My Valsoft Story: Jeffrey Messud – VP & Managing Director
Jeffrey Messud, an entrepreneur by heart.
Originally from France, Jeffrey Messud joined Valsoft three and a half years ago, following over 10 years of management experience in software companies (B2B) at C-level, as well as a successful entrepreneurial career in software development. Having owned his own business that he eventually sold, he had the necessary skillset and experience to lead a portfolio of acquired software businesses for Valsoft.
As a portfolio manager, Jeffrey is responsible for overseeing a very diverse portfolio.
H&L, software at the forefront of technology in the food and beverage industry
- Managing Director: Jeffrey
- Location: Australia
- Acquired: 2019
- Vertical: Hospitality Solutions – Food & Beverage
H&L has been at the forefront of technology in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, providing a complete suite of integrated hospitality POS, workforce management, and booking solutions to over 2000 customers. Their client base is typical of large size (100+ seats), including some corporate chains with 20+ locations.
H&L’s head office is in Adelaide, Australia, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.
Making the decision to sell
When H&L approached Valsoft about selling their business in 2019, interest was immediate. Hospitality is an industry in which Valsoft has seen success and has worked with a number of talented professionals. It was a strong match.
One thing that makes H&L different from other companies in its space is its focus on hospitality professionals. It understands the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation and has developed solutions that help operators manage every aspect of their business more efficiently—from bookings through payroll to inventory management.
“It has been an exciting 32 years for H&L,” said Burt Admiraal, managing director of H&L. “We have had the pleasure of working with the hospitality industry creating meaningful solutions, assisting our client in fixing the day-to-day problems and operational pain points. We are so pleased that we have now joined Valsoft, as they are committed to further developing the brand and expanding to new markets. We will be working with the team to ensure a smooth transition and looking after the interest of our clients.”
Growth following acquisition
Before the acquisition, the company had a large customer base, but general growth was stagnant. The growth rate was about 5% over the previous year. As a result of refocusing the team and adjusting the sales processes, as well as being experts at what they do, H&L was able to shift from a stagnating business to one that grew year over year by 27%.
The Valsoft team was able to understand what needed to be done to take the business to the next level. This included setting up tools to improve the company’s products, customer service and capital allocation to boost marketing efforts.
For H&L, the goal was to expand its portfolio of hospitality clients to over 6,000 holdings and ensure H&L’s long-term prosperity and expansion outside of Australia.
Jeffrey is here today to discuss how his portfolio and the vertical software companies under his management, like H&L, have grown substantially since joining Valsoft.
Q1: How was the transition from having your own company to being part of the Valsoft corporation?
As a single owner running the company, the big difference I think within Valsoft is it’s a built-in corporation, there’s a structure behind. So, we are still able to run our business independently, but on the other hand we have as well that support that helps us to scale the business, monitor the business and make the right decisions as well.
Q2: how would you describe the career development opportunities at Valsoft?
So, since I’ve been at Valsoft, there’s always opportunity. Thankfully because we’re buying so many companies, we tend to promote internally, we’re open to give the chance to everyone and that’s a good thing. For current employees of a business when we buy, those people have been there for 10, 20 years, sometimes they can get a bit tired of what they’re doing. We’re able to relocate them to another project, another business. And today I would say the limit is the person itself.
Q3: Could you describe your portfolio?
When I joined Valsoft, I think the first company was more or less 10 people. So now with all those companies within this portfolio, we are more or less a 250, 270 people worldwide. But today, that has grown exponentially.
Currently, the portfolio I have is quite diverse. Some are in the food and beverage sector, H&L is based in Australia. InnQuest hospitality, CMS as well, a heavy system for property management for large hotel chains.
Then I have a few other businesses in automotive, ASE systems that we sell to car manufacturers, wealth management as well as lately printing. Today it’s very diverse. Nevertheless, I would say what’s important is that core understanding of the business is the same, but you also need to be able to read, and quickly understand those businesses and obviously, we’ll always need the management, core management, to exchange and to understand them.
Q4: Could you walk us through some of the tactics Valsoft has applied to improve H&L’s growth rate?
H&L is a business we acquired two and a half years ago. H&L was a very strong power solution for pubs. But as well strategy was made to develop multiple solutions around the pubs, which distracted the whole company. It’s a business that had a huge customer base, but that plateaued. The growth was more or less 5% year over year. But, by refocusing the team, making adjustments on the sales process, and being good at what we wanted to be, we were able to shift the business and more or less became a 20% year-over-year growth.
And another thing that we’re currently working on now is expanding outside of Australia. So, this company is fully based in Australia, to truly be able to export those solutions outside of their core geographic areas.
Q5: What is Valsoft’s role in helping your portfolio companies grow?
First, they challenge us every day. So, challenge the management team, challenge our numbers. Why are we taking this decision? Is it going to help the business, in the short term, or long term? They bring a playbook as well. So, when we buy a business, we deploy our own tools, Salesforce, ticketing systems, and phone systems. So, we are able to have a good understanding of what is happening in the business. We do buy businesses that do not have CRMs. We do buy businesses where there are no phone systems, and queuing phone systems where there’s no ticketing system.
Quickly in the next 30, 60 days, we’re positioned to deploy those tools and get a good picture of the business. Valsoft is able to help us to grow in a way if we want to acquire a competitor if we want to acquire a solution that has a high correlation to that business so we can end up selling a solution. So, these are the things we are trying to do, especially in the hospitality vertical. We have the PMS, but we now have the restaurant systems and we’re trying to buy several solutions around that core software to propose a full package for our customers.
Q6: What advice would you give to employees who are about to join Valsoft through acquisition?
That they need to be open to be challenged and open to doing things differently. The business has been for here for 20, 30 years. They’ve reached their maximum level of turnover and not growing as we would expect. It is potentially because the way of things is being done needs to be challenged or reviewed, fine tuned, I would say.
Every time we buy a business, we try to identify those high performers that could lead the business, get the vision of the business, those people, we will give the opportunity to potentially drive a business or a set of businesses. Limits are endless. It really depends on the person working in the business. So, it’s really based on yourself.
Q7: What advice would you give to a business owner who is considering selling to Valsoft?
Feel free to come and see how we drive our business. Feel free to jump in our offices, any business we’ve acquired, sit down, and see how we operate from your own eyes. We can show you what we’ve done, where we failed, where we succeeded.
Because we’re so invested in that success of Valsoft, and I think that’s the key, is we see it as our business and any failures or if there’s an urgency there needs to be something dealt with, we will be always hands on.
Midnight call because the server is crashing, we are there. Employees having issues on the weekend, on Saturday at midnight, we are here. We are always here. Our phone is reachable. We operate really as we were the owners of this business.
So yes, we are living for this business.
Connect with our M&A team
Our M&A experts at Valsoft are happy to talk with you if you’re considering selling your business. You can connect with them on LinkedIn: