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Episode #36

In just 3 years Lyvia went from an an idea to a group of 40 companies with 2+ billion SEK in total revenue. We talked with CEO and co-founder Sebastian Karlsson about the insights, strategies, and decisions insights behind their rapid growth.

This post is based on our podcast episode with Sebastian Karlsson. Sebastian is the CEO of Lyvia Group. You can watch the entire conversation here.

1. Growth through acquisitions

Sebastian Karlsson discussed how Lyvia Group rapidly expanded by acquiring over 40 companies in three years. This growth was not random but strategically planned. Lyvia focused on companies with an EBITDA of 1-3 million euros, carefully selecting the best candidates and integrating them effectively into their business. This demonstrates that focused acquisition can be an effective way to scale a company.

2. Importance of capital allocation and operational autonomy

Karlsson emphasized the importance of smart capital allocation as a driver of growth. This means not only making acquisitions but also investing in organic growth opportunities, such as sales and product development. Additionally, he highlighted Lyvia Group’s decentralized ownership strategy, where acquired companies maintain operational independence. This approach respects the unique cultures and strengths of each company, enabling their success as part of a larger entity.

3. Overcoming market and economic challenges

Despite economic uncertainties and market fluctuations, Lyvia Group has maintained its growth trajectory. Karlsson attributes this resilience to a clear vision and disciplined approach to business. He also mentioned the importance of continuous self-evaluation and fidelity to the company’s fundamental processes during challenging times. Constant improvement and adaptability have been key in navigating a changing business environment.

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Watch episode:Buying 40 companies in 3 years with Lyvia Group CEO Sebastian Karlsson

Buying 40 companies in 3 years with Lyvia Group CEO – Youtube transcript

today I’m joined by Sebastian Carlson the co-founder and CEO of Livia group a leading European technological services company founded just 3 years ago Livia has quickly grown to include 40 companies with a combined revenues of two billion Swedish kruna welcome to the show Sebastian thank you yosha glad to be here so I think most of our listeners are not familiar with Libya as at least as um um maybe they used some of the 500 million SEK in 5 years and how it all started services that been produced by one of your portfolio companies but could you give an overview of what was the how did this all come to be what was the the business model the strategy um what was it how did this all get started uh no so we we have a background me and the majority shareholder uh side who’s also been on your your show uh earlier uh we have a history together we work together for I think it’s 11 years now so um we we really know each other and I and I have been um a CEO of two of his software companies that he invested in um and then I saw that there was a lot of good small and medium Enterprises that had good profitability and also was quite um sticky when it comes to our customers um uh digital it infrastructure so I saw that there was a gap there were some companies in Sweden also doing acquisition in this size VTEC for example but there wasn’t that many doing it in in it so I saw that there was a gap and especially if we look outside of the nordics it’s even fewer players actually doing this so I saw I know I know the space side has the both the network the capital uh and also some of the tools needed for us to to grow and then then we started out in September 2020 and did our first Acquisitions actually in October just one month after after we founded the company and then one in December and and that was the birth of of miru ofia who then became Livia after a merge with the with a group called 11 and you had this very ambitious Target uh I think I remember reading from like the press release that went out it was 500 million Swedish Kona in profit within 5 years and I guess you’re on track to achieving that so what was it what was the Insight that that led you to have this incredibly ambitious Target like why did you think that it would be possible to achieve uh this in in such a short period of time uh no but I will say that’s typical my my partner and and co-founder side that’s typical of him he he just needs to have um uh a good slogan so he said five years 50 companies 500 million in eitam that was his slogan so he went around talking about it and he often do this when when he’s creating companies he always have this slogan that is quite catchy and then after a while it just gets into everyone said and then then of course I also put up that as a Target when I when I did my first business plan with with Dan mirovia and uh like like you said we’re close to reaching uh 500 million uh in ABA uh right now with the acquisition that we have in our pipeline so in some some funny way it actually works when when you put it into into people’s head and you start actually live by that if you don’t do this this is a failure so I think Sid and also Henry Ford they’re doing exactly the same thing that’s really interesting because it’s so unusual at least in in I think in vland and Sweden do you think it’s actually a competitive Advantage for for you um as a group that the fact that you’re dreaming really big and you’re able to um yeah does does that help uh when it comes to inspiring people or or setting the strategy this kind of um ability or courage to dream really big and then also be very public about like what what you’re going after yeah like of course there are some disadvantages of actually being transparent and communicate that because it puts a lot of pressure on you of course and and also in the beginning people laughs I remember the guy actually created our first web page I met him at a bar in a private setting and he and he said when