Coutts Scale Up Dinner

  • FWB Events

Together with our friends at Coutts we hosted a scale up dinner this week, bringing together a group of Non-Executive Directors, CEOs and investors. Our speaker was Tom O’Hara, CEO of Kick ICT.

In 2015, along with Alan Turnbull and David Chazan, Tom established Kick ICT, which has become a distinguished leader in the IT managed service industry through a blend of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Even before Kick’s inception, Tom had made significant strides in the Scottish IT sector, founding and successfully selling several companies. As the CEO of Kick, Tom has been instrumental in steering the company to quickly seize strategic market opportunities, a tactic that has led to the acquisition of nine companies to date. This dynamic approach under Tom’s leadership continues to shape Kick’s respected position within the industry. Today Kick is backed by LDC, having previously been backed by BGF.

In sharing Kick’s scale-up journey, Tom provided insights from successfully executing a buy-and-build strategy, emphasising key lessons learned:

  • Maintain positive relationships with competitors, as they could become potential M&A targets in the future.
  • Uphold a standard of being frank and fair in all dealings.
  • Master the art of deal-making by recognising both the logical and emotional aspects of each transaction, focusing on the deal’s merits rather than personal dynamics.  Be willing to walk away if the deal parameters move away from what is acceptable.
  • Acknowledge that due diligence can be time-consuming and disruptive. Ensuring all data is well-organised before initiating a deal is highly advantageous.

Tom’s speech was followed by a convivial discussion and Q&A where we heard from a wide range of prominent Scottish businesses who are delivering scale up journeys. Many thanks to Tom for speaking and to our co-hosts Coutts.

Adam Brown


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