Growth Equity Insights | If you want to go fast – go alone! If you want to go far – go together!
Svetlozar Dimitrov and Lora Dimitrova, founders of euShipments, are in a good position to answer the question. They founded euShipments in 2012 in Rousse, Bulgaria, initially as a small franchise of a courier company. Their business model quickly evolved to address the rapidly changing logistics and fulfillment needs of ecommerce exporters in the region. They built proprietary software, which enabled the quick and flexible integration of their ecommerce clients with multiple delivery partners.
On that basis and coupled with outstanding customer service, they quickly became the leading integrator of logistical services in Bulgaria. In 2021, they faced a dilemma, which many founders of successful companies growing at 40+% p.a. contemplate – why bother with bringing an equity investor on board if we can possibly borrow from a bank, if our valuation would arguably be higher next year, and if we are perfectly capable of making smart decisions by ourselves? Svetlozar puts it succinctly based on a famous quote: if you want to go fast – go alone! If you want to go far – go together!
Our investment thesis for companies like euShipments is based on multiple premises. The attraction of the industry, the experience of the founders and the management team, the quality of processes and operations, and many others. However, we also look for two specific considerations. One is the willingness of the founders to ‘outjump’ themselves i.e., imagine their biggest goals and then be willing to dream even bigger. And second is the possibility to achieve such growth through investment both in organic initiatives, but also by acquiring and integrating some of their competitors and partners.
Growth through M&A is not an easy feat. For start, it requires funding. Beyond funding, it requires a team with a comprehensive skill set in finance, operations, law, and psychology. It also requires a lot of discipline and persistence, as both the acquisition and the integration processes have many ups and downs.
Fast forward to June 2023 and euShipments’ organic growth stands at 130% on a year-to-date basis. In addition, euShipments acquired the Croatian Pick & Pack in 2022 and the Romanian Helpship in 2023 and is now the leading Southeast European integrator of logistical services and fulfillment services provider. Several more acquisitions are in the pipeline for 2023 and early 2024. In 2024, the company expects to have accelerated significantly and already grow 5+ times in size vs. 2021.
If you want to go far, what does together really mean? Together means expanding the team in such a way that you increase the power of joint decision-making. It means setting up good corporate governance, which includes the founders, BlackPeak, and an independent board member who brings a wealth of experience in the industry. Together means having broader, deeper and livelier conversations. Conversations about strategy, corporate governance, operational improvements, empowering employees, acquisitions, the right funding structure, the implementation of ESG standards, and giving back to society.
euShipments’ story of fast growth is only beginning. As with any story of growth, it will encounter challenges and setbacks. However, when we are together, the challenges are only stepping stones to better opportunities!