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IPO of SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG

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In September 2007 the SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG, one of the most innovative producer of commercially available fuel cell solutions for applications in leisure, industry, but also the military sector, found itself in a situation that sales was not able to sufficiently pick up as fast with the production ramp up as required. In addition, the company was consequently heading into the direction of going public, and therefore it was key for SFC to reach the expected sales results. In that situation SFC had no clear understanding of how to approach it’s target markets in an efficient and structured way, and also had not enough execution power on the sales side.


The Challenge

2i international was engaged in a joint agreement by the company´s management and it’s lead investors (Buchanan Industry Technologies and 3i) in order to boost sales to deliver the expected results, and in parallel to strengthen SFC’s sales department by developing and implementing the required mechanics, processes and tools to gather the required market traction for future success.

In addition, as the sales results became more and more visible and the company performance even exceeded it’s goals, the IPO process took up speed and consumed significant management attention. In order to compensate that operational distraction of the management from the day to day business, 2i international developed and implemented an operating system which ensured the internal efficiency of SFC and aligned all activities of the company towards the IPO.

 

 

Key Highlights of the Business Value Delivered by 2i international

  • In order to get a clear view on SFC’s situation, and its strengths and weaknesses 2i international conducted a crisp analysis of SFC’s sales and marketing (performance, processes, tools, etc.)
  • As the first and most urgent measure and in order to match the company performance with the expected results, 2i developed and implemented a sales and marketing program to boost sales short term
  • In addition, 2i developed and implemented a mid- and long-term sales and marketing strategy in order to ensure the required market traction for future success
  • 2i international resumed an operational management function in sales and marketing in order to ensure the consequent implementation and execution of the newly developed strategy, processes and tools
  • Established a new sales controlling, updated the sales pipeline and drove sales execution
  • Developed and implemented an effective sales reporting enabling forecasts and transparent management by numbers with clear targets
  • To broaden SFC’s market success, 2i developed a partner strategy concept incl. corresponding Go-to-Market strategies and revenue model
  • Introduced an effective Key Account Management system in order to ensure effective and consequent follow up (and closing) of existing and new market opportunities)
  • Developed and implemented a success driven payment and bonus system for SFC’s sales and marketing group
  • In order to compensate the operational distraction of the management from the day to day business caused by the IPO process, 2i took over operational responsibility and supported the SFC executive board in day to day management tasks
  • Developed and implemented an operating system which ensured the internal efficiency of SFC and aligned all activities of the company towards the IPO. This system was spanned across the whole company and included 45 main activity paths which were identified as high priority in order to secure operational success, and which were tightly connected to clearly defined company goals
  • Managed to mobilize and to focus the key employees of SFC in order to reach the necessary company performance which is required for a successful IPO
  • Organized and hosted a series of management meetings.


Results

  • Outstanding sales development in the first nine months of 2007 – 130 percent growth: 2i international ensured and even exceeded the budgeted operative / sales results of SFC during the time of it’s assignment (3 quarters)
  • Successful IPO / market capitalization of € 250 M
  • Significant operational improvement as a result of the “operating system”
  • Europe-wide OEM and sales cooperations (e.g. with Webasto) in leisure sector form basis for further growth
  • Accessory listing with 18 recreational vehicle manufacturers
  • Structured business units “defense” and “industry”, incl. go to market strategies