Q&A with Matt Parker, CEO at Babble

Matt Parker holds more than 20 years’ experience leading organisations that deliver business enablement solutions to companies around the globe. He has been a CEO for more than a decade and since 2016 has spearheaded leading technology business, Babble.

Babble has seen tremendous growth this year, what do you credit for this expansion?

MP: Growth comes from two distinct sources: acquisitions and organic growth. The real accelerator to value creation comes when you can combine the two – growing your existing business and adding new businesses that you grow at the same rate. Our investors have helped enormously with our buy and build strategy. In order to thrive, you need an investor who is culturally aware, aligned and supportive, who has a business model that is scalable and a solid forward-thinking strategy that is always written down as a reminder. We’ve been very lucky in this regard.

However, at the heart of everything is our employees. You can’t get anywhere without a determined and passionate workforce and at Babble we’ve worked incredibly hard to nurture a workforce which delivers outstanding results and aids our growth.

Finally, as with most things in life, a little bit of luck and good timing has helped along the way too!

What do you consider to be the key components for running a successful acquisitive business?

MP: Having a team of leaders, thinkers and doers, who are all striving for the same outcome, and listen. Here at Babble, we are always receptive to advisors who help facilitate future acquisitions. We speak to a select network that bring us deals on a regular basis – looking at numerous opportunities on a weekly basis. Advisors we have used include Spectrum Corporate Finance, Knight Corporate and Evolution.

What are Babble’s aims for the future? Are there plans for further expansion?

MP: We set ourselves a “Getting to 5” objective in 2019, which defined a strict route for Babble to become a £5m EBITA business. 2020 has been all about “Getting to 10” and our next big goal is to turn Babble into a 100m revenue business. Our latest valuation of £90 million has put us well on the way to achieving this, but it doesn’t stop there! This is just the start for Babble, and I hope in the years to come we have many more milestones to be proud of.

How has COVID-19 changed the market opportunity for Babble?

MP: COVID-19 has changed the world of work dramatically, which has increased the market opportunity for Babble. We saw a huge uptick in interest and orders in March, as many customers were looking to rapidly adjust to remote working.

With many companies realising the benefits of remote working since the beginning of the pandemic, it makes sense that more business owners are starting to consider the shift to the cloud due to cyber security concerns, added convenience, and helping to streamline operating processes.

We’ve had a phenomenally successful year, and we expect this to continue long into the future as flexible working becomes the norm, rather than the exception.

What do you see as the biggest benefits of the cloud for companies that are considering the shift?

MP: The cloud gives businesses a strong, sustainable, and reliable foundation to build on. Cloud services can provide regular technology updates, ensuring that a company is working on the newest systems while helping to increase speed, efficiency, and productivity.

Not only does the cloud eliminate the need for a physical server in an office building but it also enforces the technologies needed to stay cyber-safe now that work and home life has merged. With personal phones now being used for business calls and business data stored on personal devices, cyber security has never been more important. We are currently using AI and machine learning within lots of technology that we are deploying, as being reliant on user actions and knowledge leaves businesses open to too much risk.

How do you feel that the increase in remote working will affect the UK working world?

MP: Businesses will increase investment in technology to improve business resilience, employee efficiency and customer engagement. The change in working environments will also have a huge impact on the way that business owners choose to operate their businesses.
The biggest challenge for businesses will be trying to navigate all employees’ opinions – some employees may be happy to return to the office, however others may have grown fond of remote working and won’t be happy to adjust back to office working. Businesses must be careful not to make choices they will regret in the future and guard against letting the ‘person who shouts the loudest’ make all the decisions.

Effective remote or hybrid working is also a step in the right direction when it comes to narrowing the tech skills gap, as it widens the pool of talent from which organisations can hire. The pandemic has highlighted that office-based roles can work just as well remotely, when done properly.

About Matt Parker, CEO of Babble

Matt Parker has more than 20 years’ experience leading organisations that deliver business enablement solutions to companies around the globe, and as a CEO for over 10 years, has used his entrepreneurial knowledge and executional excellence to scale technology businesses. Before joining Babble, Matt led the talent management business of StepStone from start-up to a team of over 800 people generating global revenues of more than $100m. He was part of the leadership that led the sale of StepStone to Axel Springer in 2009 and subsequently, as CEO, led an MBO backed by Hg Capital of the HCM leader, StepStone Solutions, rebranding it to Lumesse.

Following two years as CEO of VC-backed retail analytics business, Path Intelligence, while holding the Non-Exec Chair role of BGF-backed Petrotechnics, Matt then joined Babble as CEO in February 2016. His second MBO, backed by LDC, was completed in October 2017, before Matt led the cloud-based solutions company on an ambitious organic/acquisition “Buy & Build” growth strategy. Previously a £7m revenue, break even business in 2017, Babble will exit 2020 with £30m of revenues, and a clear view of how it gets this to £100m.

About Babble

Babble is a leading technology business that is reimagining how we do work. Founded in 2001, the company has transformed over 2,000 clients’ organisations through cloud-based solutions that enhance efficiency, flexibility and customer loyalty.

Since it was backed by private equity firm, LDC, in 2017, the fast-growing company has grown revenue rapidly to an annual turnover of £22m, 95% of which is recurring, and is on track to deliver on a revenue target of £100m. The business has over 10,000 cloud-based users, 10,000 mobile connections and 2,000 CCaaS seats.

Delivered through long-term client relationships, Babble offers three core solutions to businesses across the world: Babble Comms drives efficiencies through cost saving and productivity improvements; Babble Contact increases customer engagement by enabling high quality, positive, productive and ultimately more profitable conversations with customers; and Babble Cyber embeds business resilience by delivering the best cloud-based tools and security available, allowing teams to work the way they want to work.

For more information, please visit https://babble.cloud/.