when I created your web page and I had to write that into the web page I was just I was just laughing like who come on guys who do you think you are but but also first if you talk about it I think for me quite fast I saw that this is absolutely doable it’s actually we we had a plan where we acquired 70 million eitaa we have some organic growth on that we will develop the companies then actually 3 years years in a row we acquire for 100 million in ABA and then the last year 130 and then you you if you start with the end and then you you you you deep dive uh into exactly what do we need to do to achieve the end so 500 in this case then you can just put in the okay we need to do a liquidity event here we need to talk to to different um dep investors bank and and bonds we need here we need to do an equity rise we need to find a valuation of this as so on and so on so I I think for me it’s it’s a good way to work uh I like to work with my co-founder side in that way he doesn’t really go into details of how I do it he just want the outcome of it so so I think it’s a good way to to work for for me it it works fine and uh maybe in the beginning I felt a little bit silly saying it in public but uh like I said now if I will say to side that we’re going to only have or follow the business plan from now on he would just uh he would scream at me and and so would the board so I think I think uh it’s really really cliche but if you if you see it and then you start believe it then then you can actually achieve it but but it’s true yeah I mean totally like you just said when you had that clear goal you then started reverse engineering and figuring out the steps you needed to take okay so you had that very clear goal and vision can you talk a little bit about the business model and and Lyvia’s business model specifically like why if if you could see then at that kind of early stage that this is going to make sense this is doable like why was this way of working this business model not um utilized before in in in at least in the markets where you’re active right now yeah I I will say there are we have three stakeholders that is really important for us of course first of all the customer so the customer that’s that’s what makes us uh able to exist they the customers actually validate our services and products so they are the most important thing uh that we have so it’s really important to understand the Shan of command there and number two the entrepreneurs and the employees who’s actually uh offering the Services offering the products to the customers and then shareholders so we’re always focusing on those true three stakeholders and and of course we we have done a lot of Acquisitions but it’s not about Acquisitions it’s about Capital allocation so I say to my companies if I if I can see a custom acquisition cost cak uh towards lifetime value DTV and if I see a Rio that is 1 to 7 or 1 to 10 or maybe even one to five I would I would rather maybe go with um with allocating the capital uh organically uh and H hiring more salespeople uh and so on so it is not about acquisition acquisition was just for us to to be able to Head Start a little bit uh to have some products and services that we could offer to the customers uh but then from from now on it’s all about using the over liquidity that to create and allocate in a in a good good way so we like to actually also we are decentralized we have a decentralized owner strategy but but also the same with in not like when we feel comfortable with with the entrepreneurs we want entrepreneurs to to be able to to um use the liquidity that they create and that’s not often the case um previous to to we we are the owner because then of course a Founder they work with dividend so they haven’t really um giv the company the opportunity to grow as it could and then we can insert a big team and HQ that could help them facilitate both organic growth but of course also allocate the over liquidity into into acquiring uh new companies and new companies that create a better mode we could be companies creating maybe a better a better um product Suite we can also acquire IP if there’s a business rational uh behind that so I think I think that is important to to understand that I try to always say that that of course we have used acquisition a lot in the beginning but from now on it’s about Capital allocation nothing else that’s really interesting because How to learn both capital allocation and operations as a CEO it I mean it reminds me a lot about how Buffett approaches this about you know all capital from excess capital from the portfolio company should go up to the mother company because they are the experts of capital allocation but I feel like it seems that mostos are very good at it’s more common for CEOs to be operationally excellent than good at Capital allocation CU it’s such a different mindset skill set how did you develop that kind of thinking and and skill set uh to be a great capital allocator I think I think I have I’ve been fortunate enough to work in um with um one of the greatest seral entrepreneur in in the nordics the last 20 years CID as Masada and I’ve been fortunate enough to work both as an operational CEO so I can I can actually build a Salesforce I can take an MVP to to to the market um and then I’ve also been exposed towards Capital allocation because site has had a lot of companies in the past that worked also a lot with acquisition so for me to be exposed towards how you can actually work with that been able to to always build a business rational a business case between are we going to use over liquidity to to um to hire a new sales person or going to use do liquidity to buy a new company uh what is the best business rational so I’ve been fortunate enough to be be in um in in a in a group that has been able to do both so that’s that’s my background for that and then we are really really strict to what we’re doing of course we also made mistakes in the beginning uh we always iterate and try to to improve all the time but but to be really true to exactly what type of returns that