10 September 2019
While Albert Einstein never said, "the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result," he probably should have. What prompted this thought are some of my observations surrounding the recent Bravas announcement. Since we announced the merger, the most common question I’ve heard has been “This hasn’t worked in the past, why will it work this time?”
Our answer is, as most would expect, we are not doing the same thing all over again. In fact, we are doing something truly different. The most notable of those previous attempts to consolidate luxury integrators was VIA. Without the insights, guidance, and support we have received from the VIA team, among others, Bravas would have likely never materialized. Those industry leaders have been generous with their support and honest with their feedback, and we are incredibly grateful for their support. With that support, we have created a plan to do things differently. I would like to use this opportunity to share with you some of our beliefs and some of the things Bravas has already accomplished – even in just a few short weeks.
Timing Is Everything
The home technology market is not the same as it was several years ago – in fact, it’s almost unrecognizable by comparison. Demand for “smart home” products and services continues to grow at a record pace. Consolidation in our industry is much more commonplace than ever before. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Lutron acquiring Ketra, SnapAV buying Control4, or Sonance purchasing James Loudspeaker. For an integrator to succeed and grow in this changing space, it will need not just a breadth of solutions, but also significant depth of technical expertise. As we all know, the scale to achieve that depth is difficult, and organic growth is time consuming. By bringing together 15 of the country’s best Custom Integrators, we are creating a multi-faceted team with both this breadth and depth. With a shared commitment to innovation and providing the best possible customer experiences, Bravas will leverage that scale to change, and simplify, the way business is done.
Hope is not a strategy
At Bravas we didn't just hope to get this right. We have been working toward this merger for nearly four years. We have taken the time to plan, to synchronize, and to align our teams and our finances. While this deal could never have been completed without the support of our finance partner, Presidio Investments, our success is built on the strength of our customer relationships. That strength, combined with a strong financial backing, a diverse leadership team, and the best technical team in the industry, gives Bravas great start.
This didn’t happen overnight
Bravas was a united entity on multiple levels, long before the deal was announced. These are just a few reasons why:
- The owners of the original 15 companies have been part of the Bravas group for more than four years, and have been meeting weekly for more than a year to develop our vision.
- A leadership team, tasked with developing the growth and development of Bravas, has been in place for the same period of time. This team voluntarily stepped away from full-time roles in their companies to dedicate their time and expertise to the creation of Bravas.
- Early on, every Bravas company adopted the same chart of accounts and used the same revenue recognition methods in order to simplify the accounting process.
- Every Bravas company shared the same basic operational and management practices – no small feat for 15 independently owned companies.
- Every Bravas company has had access to the other companies’ financials, shared best practices, shared resources, and provided support across locations whenever called upon.
- Before the deal was closed, all of the Bravas companies migrated to the same payroll system, and jointed the same buying group
- And most impressively, as of Day 3 of the new, consolidated entity – 100% of Bravas employees have already been enrolled in the new health insurance & benefits program (one of the best in the industry, I might add).
There are many more exciting things to come for this team. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts on why this should be considered an unprecedented event, and not a repeat of any effort our industry has seen before. We have already achieved something that has never been achieved before in the CI industry - successfully attracting outside equity to scale Bravas going forward. This is not a buyout, but a true merger with invested equity and an economic engine like nothing the industry has ever witnessed. I look forward to sharing our progress with you as we grow.