The Partners group entered CSS Corp, a mid-tier software and testing company in June 2013. After sailing along with the existing management, the investors pressed for change and brought in Manish Tandon from Infosys in August 2016. Occupying the corner office since, Tandon has sewn up a new CSS Corp which is growing faster than ever before. In a free wheeling chat, Tandon tells TOI that by March 2018, the company will cross $150 million in revenues. Excerpts:
What was the mandate given to you by The Partners Group?
With the evolution happening in the environment, the company had to transform in sync with the needs of tomorrow. Partners Group was keen to align the company with the market expectations and drive growth. They were looking for some fresh thinking to bring the organization back on the growth track. We have started turning around and I am expecting better quarters ahead. I think that Partners group would like to give it 3 to 5 years to maximize their ROI.
What has been the progress?
The new management has been aggressively working towards creating an impact in the market. There were some underinvested areas which have been strengthened. We have expanded our service line focus to be able to deliver a broader range to our customers. We have invested heavily in our Innovation Labs to produce solutions of the future, and to enable us to drive solution-led differentiation. We have boosted our sales and marketing machinery for better engagement with our clients and prospects.
These measures are beginning to bear fruit. Our service propositions are resonating strongly in the market. For the past two quarters we have been growing sequentially at 3% q-o-q and we expect this to further improve in the next couple of quarters. That would put us at a run rate of 15% yearly growth. At the existing growth rate we plan to close at around $155 million for fiscal ending March 2018.
The amount of growth witnessed in the past three quarters is more than what happened in the past three years.
When do you think you have crossed the hump?
After I joined, the first two quarters went significantly on fire fighting and setting things in order. We have really taken off in the last two quarters and expect this trend to continue. I think the hump of inertia is behind us.
What is the realistic estimate for a CSS Corp IPO?
All PE-owned firms need to have an exit path. Some PE invested companies go through an IPO or are acquired by strategic buyers or bought over by other PE firms. When CSS Corp’s organic revenue crosses $200 million, we could potentially do an IPO. All depends on the valuation we get. We estimate to reach this point in 3 to 4 years of time.