT services, particularly to thousands of schools, colleges and universities across the UK and has a very strong and experienced management team. Having acquired a major shareholding in the company, I'm excited to be back in the technology sector and I look forward to working with the team and supporting the business on the next stage of its growth. I'm very passionate about the technology sector and together I feel we can make a significant impact in the market."
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