you want and then if you if we can do because we at HQ can help our entrepreneurs if they find a an opportunity then we can together because the entrepreneurs know much more about what’s actually happening in in their their amongst their customer uh why should we uh for example acquire this company with this IP and then they can say yes because if we take that one then we can increase the lifetime value or the lifetime value R You by by two or with the stickiness is is much much higher the net revenue retention goes up and so on and so on so so I think I think if you can combine uh operational excellence like you said with financial engineering or or good Capital allocation then you then you have a good uh mix of both world but also if you if you can because I just came from Livia Livia Livia live where we meet all the entrepreneurs in in the group and I said that if you have an opportunity of course I want to have 40 units out there helping me achieve my goals of of allocating capital in a really really good manner so maybe long answer but but I hope you you get got the got the the the feel of what I’m trying to say Organic growth vs acquisitions yeah I think it’s really interesting that you mentioned that for you you’re kind of agnostic um and I feel like in so many companies and and and management team and CEOs you’re comfortable with one like you may be really like a deal junkie you just love making deals or you’re more comfortable with Organic growth and then you tend to go towards that as opposed to just looking which tool is now most effective for us at this stage have you seen have you seen any kind of have you shifted your priorities between acquisition and organic growth as the kind of Market in Europe has changed a lot I mean I or or that’s the first question has it changed a lot the market right now with uh the economic uncertainty and you see you know valuations going down and and uh or or maybe yeah how how you seeing kind of like the the impact of the economic uncertainty on you how you’re thinking about acquisition versus organic growth I think what is happening in the in the private Market where we are we always acquire companies between 1 to three million euro in ebam that’s the range so they typically have between 40 and 50 employees that that is a standard Livia company so they’re not they’re not that big and and uh the multiple isn’t changing so even if uh okay when when the market was as during covid when when everything was uh Peak everything then then of course it actually was a little bit more expensive but we always we are true to exactly what we want to be when it comes to to returns for the shareholders so we will never change that um but we we always work I will say in the same way because I just did a case the other day when we when we saw that the organic kis are there and then some I would say it’s the risk for us to to use over liquidity to actually create something that we know works for example a sales sales person more you have the total D Market um at your fingertips so you can actually do it then that’s that’s um I would say we’re mitigating risk in a much better way of of doing that um so we are still doing exactly the same we’re always measuring what’s the best business rational should we do it organically or should we do it uh by sending up U the money to HQ uh and do a new acquisition for for for growing in in uh in another region or or to improve some some some of our customer offering got it um let let’s talk a little bit about the organic growth part How Lyvia helps companies with growth and profitability. cuz it’s obviously it’s it’s quite difficult in in in practice and I think the the founder of um Vista equity which has I mean they invest in all these software companies he said something like uh software or software businesses are like chicken or tastes like chicken like 80% of it is the same uh even if they sell completely different products and I guess you’ve taken that approach because in your portfol youve got companies that are selling very different types of of of of or creating very different types of ID services or software so what are the things that you look for and what are the concrete ways that you help companies um get either faster growth or or better profitability but I think I think it’s also important because we have a decentralized owner strategy so we we need to actually we do depend and we we rely and we trust entrepreneurs so when we when we do an acquisition we always do acquisition bilateral it’s very very rare when we’re doing structured process broker processes but then we get to know the entrepreneur so uh we know he or she what type of characteristic they have what are they good at what are they uh less good at but but then it’s it’s up to the entrepreneurs to do the growth so of course we studied the history how does that look um and I’m as you can can can hear when we’re talking I’m um I’m a go to market guy so I I like kakel I like a big t uh so I’m more more into horizontal products and and services than than actually vertical because I think and I want to run my business as as it is a numbers game but then for us it’s more like facilitate and help them understand the power of uh Capital allocation so every time you have over liquidity H let let the money work for you so I think that is the biggest thing that we can can learn them other otherwise the entrepreneurs they are Rockstar they are they are amazing at what they’re doing uh it’s just that they sometimes just need us to to gather some data points uh so they actually understand that we understand what is the logic for actually taking the next step because I think um I think if if you don’t continue to grow and take market share eventually will you will die so you need to be you need to listen to new techniques you need to for example when an AA coming how can we use AI uh we used to see him taking Market shars otherwise they would be some other vendor or some other company actually trying to take take our markes I think it’s it’s a game of growth always so even if of course we