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‘Hard work but a smooth transition’: Kinly CEO takes us inside AVMI acquisition

Kinly CEO Robbert Bakker has spoken to Installation about what its acquisition of AVMI means for the business

Kinly CEO Robbert Bakker has spoken to Installation about the company’s high profile acquisition of AV integrator and managed services provider, AVMI.

On June 2 it was announced the Amsterdam-based video collaboration services specialist, Kinly, had acquired London-based AVMI in a move designed to bolster Kinly’s position in the AV market and establish the company as a leading provider of video collaboration services.

“Kinly has always had the ambition to be a leading AV/VS player in Europe and the world,” Kinly CEO Robbert Bakker told Installation today (June 4). “With the acquisition of AVMI we strengthened the company with 600 passionate and talented employees, strengthened the capabilities of the company and with Ireland, Dubai, India and Hongkong we added four locations to the Kinly network. So overall: a top 3 player globally with leading capabilities on AV and VC!”

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Commenting on what the deal means for AVMI staff, Bakker said: “The strong management team and talented employees have giving a very high customer satisfaction and high growth rates. Both Kinly and AVMI have been growing fast over the last year and we see plenty of opportunity to continue that. Both the customers of AVMI and Kinly have reacted very positively to the two companies joining forces. So going forward we need our talented staff to continue serving customers in the excellent way they are used to.  And we open op the opportunity to also bring the Kinly services like the Kinly Cloud and smart monitoring to AVMI customers, but is really up to the customers to make use of that.”

According to Bakker, the acquisition of AVMI will enable Kinly to capitalise on a number of major opportunities in the market, on account of its significantly expanded reach and increased staff numbers.

“From the beginning, when we formed Kinly two-and-a-half years ago, our vision was to enable customers to work better together across multiple locations,” he continued. “With AVMI joining the Kinly group, we together now have more services, staff and locations which gives the both of us an even bigger global reach. AVMI is the leader in a truly globalised enterprise service which we will also make available to the current Kinly customers. It also gives us the opportunity to provide our scalable video and software services to AVMI’s customers, creating a one-stop-shop for them to cover their collaboration technology needs.

“Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences around the globe, one of the positive effects is that it has shown people that there is an alternative way of working – video isn’t the answer to everything but it has been a lifeline for many businesses. Our business was already in a very strong growth phase before the pandemic, but the consequences of Corona will definitely encourage even more companies to ensure that they have reliable collaboration technologies in place. We believe enabling people to work effectively at a global level with a reduced environmental footprint can only be a positive move in that regard.”

Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global trade, Bakker also noted that the acquisition process was far smoother than anticipated.

“We started discussions and meetings with AVMI back in December 2019, but then as we all know the pandemic hit and eliminated all travel,” he explained. “Interestingly, we were able to continue our process despite travel bans and working from home regulations using our own technology, and the entire process has been extremely fluid. The feedback we have had from investment circles is that this is quite unique, and as a result, this is one of the larger deals actually being closed in Europe this spring.”

As for his key priorities for the Kinly following the transaction, Bakker concluded: “First and foremost to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our people and keep our customers running in this special situation. For the integration, our two businesses are of a complementary nature and our internal culture is very much the same. On that basis we believe the integration will be hard work but also a smooth transition, and we look forward to continue helping customers across the globe as one Kinly. Next to that, as we return to a new, and what we expect to be a much more video enabled normal, it will be to work with our customers to adjust to this new way of working.”