NowVerticalGroup (NOW) has announced the completion of its acquisition of Acrotrend, a leading customer data and analytics consultancy. NOW is a global company with headquarters in Canada that specializes in big data and Vertical Intelligence (VI) software and services.
Acrotrend, with operations in the UK and India, has been working with globally recognised brands across various sectors including Reed Exhibitions (RX), The Economist Group, The Walt Disney Company, Sky Group, Informa, Nuffield Health, GSK, and Cancer Research UK to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). We spoke with Sandeep Mendiratta and Shailesh Mallya, the co-founders of Acrotrend, about their journey over the last 15 years and what the future holds for the business, its employees, and its clients as part of the NOW family.
Where it all started
Shailesh and Sandeep first met in 2003 while working at Deloitte in Mumbai.
“We knew then that our relationship was special, one based on mutual values, trust and respect, but little did we know that this was the beginning of such a great journey together,” says Sandeep.
But their journey together truly began in 2007, when Sandeep faced a decision that would impact his future, as well as the future of Shailesh and many of the now long-standing team at Acrotrend. Sandeep had a choice: either accept an attractive job offer for a prestigious role that came with significant perks, or strike out and start something new, drive industry change and become a disruptor within data and analytics.
“Working in the data and analytics space, I could see that the way things were done could be so much better. The industry was not delivering attractive ROI, and ROI was taking way too long, companies were just focusing on the tech and not delivering meaningful and actionable insights. This was, and remains, my motivation – doing it differently for our clients and ensuring that we deliver a great return on the investments our clients are making,” says Sandeep.
Sandeep then shared his idea with Shailesh.
“Shailesh was the first person who came to mind. We’d achieved some phenomenal things working together at Deloitte, and frankly, it’s not often that you come across someone with his personality, attitude, self-drive, motivation and hunger. Not only that, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. When we spoke and he shared the vision, I knew we could do great things together.” says Sandeep.
A growing, successful business
As any business founder will attest, growing a successful business is not easy. A strong relationship between partners is critical, especially if it’s going to survive and thrive over 15 years. So, how have Sandeep and Shailesh managed it?
“Letting each other make decisions and backing each other when things do not go in the right direction sets the foundation of trust. That’s exactly what we had between us,” says Shailesh.
“We have worked hard – almost to exhaustion! We’ve laughed together, changed many things, had plenty of sleepless nights and really enjoyed the journey so far. And we’re excited about the next chapter as part of the NOW family,” agrees Sandeep.
It didn’t take long for Sandeep and Shailesh to realize that Acrotrend was making a real impact and succeeding in its mission.
“Our clients told us what they liked about working with us,” says Shailesh. “And that surprised us in positive ways. Looking back, we can now see the reasons we have been able to establish long-term relationships with our clients and why we had so many referrals – most of our growth came organically from existing relationships and referrals.”
We have been fortunate to have many wonderful clients put their trust in us, plus some fantastic members in the leadership team. Pankaj, who heads all of our projects and the India operations, has been with us for over 10 years, and has helped Acrotrend build a strong backbone delivery framework to support various projects, supporting baked-in agility and quality outcomes. It’s in hiring the best talent, and, more importantly, character-based hiring, that we can deliver our promises to our clients time and again. It’s through the expertise and commitment from people like Pankaj, that Acrotrend has become a valuable business with massive potential to grow further.
Why the business works
From the beginning, Acrotrend’s model for development and growth has centred around delivering excellence across three fundamental pillars: Capabilities, Clients, and Team – each holding equal significance.
This is our secret sauce, it’s what makes Acrotrend work, and it’s why, time and again, clients work with us and go on to recommend our services.
The milestones along memory lane
Over the last 15 years, Sandeep, Shailesh and the team at Acrotrend have built many invaluable, long-lasting relationships, and in founding Acrotrend, they have created a customer-centric niche within customer data and analytics.
What started with a focus on Oracle BI has evolved over time to 100% cloud-based solutions, now working with AWS, Azure and Snowflake.
“We realised the majority of our projects deal with customer data, so to cater to the changing needs of our clients we started focusing more and more on the customer analytics space,” says Shailesh.
In the last 15 years, Acrotrend has achieved several significant milestones that the team is immensely proud of:
- Being the first consultancy to implement a cloud-based data platform for global marketing & events organisation and increasing revenue in less than 6 months
- Leading and delivering a major transformation within the UK charity sector building stronger relationships with supporters and donors
- Managing 1 billion+ activities per night for a leading pharmaceutical company strengthening their salesforce effectiveness
- Delivering a global data platform implementation in <4 months for a world-renowned media and publishing business
- Modernising data and insights platform for UK’s largest healthcare business and providing single customer view across various lines of business
- Being recognised by the Financial Times as a leading management consultancy for 4 consecutive years, most recently achieving Gold status in the rankings
“As co-founders, Shailesh and I are really proud of what we’ve all achieved. Now, we’re excited about the opportunities that come with this next chapter, becoming a part of the NOW family and the opportunities this creates for our clients, our people, and the possibility to scale our business in the future,” says Sandeep.
NOW’s VI solutions are organized by industry vertical and are built upon a foundational set of data technologies that fuse, secure, and mobilize data in a transformative and compliant way. The NOW product suite enables the creation of high-value VI solutions that are predictive in nature and drive automation specific to each high-value industry vertical.
The potential right NOW
By becoming a part of the NOW group of companies, Acrotrend clients will benefit from a broader range of data services and solutions.
Shailesh Mallya, Acrotrend CTO, acknowledges,
“We knew from the start that being a part of the NOW family would enable us to offer broader capabilities across a larger geographic footprint, to help clients solve complex problems and deliver even more value. But even we underestimated the sheer potential. For example, within the companies that form part of the wider NOW group there are some phenomenal software assets. The potential for cross-pollination and collaboration within this kind of a group is immense and the opportunities are almost endless.”
Sandeep adds “We are six weeks into the completion of the acquisition and already clients are really excited about these new opportunities that create for them a multiplier effect. It’s safe to say that every day we’re learning something new. We haven’t really even scratched the surface yet and the potential this brings for everybody is huge.”
And it’s not just the opportunities for clients that are creating ripples of excitement around the business. It’s the career development and ongoing opportunities that being a part of NOW opens up for the team at Acrotrend.
“The team will be able to work with more clients, across different industries, and also get to work with other software systems, technologies and assets. This means our Acrotrend colleagues can be at the cutting edge of developing even more compelling propositions for our clients,” says Shailesh.
The next chapter
Shailesh and Sandeep simply say: “Watch this space!” And we will!
You can read NowVertical’s announcement here.