How We Got Here
Global Growth is a group of more than 100 companies that was established in 2018. Many of those companies had been in the Eli Global family of companies that began in 1991. The first company in that group launched when Greg Lindberg, then a college student, saw an unmet need in the home care market for regulatory compliance information and launched a home care newsletter.
In 1998 …
… we were 12 people working out of one big room full of folding tables and bubble Macs. We struggled mightily to meet payroll and pay our printing bill. We had holiday parties at our founder’s house. (His three roommates were invited, of course.)
We built up our products in the health care space and began to look at acquisitions. Our first acquisition was in the travel ticketing space just before it dis-intermediated. We paid almost nothing out of pocket. We agreed to pay outstanding bills and to clean out the office instead. Our founder and IT Director rented a U-Haul and did that move over the weekend. It was a terrible acquisition and taught us a lot about how not to acquire companies.
In 2002 …
… we closed our first “stretch” acquisition for $8 million, which gave us a foothold in the medical coding space.
In 2006 …
… we acquired a health care business with $4.8 million in EBITDA. We put into place new management and worked to scale our core values across business units. We used the lessons learned from six previous turn arounds. We launched more than a dozen product lines. Fourteen years later, that business has multiplied its customer base by 4 and has EBITDA of more than $74 million.
In 2007 …
… we opened our first offshore office in Faridabad India. It became a center for excellence in software development, finance, and leadership. It allowed us to buy companies under stress, cut costs, and yet invest in development at the same time. Today we have more than 2,000 employees in several cities in India.
We developed turn-around expertise. Private equity groups noticed our success and started reaching out to us when they had a business in trouble. We looked for companies that were stuck in a rut.
We developed a turn-around strategy based on our values. At acquisition we went into each company and spoke about Eli’s unique culture. We offered flexibility, meritocracy, and unlimited opportunity for growth. In exchange we demanded that each employee grow and stretch. We told them that A players would have their roles expanded and that C players needed to go. We wanted a company made only of people who were passionate about what they do.
Once we had acquired 25 companies, and had succeeded beyond even our most aggressive strategic plan, we knew the growth would continue. We had to do some real soul searching about who we were and where we wanted to be in 10 years. We abhorred bureaucracy, but how do you hold together a company of 4,000 people doing business on 5 continents without it? The answer is you don’t.
So we broke the company up into portfolios. Each portfolio follows our values, but other than that, they function independently. This contrarian approach set us up for growth.
In 2018 …
… we closed a record 32 acquisitions.
Our acquisitions saw significant growth in their first-years post acquisition. At the same time some of our portfolios had successful launches into software, longevity, and innovative communications platforms.
We were now a diverse group of more than 120 companies with holdings in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and the United States. While the portfolios operated independently, our ability to identify and hire great leaders, our robust leadership training program, and our continued commitment to our unique corporate culture ensured success across the portfolios.
In 2019 …
… we faced many adversities. We were forced to fight unjust charges against our founder from a politically-motivated insurance regulator, as well as defamatory media reports, and rapid and unforeseen changes in insurance regulation. Some of Global Growth’s insurance companies were forced into rehabilitation.
To manage these challenges consistent with our core values of “first who, then what,” we brought on new Chairman George A. Vandeman, new Chief Financial Officer, Sanjeev Kumar. Bridgett Hurley, who has worked among our companies since 1998, was named Chief Development Officer. We renamed the group Global Growth.
In 2020 …
… we expect to close $300 million in EBITDA across all of our companies.
Why We Don’t Hire Great Leaders
Global Growth doesn’t promote leaders from within: they promote themselves. We look for people who are brilliant, fearless of failure and driven to succeed. Then we give them a challenge. The best w…
What Is Global Growth?
By George A. Vandeman, Chair
When a colleague first told me about Global Growth last year, I was intrigued. Global Growth, he said, started as a newsletter company that the founder ran from his d…