Wincor Nixdorf, a Germany headquartered banking technology firm, has purchased a majority stake in Projective. The capital investment enables the project management consultancy to accelerate its “ambitious growth plans” says Projective CEO Stefan Dierckx, with in particular expansion into untapped European financial hubs and the FinTech industry earmarked as key targets. Projective maintains its independence and management structure.
Projective, founded in 2006 in Belgium, is a consulting firm that specialises in project management and advisory services to the financial services sector. From its base in Belgium the firm expanded to the Netherlands in 2009 (The Hague) and the United Kingdom in 2010 (London). The past five years have seen the business book strong growth, more than doubling its team to over 100 consultants and project managers and annual sales to around €20 million.
Last year Dierckx revealed that Projective’s partner team had set its sights on growing the firm’s ranks to over 200 professionals in the space of a few years, on the back of organic growth in existing markets and the setup of operations in untapped financial hubs such as Paris, Frankfurt or Zurich. The plans and timelines however were bolder than the independent partnerships’ capacity, and to speed up the trajectory Dierckx and the other partners have attracted a large investment from Wincor Nixdorf.
The international, Germany-origin company has acquired a majority (51%) of Projective’s shares, however, clear agreements have been made to maintain the independence of the consultancy, says Dierckx. “We will maintain our independent positioning, as well as our brand and current management”, comments the CEO. The move is positioned as a bolt-on to Wincor Nixdorf’s professional services business, and one that aligns with its strategy to move upstream into the business consulting segment.
“The partial acquisition of Projective is part of our program to accelerate the expansion of our professional services activities”, reflects Olaf Heyden, member of the Board of Directors of Wincor Nixdorf and responsible for the company’s business with software and IT services. “With Projective’s expertise and independent consulting approach, Wincor Nixdorf will add yet another building block to the design and implementation of IT solutions for its customers. This applies in particular to tailored omnichannel concepts that help banks and retail companies meet the challenges of digitalisation.”
Heyden adds that Wincor Nixdorf is pleased with the scoop, describing Projective as “the first choice for the financial services industry in the Benelux countries and the UK.”
For Projective, the deal (retroactive to January 1, 2016) marks a “new era” in the firm’s history, says Dierckx, with – if all goes according to plan – the new phase set to revolve around accelerated growth and increased recognition. Underpinning the growth plans are three pillars. Firstly, Projective will be able to tap into the customer base of Wincor Nixdorf – the 1952 founded company provides retail and retail banking hardware, software and services to clients in over 100 countries around the globe. “Working with Wincor Nixdorf clients, we can expand our services to the financial services industries in other countries.” Projective will typically be involved with “large and complex” programmes, often with a technology component. Other key focus areas include regulation (MIFID, EMIR or FATCA), roll-outs, integrations/carve-outs and change management initiatives.
Secondly, the capital investment received will be used to re-invest into the firm, across the board, from branding and the development of new propositions to recruitment and talent development. The third pillar eyes expansion into greenfield terrains, including the likes of FinTech and banking innovation. The later has, of late, rapidly propelled to the top of banking agendas, spurred by the strategic threats digital can pose. Besides spending more on innovation, financials are upping their corporate venturing activities and tying relationships with FinTech players – an industry valued at $19 billion globally according to KPMG. Dierckx says that for specialists such as Projective major opportunities are unfolding in the space, pointing at the Eggsplore network as an example*.
To accommodate the growth plans, Dierckx says Projective will, in the coming months, ramp up its recruitment drive. “We expect our new career site, combined with our other growing marketing efforts, to enable us to recruit the best talent available in Europe.” In line with the firm’s resourcing model, geared at industry and project management experience, the recruitment effort will focus mainly on “the most experienced talent in the industry.”
* Established by Jurgen Ingels, co-founder of Clear2Pay, Eggsplore is a network and coaching platform for FinTech start-ups that works together with several major banks and insurance companies, as well as external providers such as Projective. As part of the alliance, Projective facilitates cooperation and support programme execution.