want to have stable cash flow that that is um the business model we need to growth otherwise we will we’ll die and someone else will take our market share so so that is that is my take on on everything so to answer your question like in two words uh it is about the capital allocation and help them understand uh the business opportunity that actually is there got it so you know safe to say you don’t get involved in kind of company culture the people operations you leave that to uh the entrepreneurs to kind of figure out for what’s best for their teams absolutely and that is important because there can be two different companies they have different totally different company culture but both are really really good companies uh and and if you try to merge those companies I would think it it would end up in a disaster so I think that is really important to understand we give them operational freedom but like I said what we as an owner uh always um take decision about is like I said strategic decisions like going to a new region uh or uh creating an IP for for a new vertical and what are we going to do with over liquidity those three that is something that is up to to us and the board together with the entrepreneur of course to build a business case should we do this or should we not do it so they are doing oper 80% of all the operational decision we make uh 20% of the decision that is most strategic um and and I think that’s the way that we need to do it and then also we have a strategy so every every eight companies that we that we acquire we have one growth director and the growth director is responsible together with the CEO to actually grow this portfolio company so so we continue to um to have that organic growth that we that we want to that we after uh and even you asking how about the market of course the Market’s a little bit tougher but we still have a Topline growth this year the the profitability is a little bit lier uh lower but we’re taking Market Shar so we cannot always sit and just watch oh we’re going down 0.2% in EA or or whatever we’re taking market shares which means we will we will if we want to we could go over to profitability but that’s not um the game that we’re after got it um is it uh as you mentioned you’re very kind of it’s say decentralized I me you give them a lot of atonia freedom um and that includes when it comes not making any efforts to integrate in terms of branding um that’s conscious decision I take it uh that you’re letting them run essentially as as Standalone units um focused on their specific verticals yeah yeah because they you also need to like actually I would say I would also include for example building a culture building a brand uh building awareness build building history that that is something actually you should put into the cost of uh customer acquisition cost so so if they have put money into it years into it uh they have an alumni group in the company and so on and so on that is that is something that you don’t want to take away from them because like I said then we will just throw away something that has cost quite a lot of money uh a lot of energy uh to be able to have a position on the market so the culture and the brand name is is is important to keep and then sometimes when we do an add-on acquisition then we actually change the name and take them into to one of our one of our companies but um other than that we try to keep the culture try to keep uh uh the pr or the communication momentum that they have have built up and sometimes we also of course try to help them if they have if they have a shitty web page or something like that then then we need to to say something because they need to drive uh customers that way as well yeah that that makes a lot of sense um you’ve seen you mention kind of your target is companies doing 1 to three What successful IT firms have in common million in IA um so you see a lot of these companies is there anything that kind of stands out in terms of patterns when it comes to these this is typically what kind of keeps these companies from let’s let’s say getting to that say 5 to 10 or growing further is there any like common limitations or or or blockers that these companies are are typically facing yeah we can see the common denominator for for for really good companies I would say is actually that they have a good Salesforce like I said if you take market shares uh if you work really close to the customers uh if you have a high MPS uh that is really important and also you need to look at the companies that you have because if they have uh 30 to 60 employees or 30 to 100 employees it is important that uh that the CEO he needs or he or she needs to be a CEO they cannot um inv voicing or or be part of projects or or being too much down into their business they need to be CEO and and look a little bit further on um with that type of question and also what I what I think is important when I look uh you need to have a dedicated sales resource it’s so so important to have a dedicated sales resource and um a CEO that is not that is not uh billable uh or part of the the utilization rate or anything like that so that is the in in the size where we are at sometimes actually the the CEO is also 50% of he he or she’s her time actually works in a project then then it’s impossible to grow because they’re they’re too involved in in uh in creating customer value instead of creating company value and we we have done uh in the past we have done acquisition where where the CEO hasn’t been only CEO but then we try to develop the organization so we actually can can do that and and sometimes we can take take a hit or we include it in the adjustments when we acquire them but um but if we want to be able to grow we need to have a dedicated sales resource a dedicated Co do you find typically that um you Why do companies sell to Lyvia? know the companies that uh that you acquire if if they’re not in that position um do they do they respond well to kind of your vision your pitch because you have a very clear operating model um and and how how is it is it kind of an easy sell to get uh these entrepreneurs on board with uh joining Libya as as I think if you’re an entrepreneur and you want to join us uh I think there are also some common denominators there uh for example it’s often an entrepreneur that because if you look at them in in a more like a portfolio management um I they have all their money into one assets that is illiquid right so we we can actually say listen you you should freeze some liquidity uh but you can also be able to continue to grow and stay on board on your company so it’s often the entrepreneurs that think okay I’ve done quite a good job I want to have some sort of uh reward for that but I want to continue to because I love this business I love the people working here I would love to to be able to actually also give the give the business and opportunity to grow because they also know that they have always paid themselves dividend instead of hiring a sales guy or acquiring a company so so the pitch for them to actually get some reward be able to give the company a chance to see what it actually can achieve uh and also I I I hope and I think they they like a little bit also that a lot of us me inside we’re coming from an operational background I’ve actually been in in the southern part of of Sweden in small towns and and knocking doors and actually sell uh my own product uh so I think that’s a little bit intriguing because we’re not the typical like um stockle Financial District type of guys totally I I could see that being a really compelling pitch and especially now as you have a very extensive track record of showing like we’ve done this it’s not just talk we’ve done this for other companies and we can do that for you um have you noticed any challenges Going international as a Swedish company when it comes to uh going abroad like you you know live as a Swedish company and you’re now active like Poland and Spain all these uh other countries has that been um easy or or challenging no but I think I think actually Sweden Stockholm in in particular uh we have a quite good reputation because especially on the b2c side Spotify Clara Isle H Skype uh also a lot of music artists and so on and so on so I think we are quite we have a quite a good reputation still uh in in um in the rest of Europe so I think I think that part hasn’t been that tough actually I was in Spain like two or three weeks ago and and they were so extremely proud that they had a Swedish owner because they they think about all the all the Swedish stuff like like I said Spotify Clara Ikea and so on and so so I think the the the entrepreneurs uh from from the past are helping us the entrepreneurs now in the future so I I think that’s good um but then of course there are there are every Market has their um pros and cons there could be different things it could be like legal issues it could be accounting issues it could be harder to collect data in some countries compared to others so all of the market has their uh advantage and disadvantages but so far um it has been quite an easy transformation I was a little bit afraid of that when we when we started and and when I say this I’m really humble because of course like we have acquired 40 companies not everyone has outperformed the market of course we’re doing mistakes all the time and and we need to learn from that but but so far uh I would say the the outcome from from the outside of the nordics has been really good I think that’s really good encouragement for Swedish and and maybe also Finnish I don’t Finland unfort we don’t have the same reputation it’s not uh especially when it comes to Consumer side it’s more industrial and and and but yeah but but I think no but I I think I think Finland when it comes to b2bs B2B sauce for example they they have a company called dream broker that is also actively in all of the all of all the rest of the world they have a company called Vino who is doing sales intelligence I think they’re quite good when it comes to B2B products but often it’s not B2B products that’s uh that’s go through in the press or the media everyone writes about Spotify or or things that you can actually uh it’s tangible for you as a private or consumer but but I think um I think Finland uh maybe because of they have this you know more than me about this but they have Tech that uh that the government is supporting them to actually continue their growth um so I I think on the B2B side I’m I think fin strong yeah that’s very true u i I want to quickly just touch upon the acquisition part because we talked about Why most acquisitions fail and why Lyvia has succeeded that a little bit but I’d love to if you could divulge I’m not thinking you’re going to divulge the entire kind of Secret Sauce but you’ve been making I mean you made the first Acquisitions in end of 2020 and now you’re 40 company so quick math it’s more than on average more than once per month which is insane considering the stats which is like over 50% of Acquisitions don’t work uh or they destroy value rather than create so anything kind of like how are you approaching how are you able to do this essentially at this r scale rate and successful now I saw I saw that stat statistic that you’re referring to about the the success rate when it comes to acquisition but if you break that into into different part if you have it as a strategy uh and not doing like one acquisition then and then actually the one who has it as a part of their DNA they are actually more successful than than the one who is doing it uh from time to time um but I think when I when I when I um build my company I always I need because I’m a control freak so if I don’t see the numbers that are correct then then I can’t really live by with myself so when when we’re doing acquisition I did exactly same one one thing is like for example if if I would only do acquisition through Brokers then I would get like 0.1% of the companies out there right because it’s 0.1% of the companies is actually up for sale at at every given moment and I want to acquire the the best of the best so I want to actually share a