Ottawa-based Fully Managed snaps up Calgary IT firm

Mark Scott
Fully Managed CEO Mark Scott said the company is not done making acquisitions. Photo provided

When Ottawa-based IT and senior care technology firm Fully Managed announced last week it had landed a new $25-million financing round, CEO Mark Scott said the company planned to invest part of the cash in “strategic acquisitions across North America.”

It didn’t take him long to make good on that pledge.

Fully Managed said Monday it’s acquired Calgary-based managed service provider TWT Group in a cash-and-share deal that closed last Friday. The company would not provide further details about the transaction.

Scott told OBJ his company had been eyeing the Calgary market for years because of the large number of major corporate head offices that are clustered there ​– more than 130, as opposed to fewer than two dozen in the nation’s capital. Having staff on the ground to bend the ear of key C-suite execs in Alberta’s largest city is a major part of the growing IT firm’s strategy to boost its market share in Western Canada, Scott noted.

Founded in 2015, TWT has quickly become a major success story in its own right. The 30-person firm landed on both the Globe and Mail and Canadian Business Magazine lists of the country’s fastest-growing companies last year after increasing its revenues by nearly 800 per cent since its inception. 

TWT owner and CEO Shawn Freeman will now head up Fully Managed’s Alberta operations. Scott said Freeman’s combination of entrepreneurial acumen and people skills is hard to match.  

“Not only is he a technologist and a pretty savvy business guy, but also he’s very involved in the community there as well,” he said. “People ultimately buy from people. You still need to have that customer experience element to it, and that’s where you need great people in your business managing regions.”

Scott said TWT had been on his firm’s radar for years, adding that Fully Managed’s M&A team led by chief strategy officer Joel Abramson started putting out feelers to TWT executives about 18 months ago.

Scott said Fully Managed has proven its M&A mettle with two previous deals in the past four years that added senior care technology to its portfolio and gave it a fully staffed office on the West Coast. That experience helped clear the runway for the latest acquisition, he added.

“Typically, the companies that you want to acquire like TWT are the companies that aren’t for sale,” Scott explained. “You need to have the credibility in the industry, the experience to be able to get a person like Shawn Freeman across the table and make him feel that one plus one equals three.”

Founded in 2006, Fully Managed has about 315 employees in Canada and the U.S., with offices in Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver, Edmonton, London, Ont., Summerside, P.E.I., and now Calgary.

The company is a leader in the field of managed IT, which uses cloud-based software and remote monitoring technology to assist customers without requiring support workers to be physically on site. The firm also has a senior care division that produces touch-screen devices and mobile workstations, allowing health-care professionals to access patient records at their fingertips. 

Scott said the firm’s revenues are currently growing at nearly 50 per cent a year, with about a third of its sales coming from its IT management services aimed at small businesses and roughly another third coming from its enterprise service management division that offers IT and other services to mid-sized companies. The remainder of its revenue comes from senior-care customers such as nursing homes.

Even though Fully Managed delivers 90 per cent of its services from Canada, two-thirds of its customers are located south of the border. Scott said now that Fully Managed has a presence in most major Canadian markets, it will turn its attention to growing its headcount in the United States. 

The company does have technical and sales staff scattered throughout the U.S., but the veteran IT executive says it’s time to invest in a full-scale branch office that will serve customers in California and other southwestern states. He said the company is looking to keep growing through acquisitions, adding it’s already in “pretty serious discussions” with at least 10 potential targets.

“We’re not done by any stretch of the imagination on that side,” Scott said. “You’ll see a lot more of these types of announcements over the next couple of years.”