Serge Salager was working at a venture capital fund based in the Bahamas when he was contacted by a group of investors who owned a struggling tech company in Vancouver.
That company, OneMove Technologies, had foundered ever since going public in 2006. Salager was originally brought in to advise the firm on a takeover offer received from a company in Ontario.
“One of my conclusions was that the company was in pretty bad shape and the board would be better off by not selling now and should go through the pain of restructuring the company, taking the company private, and then maybe sell it or re-IPO it down the road,” said Salager, a winner in Business in Vancouver's 2013 Forty under 40 Awards.
The investors liked that idea – and Salager. In August 2012, they hired him as CEO of the company.
Salager set about turning the company around, a process that included refocusing the company on marketing and sales and cutting staff and expenses.
In the space of a year and a half, Salager has returned the company to profitability. The business has expanded into Alberta and plans to soon be in Ontario.
The company’s product – software for the legal profession – was high quality, said Salager. He led a rebranding effort and increased the price, among other things, without losing any customers.
Selling the company is no longer an immediate priority.
“The company is growing between 40% and 60% per year,” Salager said. “Any reasonable investor would stick with a company that is growing at such a pace.”
Over the last quarter, revenues grew by 40% and market share increased by 15%.
“There’s a lot of stress involved in restructuring the company, but once you see the results afterwards, how our company looks in the market, how our financials look … that’s fantastic,” he said.