pick the ones that I would like to acquire so then we need to do an an Outreach we need to do bilateral processes and and we need to understand okay how many first meeting does it actually acquire to sign an Loi how many first meeting uh with a potential acquisition Target does it do we need to do to create an Loi and and then of course we’re doing exactly the same we I think um one of the secret Source if if I would show you our CRM and the amount of data that we have in it and and um how precise and detailed we are with everything from from uh the marketing automation before we do a reach out to the process when we’re doing a reach out uh we have an acquisition that the other other week that actually took um 1,000 days to to achieve so we work with them for 1,000 days to be able to to acquire them but after a while we know exactly their business they know know us they know exactly exactly our disadvantages and our advantages and um and and that’s that’s how we how we do it so we know exactly our drivers behind an acquisition we know that x amount of meeting leads to x x Loi we know that this many uh Outreach leads to this amount of meeting in percentage and we know the time between everything so if you would say to me look Sebastian I have 1 billion Euro how fast and at which return can you actually be able to allocate those I can almost if you just give me one or two hours I could take that data and show show to so I think I think uh I I need to build something that is for costable and that’s also why we moved from from the nordics quite soon because we have around to 1,500 potential and interesting candidates for for acquisition and I said to the board straight away that that we need to go to a new market otherwise the the total rest market for doing acquisition will will will soon actually um uh be be full for us so so for Sweden now there of course there are one or two companies coming up every year but but uh we’re focusing more and more and if you see the acquisition pipeline right now I think 80% is outside of the nordics that’s such a good point that the reason probably why most Acquisitions fails is it’s companies doing it like the the CEO doing the transac transaction may be the it might be his or her first transaction but you guys are doing them monthly and you built this this Pipeline and this understanding I think that’s that must be such a huge competitive advantage in negotiations because you know you have such a good understanding pulse on the market you know what you’re paying for you know what you’re willing to pay and you probably you’re also willing to walk away from deals if the conditions or Price isn’t right cuz you’re the scope is just so much wider than than some of the other potential buyers yeah and that was a that was the thing in the beginning and know like because everyone we are human beings even if we said okay we’re going exactly doing this by The Playbook then then in the beginning when you want to grow of course you’re a little bit more eager to uh to do some decision uh and you need sometimes to do and take some risk and do decision for example we did a lot of decisions that was strategic based on when when we did the bond for example because that that Bond was was our ticket to actually grow to where we are today so there are some sometimes you need to take good strategic decision when it comes to taking risk uh but then now as as we have grown to the size where we are today I would I would rather just sit um my my board wouldn’t like that but I would rather sit um on my ass one one full year and and don’t do any acquisition if it’s actually outside the the scope Where We Are and I’m saying that today I wouldn’t do it one year ago two years ago but now I have the I would think um the operational balls as a CEO to actually say that it’s it’s so important to find the right candidates otherwise we we should actually pass right now yeah totally I mean there’s the the old kind of like adage equip about psych like psychology is the biggest competitive advantage in investing because you know it’s not like psychology psychological Edge is better than an informational or or whatever lever Edge because it’s so easy to get um to get uh carried away and and do things that you shouldn’t be doing um I want to talk about something pretty spectacular which is uh earlier Securing 1.6bn SEK in funding in this economic climate this year you secured a 1.6 billion Swedish kuna so that’s like uh maybe 150 million EUR something like that not sure what the exchange is um the currency has been weak but it’s actually been been getting stronger the last week so something like that yeah yeah um uh a bank loan um so I’d love to talk if you could talk about how that came to be obviously this is very unusual in in in the current kind of economic environment first of all that someone would do that and second of all that the banks would would agree to that so could you talk a little bit about that how it came to be no but I think the the relationship with with those two Banks uh dunsky and DMB like I said we are extremely proud um we’re so glad to partner up with with those those bags um they’ve been pragmatic they’ve seen the vision where we want to go and also when we saw when we actually did our tap issue for the bond when we were increasing uh the amount of money from from the bond investors directly after that uh because we saw the interest going up so it’s actually quite expensive with with capital all of a sudden uh then we started to work with um with with the banks because you can always get Capital at some cost of course but but um if you look from from ebit and down and you have too too much interest cost then then there not much left for for for us to to feed the system so so we work with that I think uh me and Dan I was there presenting every quarterly award for for like one year uh we worked and talked to Dan DM for quite some time and I just said look we’re not there yet but I still want to just show you and expose my my product on my ID and my vision and and um and then I think uh we were quite align when we actually started to do the real talking when we when we had done the merge uh when we secured the uh the economy function in in the company in the new company and when we had the numbers I I felt quite comfortable because the relationship was was was that good uh so like I said Dans has been us with us all the time and then actually during during the the pandemic I listened to this uh nor entrepreneur Peter stal and he talked about that his relationship with dmba was was the thing that actually um saved him during during the pandemic so when I listened to that and I thought like DM and Dany I cannot find a better partner in this environment and like I said milestone for us so proud of it yeah it’s a huge a evenement and you know makes a lot of sense you mentioned there the importance of relationships and building that credibility and Trust early on it’s not something you just uh do over overnight um for sure so now that you’ve you know had this you know you got that that money what are you what are you looking at right now what’s what’s uh kind of on the horizon any any kind of big targets any any changes in the market that you’re looking to capitalize on let’s say for instance Ai No of of course we’re looking at that I think I think a AI will transform some part of course I will be stupid if I say not but I think still it’s it will be people who can actually work with AI are the ones that going to succeed you’re not going to replace people I don’t think that but uh we we will continue to do exactly the same thing as we have been doing before we have the same targets 1 to 3 million ABA but we’re looking for to acquire more own IP not only third party IP and exess Service Company towards that uh we’re looking for more and more own products own software um and um like I said before our acquisition pipeline we will do acquisition the 1 of December M the first business day in January and first business day in February um so we are lining up the the targets right now so we know exactly the companies um so we just lined them them up and then also of course to to plan and and um um take the next step for the existing companies that that we have because because you know that the market has been tough we are so like I said also we’re proud that we have a Top Line growth but the profitability is a little bit um uh lower but still we have taken market shares in in this environment so now we need to to to get back to the percentage that we had um uh can we say pre pre-inflation rise God it’s essentially I mean maintaining that disciplined focused approach on on execut his strategy yeah I’d love to ask just a couple of um kind of personal rapid fire Lessons learned from sales, biggest challenges, decision making, and outcomes questions number one you have a very strong background and you mentioned this a little bit you have very strong background in sales and Business Development so how is that kind of shaped how you’re you know you currently as a CEO of liia and do you think it’s it’s a really useful skill that more people should try to to acquire I think I think it’s it’s even it’s everything is sale and uh most people don’t understand it but like for example if you if you’re looking for funding then you need to meet uh all the P funds in the world if you’re looking for a bank you need to have contacts and relationship with other Banks you need to put every sort of uh I would say ask that you have as a company or as a leader you need to put that into the CRM honestly so everything is a numbers game for me the more you expose uh your ID your vision to people the higher the the potential of actually something happening um and I think that’s something that I want to create as a dni DNA and a culture in Libya and also what I’m trying to when I talk to the entrepreneurs that is what what I try to not enforce on them but but just say listen you have all the other skills because they really do they’re amazing at delivering their product and services but sometimes they lack a little bit of of sales competence and just break it down for me see how many customers last year what was the cost of your salespeople that is the cck help them to actually realize that and then we can help you with get Gathering the data the last five or 10 years in your company and then we can see the lifetime value of every new customer and then we can start to to work in with those kpis and and um I hope both when it comes to to the development of company and also when we’re doing the acquisition the way we’re doing I hope that comes from from my and I think and I know that’s coming from my my sales background yeah yeah totally um second question Olivia has been growing at kind of like this uh you know insane rapid growth rate for the last three years what’s been the biggest challenges for you personally um as a CEO of this this this uh fast growing company I I think um I have this analogy when it comes to like you have a waterfall just falling down and the company can actually is able to hold a volume of x liter and you need to be able to not only take everything in your own bucket but actually be able to take the water and and start to delivering it to other people in in um in the organ iation so the volume that you could hold increasing all the time because uh otherwise it’s so easy that uh the sea level management they take a lot of the workload and you’re not able to actually delegate it um further down so I think I think that part has been been uh something that you need to grow into because we we’re quite big now um and and the other part and and that is my my co-founder side has he always been on my back because he knows that I that I’m quite good at when it comes to operation and and sales and Business Development so of course when you’re good at something you always want to maybe go down a little bit and and uh and be helpful but what I should do is actually to expose my vision uh and my strategy and the company to to potential uh investors that that is my my biggest biggest job right now is actually to to be able to um to um please