Ansarada (ASX:AND): Developing software for companies to protect and realise their potential in their most critical activities

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly

A global B2B SaaS company, ASX-listed Ansarada (ASX:AND) develops technology to solve the problems and frustrations caused by legacy tools, processes, and ways of thinking, enabling businesses to know, raise, and realize their potential.

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley’s vision is to help millions of businesses raise and protect their potential so they can grow sustainably and have a positive impact. Ansarada was established with just $30k in capital and now is publicly listed (ASX: AND). With more than 500,000 professionals using Ansarada’s platform, the company has been a winner of Great Place to Work Awards for 11 consecutive years. Mr Riley is passionate about leadership, simplicity, challenging the status quo, and serving those less fortunate. We spoke with him recently about the formation of the company, the unique products it offers to help customers realize their potential, and the sustained success it has seen since becoming publicly listed.

M&A deal

Starting off the back of a Mergers & Acquisitions deal, Ansarada is a growing company with a unique name, devised as a formation of the first names of the company’s four founders – CTO Andrew Slavin, CEO Sam Riley, CFO Rachel Riley, and COO Daphne Chang.

“In 2005, Rachel, my sister, was working for KPMG preparing a company to be sold,” Mr Riley explains. “Andrew was the Chief Information Officer of that company, and Daphne was the financial controller. During that process they had to get due diligence information ready, which was very stressful and they discovered all these issues in the business.”

When it came time to take the company live, all this information was disclosed to potential buyers. Back then, buyers would do due diligence in person, flying in to the location and physically looking through stacks of paper documents for the information needed.

“The advisors at the time said they should get a virtual data room, because it’s going to be quicker and cheaper, and you get a bit more control. So Andrew ended up building one on his own for that particular deal, and as the deal completed they thought there must be a business in this.”

It was at this point that Mr Riley became involved. With Andrew taking care of software engineering, and Rachel and Daphne being accountants, the group needed somebody with sales and marketing skills to round out the company.

“There was a lot of time and stress involved in these deals. There’s a lot of risk, there’s a lot on the line. So the four of us got together, and our original goal was just to make life easier for those people, save them some time, reduce some stress, give them some analytics to make a confident decision.”

The company is dedicated to getting to know clients well enough to be able to adapt to their problems and therefore help them as well as possible. After many years of doing deals it has been able to identify the gaps in the business that due diligence can illuminate.

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly
With over $1 trillion in deal value transacted on its platform since 2005, Ansarada has accumulated over fifteen years of experience on 24,000+ critical deals, helping raise and protect every company's potential

“It’s often too late to fix them in a few weeks or a month, and we see a lot of businesses fail or really get an adverse outcome. To be honest there are some investors and advisors out there that would take advantage of those gaps in the company to serve their own needs.”

Mr Riley admits this never sat well with him, and this was a driving force behind the company’s offering – to help companies become more aware and prepared to fill some of these gaps and improve day-to-day operations.

“That would make a huge difference to their potential, and that would protect them from adverse things and help them grow sustainably. So that’s where we started diving in, to governance, and risk, and compliance, because usually it’s those things that are neglected in a company’s day-to-day operations, but they’re so important.”

In addition, industry trends dictate that deals involve more risk and compliance activity, with businesses getting more complex. It’s no longer sustainable to manage this kind of information manually on spreadsheets, and that’s where Ansarada comes in.

“It’s almost like a hidden tax – if they don’t fix it today then they’re going to have to pay it later anyway. So that’s where we started building products for people to do governance, risk, and compliance, and we made a couple of acquisitions.”

Another area Ansarada’s products are used in is to help major infrastructure delivery, such as the building of airports or public rail systems, where there’s a big tender process, a lot of due diligence and questions asked, and it has to be a fair and equitable process.

“All the functionality we built for people to do that in M&A, we extended that into tendering and procurement, particularly in high-value, high-risk projects. Trillions of dollars of major infrastructure delivery runs on our platforms, which is a very fast growth area of the economy.”

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly
The company has now been ASX-listed for just over a year (ASX:AND), and has reported six times to the market

The company has a number of products in addition to the impressive Tender Platform, with the major offerings being Deal Preparation, Board Management, and a specific product to help with Risk & Compliance and ESG Management and Reporting.

“The deals product can be used to do targeted acquisitions, and the integration work. Post-merger there’s a lot of integration of companies, so we’ve got an excellent workflow tool that helps companies do the integration. If you’re raising capital, like debt-based, equity, you’re doing an IPO, you’re going to sell an asset – our deals product runs all of that.”

The board governance product is useful for keeping things organized during board meetings, as well as committees such as Audit & Risk and Renumeration, all of which can be managed through that product.

“We are very unique, there’s no one company that does all of these things on one platform. There are individual solutions within each of those categories, but what makes us unique is we’ve looked at the problem holistically.”

The company’s core market is the lower-middle market companies that are growing, but the CFO has all of these Risk & Compliance issues on their plate in addition to running all of the finance needs.

“Those companies are our overall target market, because we give them the software capability and automation that can often help them when they need it, instead of having to hire ten people to do all that work.”

The company has now been ASX-listed for just over a year (ASX:AND), and has reported six times to the market. Each time it has reported improvement in revenue, customer growth, and profitability, with the company trading at 50% revenue growth YOY.

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Ansarada CEO Sam Riley’s vision is to help millions of businesses raise and protect their potential so they can grow sustainably and have a positive impact

“We’re in a great shape. The milestones that led to it were solving customer problems, which they see as valuable, and expanding our customers into all those solutions that I spoke about. The major strategy we have is to offer everything in bitesize chunks, and we make that use initially free. So there’s no risk for the customer to use any part of our product.”

This ‘freemium’ strategy allows customers to assess the value in a product, being able to convert it into a paid customer if and when they identify value in it. This also means that every deal it is involved in, the company is exposed to a number of other organizations, making it an excellent expansion channel.

“The long term goal is we want millions of businesses operating with a high degree of confidence, and growing sustainably and having a massive impact, and we want to do that by helping them with all their governance, risk and compliance needs. We also want to bring a great ESG solution to the market.”

Being able to express Environmental Social Governance capability to the market is increasingly important for companies, and there aren’t many solutions in the space, all of which are incredibly complex. Ansarada wants to make that easy for companies.

“I really recommend everyone dive on our website,” Mr Riley concludes. “We have ansarada.com/tv, and we’ve got 2-3 minute films around our customers who tell their story in their own language. So if a lot of this work that we do is foreign to you, just check out some of those videos and you’ll hear various people’s experiences and the value we bring to them.”

With over $1 trillion in deal value transacted on its platform since 2005, Ansarada has accumulated over fifteen years of experience on 24,000+ critical deals, helping raise and protect every company’s potential. Find out more about Ansarada by visiting www.ansarada.com.