Aramex unit InfoFort seeks to sustain strong growth by acquiring start-ups

InfoFort, a data management provider, is planning to acquire start-ups to expand the company, which has been achieving double-digit revenue growth over the past five years, says its chief executive.

A unit of the logistics firm Aramex, InfoFort helps companies to become paperless, automating their processes, transforming their paper records into digitalised data and providing cloud-computing services, among other services.

“Instead of trying to do everything internally, we are looking at these guys and what they are doing, and we are trying to partner with them from now, acquire some of them and integrate them within our organisation and then growing their solutions more and more,” said Abed Shaheen, InfoFort’s chief executive.

Currently present in 18 countries, InfoFort is eyeing the Middle East, Africa and Asia for growth in seeking to tap the economic potential of emerging markets.

The data management business is growing as the region increasingly invests in information technology to boost productivity and profitability.

In the Middle East, IT spending is projected to reach US$214.7 billion this year, up 5.2 per cent from last year, according to a May report by the market research firm Gartner.

Business intelligence and analytics, infrastructure, data centres and the cloud are the major technology priorities of chief information officers in the region, Peter Sondergaard, Gartner’s senior vice president and global head of research, said in the report.

InfoFort began life as a document storage company in 1997. As a start-up, the firm had difficulties in securing major clients and persuading them to store valuable information with the firm. Securing financing was another issue.

But in 2006, Aramex acquired the firm from entrepreneurs led by Rabea Ataya, the founder of online job listing website, for an undisclosed sum.

After the acquisition, InfoFort started to transform itself into a technology company by digitising the paper it stored, and developing over time to provide various services and software to clients.

“If you look at the GCC, the UAE is a dynamic economy that continues to grow,” said Mr Shaheen. “The government in the UAE wants to have Dubai as a smart city and this automatically creates a market to grow in smart solutions.”

The company is growing in other locations, such as Africa, due to the need to digitise information.

“Africa is jumping in phases. They don’t need to store paper, they don’t need to back up on tapes and then move on to a different technology. They move to the most advanced technology.”

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Dania Saadi

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