stolder number three the shareholders that I that I started started off this this pod with so I think those two things has been the most challenging so far and and final question do you have any specific or any favorite resources whether it’s books or podcast or people that you go to to to kind of maintain your Edge whether it’s about you know Capital allocation sales operations like where do you how are you making sure that you yourself stay at like the you’re constantly upleveling but I I I I I listen to of course a lot of podcasts uh and I try to always go to different conferences especially like startup conference that’s why I’m going to slush because I I just like to understand uh everyone who is creating Revenue so I would love to go to a to a conference where only Chief Revenue officers would would meet and talk about how they actually uh increase their revenue so I tried to be on top of that but other than that I I read quite a good amount of literature uh the last one and I really fascinated this is a Danish guy called Rasmus Anan he was the sport director of um of brenford and also fulan um and um brenford is actually money baled uh soccer or or football as you say here in Europe uh and uh both with brenford and also with mitan so he’s really interesting when it comes to to to breaking down data um and right now I’m I’m I say I I’m exploring outcome bias and different examples of outcome bias so like sometimes for example the outcome can be fantastic but but I actually doing the correct thing so I I tried to also incorporate and Implement that into to Livia that are we doing the correct things because even if the outcome is is good or sometimes bad you can actually be doing a really really good job or a shitty job so looking more into details what we’re doing just to to take an example we’ve just done quite a lot of acquisition everyone is uh saying good things that we are good right now but if I look for example in our acquisition pipeline um for some some of the regions when it comes to meeting we are not doing exactly what outcome says for example and and you see that often and often you you need to you need to always remind yourself uh that that you’re not as good as people say that you are when when things is is um is going good but you’re you’re not bad as bad as uh people say when when when things are are are sloping a little bit so you need to understand and look all we doing the right thing dayto day and and the outcome bias part and examples of that also in in business life uh I’ve been uh exploring that quite quite uh quite uh a lot on the last time yeah that’s really interesting because I think it’s such a can be a real competitive advantage that kind of self-evaluation critical assessment of your decisions um I just happened to finish reading a book called How to decide by Annie Duke I think it was and she went talks about this a lot that this resulting that we judge the quality of the decisions but the quality of the outcome which as you mentioned is completely wrong but we do that as humans uh every month uh since we since we started I’ve always go through the processes like postacquisition uh pre-acquisition during acquisition uh I I sometimes do a review from the companies do we what what was your feeling about the the acquisition because if you’re not feeling good during the acquisition even when we do the duil then how can we actually be effective the the first 100 days um and how we working with all of these different steps uh in our processes and go through them every month can we do something better can we do something better and like I said never never be sa ified by by the outcome but always look at um the processes are we doing the correct thing dayto day that I think that really summarizes because when I before our conversation I was looking at you know wow they did 40 Acquisitions like Acquisitions are so hard how are they doing all of this and I think what’s been consistently coming here is that it’s well process and disciplined Focus uh and that kind of constant evaluate like trying to optimize and improve what you’re doing um and so it’s not there’s no secret sauce it’s just a lot of hard work smart people working really hard for a long time to create this this um operational excellence in inside the the the company yeah I I agree I sometimes I feel like uh you know copos just uh rolling rolling the stone uh up the hill and doing the same thing the next day but but you that is also something like you need to have progress you need to move even if you have some everyone has bad days you’re a little bit pissed off about the decision about some outcome and so on and so on but then you need to just continue there’s always there is always a solution so somewhere so you just need to continue to push that that vehicle forward um and and that’s that’s what I said that’s why it’s so important to keep on taking market shares instead of just being fat and happy because then someone else will take take your market shares I think that’s a good takeaway uh good good place and and and this this uh conversation Sebastian thank you so much for coming on it was a true pleasure uh to learn from you if people want to follow you and and Livia is it uh is LinkedIn or are you active so else yeah LinkedIn Sebastian Carlson uh liag is the the web page uh but you can always add me on on LinkedIn I accept the most just if you have a good if you have a good um in in mail a message then I then I will accept your your um friend request or your request and if you’re a company if you’re running a IT services company doing 1 to three million I you probably reach out although call me call me call yeah although your company is probably in in Livia CRM already um they are by the S of it they are um yeah thank you so much Sebastian uh best of luck with everything and um have a great rest of the day and thank you for that josa nice talking to you thank you for listening you can find all episodes of the growth pod on Spotify YouTube and apple Music podcasts

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