Nigel Wright launched CTS from his bedroom in 2006 with £2,000 and a laptop, selling IT services into professional services firms. After gaining some traction in the legal sector, Nigel decided in 2012 that it was time to pivot towards providing cloud-based services exclusively to this market. The company provides a secure, fully managed cloud service which is used by innovative law firms throughout the UK, with clients including Taylor Rose TTKW, Stone King, Langleys, BTO and O’Neill Patient. CTS has been named in both the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 and the Ward Hadaway Greater Manchester Fastest 50 lists, and Nigel has also been featured in The Telegraph as one of the UK’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Leaders.
Rapid growth and a drive to become number one in the market saw Nigel reach a crossroads in 2017. “It was clear we needed to make a decision about how we progressed into our next phase of growth which would involve a significant scaling of the business. One option was to continue as we were but we believed this would have taken longer and we didn’t have the experience in-house at that time,” he recalls.
“A trade sale wasn’t on the cards but private equity seemed to meet our needs which were to become number one in the market. In order to do so we realised we would need to acquire at some point, and to gain the credibility and the funding possible to achieve those M&A goals would have been very difficult without the backing of a partner like Tenzing.”
After a competitive, multi-bid process, Tenzing stood out from the rest because of both a growth mindset and personable approach.
Tenzing emerged as the right partner to take CTS on its expansion journey, with international growth firmly in Nigel’s sights: “The scale of the growth opportunity is moving towards becoming global as opposed to regional.”
Such ambitious business goals, coupled with a desire to build on his knowledge and approach as a business leader, also made working with a partner like Tenzing appealing to Nigel.
“With scaling and acquisition, there was a knowledge gap I wanted to improve, so I think private equity has certainly provided me with the opportunity to grow personally in those areas,” Nigel reflects. “There’s also a huge world of knowledge that comes with it which the average owner/manager probably isn’t exposed to.”
He acknowledges that the shift from owner/manager to selling a majority stake in the business and leaping into a new world with new parameters was “not to be underestimated”, and at times, a “psychological challenge”.
“It was a bit of a process to go through. I now have a very different view on what the business is becoming and how to make that happen and what my role in that is. That is a really big sea change from where we were previously. That’s the biggest challenge for anyone in my position,” Nigel notes. “But I’ve learned a hell of a lot, which will keep me in good stead moving forward.”
With Tenzing’s guidance, not only were a new CCO/CFO and CTO appointed, but Nigel was able to realise one of his key business goals for CTS – growth through acquisition. In November 2020, it was announced that CTS had acquired two legal specialist managed service providers, Sprout IT and City Business Solutions (CBS), fulfilling CTS’ vision of becoming the leading cloud and managed IT provider to the UK and Irish legal sectors.
Nigel credits Tenzing’s Acquisitions Director Matt Nicholson as being “instrumental” in helping complete CTS’ acquisitions.
“Having Matt as an experienced M&A director to help us with the whole process, from identification of the opportunities, to due diligence, has been really useful. Matt’s been a big asset to us during the process,” he says.
Also on the cards for CTS, powered by Tenzing, are new product launches as well as further expansion.
“Bringing some new, unique sector-specific services to market will really help differentiate us, and help drive that organic growth and international expansion,” Nigel predicts.
“We aim to bring value in two keys ways to the market; by providing the highest quality service based around a clear client-centric focus and lifetime contract value, together with a unique sector specialism around product, knowledge and advice. Those two things are what drive us as a business.”