Digital Transformation Agency Models Mergers and Acquisitions

Kin + Carta’s new Americas CEO says he can double growth, despite recession

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By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

December 9, 2022 | 7 min read

As the British agency looks to scale up in the US, Adam Hasemeyer believes there’s enough demand for digital transformation to see the group through economic decline.

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Adam Hasemeyer, the new CEO of Kin + Carta’s Americas business

In his own words, Adam Hasemeyer has been a “career consultant” for the last 17 years. That’s not the kind of sentence business empires are built upon, but after almost two decades, his time – and the time of the digital transformation company – has come.

Hasemeyer was appointed chief executive officer for digital experience specialists Kin + Carta last month in a move that fired the starting gun on the firm‘s ambitions in the Americas region.

As demand grows for digital experience services (e-commerce, cloud software, web design and customer experience expertise), the British company (formerly known as St Ives) wants to scale up across the pond with acquisitions and talent recruitment.

“In coming years, we’re going to be accelerating growth and becoming more profitable, but, most importantly, we’ll be bringing our clients along on that journey to help them become better stewards of the resources that they have,” he tells The Drum.

Hasemeyer joined Kin + Carta in 2019, when Spire Digital was acquired. Since then, it has latched on to and integrated a series of companies in the US as part of an effort to follow client demand and expand into the huge digital marketing sector there.

Hasemeyer himself led the takeovers of Cascade Data Labs and Octain AI, then Chicago-based e-commerce consultancy Loop was brought on in February and added a further 300 staff to Kin + Carta’s bench.

Revenue growth has been strong. Net revenue was up 48% year-on-year and turnover from the Americas – which now accounts for almost 70% of the group‘s income – rose 55% between August 2021 and July 2022. Hasemeyer says the focus now will be on expanding business with current clients and recruiting directly, rather than by acquisition. “We anticipate doubling our organic growth but 2025; we’re on track to hit that by 2024.”

Demand runway

His tenure so far at Kin + Carta and Spire might make Hasemeyer the longest-serving employee at the business. Now, he’s running the show from Boston to Bogotá. “I’m lucky. I didn’t set out 17 years ago to be in the fastest-growing industry.”

After experiencing several different eras of the enterprise software business at Spire, he now suspects that the “runway” for transformation services is set to be a long one.

With adoption of cloud software and demand for bespoke tech solutions rising, he argues that the potential clientele for transformation services is huge. “There are a lot of industries that, historically, have not adopted modern technology solutions, either because they haven’t had the resources or because they didn’t have the roadmap… so we’re in a sweet spot. You can look line-of-sight and easily project 10 years of continual growth.”

There are plenty of rivals that would like to surf the same wave, however. While he says Kin + Carta regularly competes for new business against the likes of Accenture and Deloitte, Hasemeyer points to a niche in the middle of the market between the “behemoths” and the “regional players” as his ideal target.

Recession and recruitment

Two big variables could prevent Kin + Carta from establishing that foothold. The hiring market “remains very competitive”, admits Hasemeyer, and the business has many open positions. Compared with its 2,000 staff, over at Deloitte, Accenture and the advertising groups there are tens of thousands of employees at the disposal of clients.

But, he believes, the end of recruitment woes for agencies and consultancies is likely in sight. “I’d say that in the past three to six months we’re starting to see some easing from the Covid gold rush. Everyone is investing in internal programs, there’s a recession looming and we’re starting to see layoffs and more talent in the marketplace while rates – increasing astronomically as they did – are starting to level off.”

He points out that vacancies mean plenty of opportunity for early career specialists with an eye on the sector. “We’re a growing company, our ambitions are to continue to grow and we want to find individuals who want to participate in a growth trajectory. 85% of our revenue comes from existing clients that we grow year over year. That gives us stability when bringing people into the firm; they’re not going to be on new projects very often, but they’ll be learning.“

A recession – already a matter of fact in the UK and likely soon in the States – is the other cloud on the horizon. Will client budgets set aside for e-commerce and digital fix-em-ups survive intact?

Hasemeyer thinks so. He notes that the bulk of Kin + Carta’s current roster belongs to relatively copper-bottomed industries that should weather a recession well – financial services and agriculture – and while retail clients are at greater risk, there’s demand in that sphere for help modernizing their businesses. “We’ve actually seen those accounts grow,“ he says.

“The responsibility for a firm like Kin + Carta is to ensure that we understand how to adopt those technologies, bring them to our clients and enable their organizations to ultimately bring them on. That gives me confidence that we’re in a growing space that’s going to continue to grow.”

Digital Transformation Agency Models Mergers and Acquisitions

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