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Riedel on hunt for new business

The founder and CEO of leading comms systems developer and supplier Riedel says he is on the look out for acquisitions.

The founder and CEO of leading comms systems developer and supplier Riedel says he is on the look out for acquisitions. “We are in a healthy position and we are in the process of looking around for companies to acquire, but we are even more interested in organic growth. We believe the potential for our existing technology and skills is still very big,” said Thomas Riedel (pictured). “Looking at our company from the outside you may feel that our success has been easy and automatic, but that’s far from the truth,” he added. “It’s a constant battle to succeed and it took quite some time to gain the attention of certain clients and then be accepted by them. Often, we start out with a small project, a proof of concept and a proof of service if you like, and when the client experiences that then we are asked to provide a little more next time and so on. That example is valid for World Cups [Riedel was the main audio and intercom supplier to HBS for South Africa 2010] and the IOC [for whom the company has been active in every Olympics since Lillehammer, 1994]. “But we still have to improve. If we stop improving what we do, then it would take less than four years to go out of business. Just because we were the biggest comms supplier to the London Olympics it doesn’t mean we will be involved in any form in Brazil 2016. I believe we will, but only if we don’t stop developing.” With revenues growing 20% in each of the last five years, supporting nearly 400 people and a presence in 11 locations in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Americas, the CEO who started the company 25 years ago, takes a backseat to daily operations to concentrate on corporate strategy. In 2001 he decided to build out the company’s global corporate network offering by acquiring v-private, founded by former Vodafone engineers; in 2007 he acquired realtime data, video and audio networking topology MediorNet from the Austrian firm of the same name; and in 2008 acquired digital audio specialist Media Numerics, developer of the realtime audio network RockNet. “Even now my guys think I dive in too much,” he says. “I try to be out with the client and to understand market requirements. Only if you are with the client can you understand what they feel about a product. I always ask them ‘what is the biggest thing stopping you from being successful?’ Is it lack of speed or limited budget? Only then can you react.” – Adrian Pennington