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Y Soft, a Brno-based print-management solutions company which was founded in 2000 and has risen over the past 13 years to become the second largest company in the world in their market with revenue of $23,5 million (17,7 million Euro). It has just announced that it has acquired Australian firm Equitrac Systems, which has been a rival in this market and which will become known as Y Soft Australia (hat tip to Helena Tovarkova from the South-Moravian Innovation Centre (JIC) in Brno). Here is a short take on the deal and Y Soft success story.
Y Soft began as a group of entrepreneurs (including co-founder and current CEO Vaclav Muchna) who started a print-solutions business and moved to JIC from their dank offices at Masaryk University because a Japanese company enquired about a partnership and the Czechs realized that they needed more suitable digs for their project. At this point, after 13 years and considerable expansion, Y Soft has become a genuinely global company with offices in their native Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Israel, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, United States, Japan, Singapore, and now Australia.
Although they began work in 2000, they did not break through until their 6th attempt at building a business, which occurred only in 2003 when they developed the YSoft SafeQ system, which is a hardware terminal which serves as an authentication point at the printer (by ID card, PIN, etc.) and which receives all of the company’s attention, development efforts, and R&D resources. The inspiration for this business emerged from a realization over the amount of money and paper wasted by businesses. They wanted to build a system for identifying who prints and what they are printing, so they build a small box which can be attached to printers and which helps in managing jobs to cut costs. The financing of the system was completely bootstrapped.
YSoft SafeQ generates precise data about print volumes and loads, information which can then be used to track costs by users, departments, or location. YSoft SafeQ is billed as a system which directs print jobs to more economical printers, prints in black and white or duplex, and which generates reports which are available in different formats and are customizable. We are told that there are currently 7,000 YSoft SafeQ installations in 72 countries around the world. Among their current partners are leading printer companies, including Ricoh, Sharp, Toshiba, Fuji Xerox, Kyocera, and many others.
In announcing the deal, Y Soft stated that their sales revenues for the previous fiscal year exceeded $23,5 million (17,7 million Euro) and that the sales revenue of newly-acquired Equitrac Systems totaled more than $9,9 million (7,44 million Euro). Although this deal will not immediately make Y Soft the global market leader, it should allow them to better compete with the current leader, which is incidentally also named Equitrac. Y Soft is currently working on integrating the new company into their global structure.
As a final note, I asked about plans for the company and was informed that last year they established a VC fund where they dedicate approximately 10-20% of the company’s profits. They’ve made a few investments already, including an undisclosed amount in OrganizeTube, a startup we previously mentioned when they joined the Spring 2013 class at StarCube, the Brno-based accelerator.
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vita at goaleurope dot com