UBS Case Study
- Headquarters: Santa Monica, CA
- Acquisition Date: July 2020
- Vertical Market: Rental Management
- Visit Company Website
Unique Business Systems (UBS) joined the Rental Management vertical at Volaris Group in July 2020. UBS provides rental operations management software for AV, construction, and medical equipment rentals to manage sales, labor planning, repairs, and reporting. Their real-time equipment tracking, integrated labor planning and scheduling, dashboards, and maintenance and repair solution are used by companies in over 30 countries. UBS is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA and has 19 employees plus an offshore facility in Bangalore, India.
UBS was founded in 1984 by Pradeep Batra and Stan Sugimoto who worked together at a large oil company through the 80s. During their free time, Batra and Sugimoto started to write software for video rental stores for the IBM PC that was released in 1981. They saw early success in the video rental market with their product, but as the market began to change, they moved to the equipment rental space for AV and construction. UBS has been faced with significant market changes and has adapted to each new market by understanding customer needs and translating them to specific software benefits.
Over the past five years, Batra would meet with Volaris leadership over lunch to connect and discuss best practices for software businesses in the rental space while Sugimoto kept in touch with with Volaris’s Director of Business Development through phone and email conversations. These meetings continued through early 2020. Around this time, the conversations shifted towards the possibility of UBS joining Volaris Group via acquisition. With Batra ready to exit, UBS decided that Volaris Group would be the best home for their company to continue their legacy with the ability to run autonomously. UBS currently operates under the leadership of Stan Sugimoto, General Manager of UBS.
The Decision to Sell
The leaders of UBS, who shared ownership equally, were ready for a new opportunity for UBS. Batra was ready to step back from the day to day operations, but Sugimoto wanted to stay with UBS for some more time. The owners considered two other companies to acquire UBS but were not interested in losing their autonomy and legacy. On choosing an acquirer, Sugimoto says, “I don’t think either one of the other companies was that experienced with acquisitions. Because this is part of the business model for Volaris Group, it comes across as a much more organized approach to the acquisition.” Additionally, the key differentiator for UBS was that Volaris Group has never sold a company that has been acquired. This gave Batra and Sugimoto piece of mind to proceed with Volaris as the new home for their company.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the acquisition process of UBS was conducted virtually. In addition, the impact of the pandemic on the entertainment industry challenged UBS in new ways due to the elimination of in-person events. As proven by the company’s history, UBS is able to swiftly adapt and reinvent themselves in response to market demands. Upon acquisition, UBS worked with Volaris Group on a business structure that is strong and kept them prepared to make it through the financial impact of COVID-19. Having the financial backing of a large organization like Volaris Group provides great comfort to UBS’s clients and staff.
Additionally, the UBS staff are excited for professional development opportunities within the company. Sugimoto sees the potential for his employees to grow professionally within UBS and Volaris Group. He says, “It is interesting now that we’re in a remote world, our team can move up in their careers with the company without having to physically move to a new company,” he adds, “but there’s standards of how Volaris companies operate, so it’s not a totally unknown as to what your expectations will be.” The standards and best practices of Volaris include benchmarking guidelines for all companies in the group. These metrics are used to help promote collaboration and best practice sharing among all companies, regardless of vertical within Volaris Group. Sugimoto notes that many small companies most likely do not track metrics to the extent of how Volaris companies measure metrics.
When you're a small company, a lot of times metrics are the last thing you do because they take a lot of time and you don't have the time. Now we're in the environment where we all have these metrics that allow us to see more clearly what we should be doing.
Post-acquisition, Sugimoto feels that UBS is positioned for long-term success. He says, “when you have a small company, it’s run like a small business. You have a lot of people who have been in your company forever and there are a lot of ways you do things that haven’t changed in forever … I think the best part of the acquisition is that Volaris has reviewed all of our practices and moved them to an environment where we’re much more well positioned for growth.” A prime example is when UBS noticed a decline in business at the low end of the market. After discussions with other Volaris leaders, they realized that the focus should be on the higher end of the market. Sugimoto then worked with his team to discuss a new approach to that market and how to reorganize their strategy for this new audience. Aligning these goals will help UBS be more efficient in their industry and position them for success in the future.
Volaris Group is excited to have UBS as the latest addition to the Rental Management vertical. We look forward to continued growth and innovation together.