Recently our borrower Alpha Omega Integration LLC, owned by Sujani Rangareddy, CEO and Gautam Ijoor, President and COO, was named one of Washington Technology’s Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies. To learn how Alpha Omega grew rapidly through an acquisition loan from Live Oak Bank, read our interview below with Gautam Ijoor.
Live Oak: What does your business do?
Gautam: Alpha Omega Integration LLC is a federal IT contracting business. We have modernized technology for the government. We are certified CMMI ML5, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 20000.
Live Oak: What was the major challenge you were facing that brought you to Live Oak Bank?
Gautam: I began working with Live Oak in December of 2015. At that time, I had one employee. Today, I have 150. We wanted to start a company and provide disruptive innovation the best way we knew how. Through an acquisition loan, we bought a company. Live Oak provided access to capital, which was critical to our growth. I have spent 20 years in the federal government working with other companies and am very passionate about the development of my employees as well as giving back to this country. Federal IT contractors believe they can succeed by doing the same thing at a lower price. I believe we provide a customer true value when we think how a service can be provided in the most efficient way. In the past, federal contractors dealt with competitive risk. Today, federal contractors deal with market risk, which also leads towards disruptive innovation.
Live Oak: How was Live Oak different than the bank relationship you previously had?
Gautam: The SBA created the 7(a) loan program to give small businesses access to capital. Several of the other banks pose unnecessary hurdles in helping small businesses navigate through the 7(a) program to access capital. Sometimes I think it’s the banks trying to get a better deal (pertaining to risk and interest). Live Oak was not like the other banks. Patrick Kelly, general manager of government contracting lending, really wanted us to succeed. We still meet with the Live Oak team, and they continue to advise us on how to succeed. We did not see the same value with other banks.
Live Oak: How did Live Oak help you grow your business?
Gautam: We continue to meet with Live Oak because they continue to make time. The meetings range from financial reviews to discussing business guidance and growth. They (Patrick and Jackie) really want us to succeed. Jackie continues to introduce me to other businesses and friends in the government. Federal contracting is a relationship game and these introductions are very helpful in plowing our way forward.
Live Oak: Had you considered acquisition financing previously?
Gautam: We previously considered acquisition financing from other banks. The transaction either required us to sell our primary residences or break our 401(k)s, and we felt we could not qualify for their loans. However, Live Oak was very different. They were flexible in their evaluation criteria. I would recommend anyone use them, and I will use them in my future transactions.
Live Oak: Was the acquisition process simple?
Gautam: The entire team was available at all hours and for multiple calls to help us complete the acquisition. Given their SBA experience, they were also helpful in introducing us to the right people to ensure other hurdles were removed. They partly made the acquisition possible. We just had to grow the company to be successful.
Live Oak: Where do you see your business in 5-10 years?
Gautam: By 2023, I see us growing into a profitable, public company with revenues over $500 million encompassing an interdependent, worldwide customer base of government and commercial entities, all inter-dependably sharing data and information. This requires us to grow both organically through winning more work and inorganically through acquisitions.
To see the full list of winners, visit Washington Technology’s website here. If you are interested in learning how an acquisition can grow your company, contact our government contracting lending team.