As you all know now, on 22 October we announced that QinetiQ have agreed to replace our previous investors as the new majority shareholder in Inzpire. This is a tremendously exciting development that will take Inzpire forward into exciting new territory. It is so much more than the swap of one majority shareholder for another; it is an entirely new dawn for our business. The sun has come up on a new era: the 3rd Age of Inzpire.
The first age was the age of independent creation all those years ago – a business founded by 3 people with £300, run initially off kitchen tables and culminating in the lease of a small office in Henley Way, Lincoln. It was a hard time, there was little money, and it was a struggle just to survive. It was the best of time and it was the worst of times.
The second age was that of our original investors, who propelled us forward in several ways. We professionalised, established proper finance, commercial, and support functions and laid the foundations of many new operational areas. Quite early on, we moved to our current smart site at Landmark House. It was a time of learning, foundation laying, reputation building and cultivating UK growth. It was during this era that, troubled by what we saw in the Defence Industrial environment, we ignited Inzpire’s Revolution in Defence – a revolution of honour, integrity, trust and excellence.
The third age will be the age of our new investor, QinetiQ. It will see us take Inzpire’s Revolution in Defence and give it a big shot of adrenaline. This is just the beginning of what is possible. This is about hope, optimism, investment and growth. With the backing of a powerful investor like QinetiQ we can do so much more for our military customers than we have been able to do in the past. Going forward, Inzpire will be even more professional, even more ambitious, even more confident and even more optimistic. Watch out world, here we come!
The Inzpire magic – the secret sauce – will remain! This is because QinetiQ has worked closely with Inzpire’s management team in a frankly exemplary way to make sure that it does. This has required leadership, imagination and a willingness to do things differently. Bravo QinetiQ. If Carlsberg did investments this would be one of them. Together Inzpire and QinetiQ have created a situation that really does work: the entire Inzpire management team remains in place, the founders still own a significant slice of the business and a carefully negotiated written Charter – signed by both management teams – ensures that Inzpire’s culture, values, ethos, brand and reputation live on and continue to grow.
Inzpire will continue to run an independent operation, even competing with QinetiQ on occasion and finding new ways to support our valued military customers. Inzpire absolutely can, and absolutely will, thrive in its new 3rd Age. Both Inzpire and QinetiQ have a simply outstanding wealth of talent and are proud to be part of the same family. We are much stronger working together: two great British companies doing great things.
Inzpire was not scared of accepting a majority investment by a larger business. It was not what many observers expected but since when was Inzpire predictable? In fact, this investment has turned out to be a wonderful thing, which takes us back full circle to fruit smoothies, ice cream and banking.
Look at Innocent, the outstanding fruit smoothie company with an amazing reputation, culture and values. It is hugely admired and respected but did you know it is over 90% owned by Coca Cola? Look at Ben and Jerry’s, a values driven producer of premium ice cream founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with a very strong focus on animal welfare; it is now owned by Unilever. Look at First Direct, the UK bank that wins numerous award for excellent customer service; it is part of HSBC. Innocent, Ben and Jerry’s and First Direct have retained their excellent brands and their own particular culture, values and ethos, despite investment/ownership by a much larger business. They have retained all that is special about them but have thrived from being part of something much bigger. Indeed they would not be where they are now without external investment.
I see QinetiQ’s majority investment in Inzpire through a similar lens. A significant slice of Inzpire is actually still owned by its original founders but QinetiQ’s investment in Inzpire is an amazing opportunity for our business. It is going to help drive Inzpire forward to achieve dramatic and revolutionary progress and to keep our customers even happier.
And the magic – as highlighted in Al Whittle’s most recent blog – will remain!