At the end of 2020, Samir Benayad took over a company that supplies specialist high-tech electronics to a select number of clients. To arrange the financing for the takeover, he approached Xolv, as he already knew one of the partners personally. That decision turned out to be no luxury. During that first wave of the Corona crisis, the uncertainty meant banks and other lenders were not eager to proceed with financing.
Samir: “The company I took over had excellent figures and a well-filled portfolio of clients. Moreover, the company operates in a sales market that is not sensitive to economic cycles. So, there were no significant risks or obstacles for potential financiers. In short, the business case was not to be questioned. Still, the banks were reluctant because of the crippling uncertainty during that first Corona wave. Despite those difficult circumstances, Xolv managed to get the takeover financed due to their solid ethos.”
What Samir particularly appreciates in Xolv is the high degree of personal involvement. “My dedicated account manager sometimes calls without a specific reason, just to ask how the business is going and to catch up. Very considerate and a pleasant way for both parties to keep tabs on things.”
The flexibility and easy accessibility of Xolv are also crucial to Samir. “If something unexpected happens that calls for a quick response, I can always count on them. They are entrepreneurs themselves, so they understand that some situations require a quick response. I can call them day and night, and with their experience and excellent contacts in the financial world, they always come up with an adequate solution. Xolv gives me the time and space to focus on my clients and run my business. To each his own, right?”
Start-Up New Amsterdam Apparel was founded in September 2020 and holds the license for Michael Kors’ men’s line for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India. However, founder Niek op den Dries is anything but a starter in the fashion industry. He worked as a merchandiser (the pivot between design, sales, and production) at PVH, the parent company of brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. He did not have to start from scratch with this start-up as he took over an existing business.
During the start-up phase of his company, Niek talked to a fellow businessman, who said: go and talk to Xolv because they are very good at finding financial solutions. By now, I can only confirm that. Initially, Xolv helped me find a factoring company. Fred Soers was my sparring partner for this. After that, I started working with Erik Bolsius for the credit insurance.”
Long term payment
According to Niek, it is also an advantage that Xolv is well-versed in the fashion industry. Niek: “Xolv also has fashion group PVH as a client. So, they know how the fashion industry works. Factoring is particularly important for us to achieve sufficient cash flow and working capital. Our customers are large retailers in Europe, such as El Corte Inglés in Spain and Zalando in Germany. All these companies have long payment terms, usually 90 days. So factoring is no luxury in order to be able to plan and purchase collections.”
Shortly before the Corona breakout in March 2020, Niek had already decided to start his own business and wrote the business plan for New Amsterdam Apparel. When asked whether it was not very risky to start a new company in the middle of the corona crisis, Niek replies: “In fact, I think we started at exactly the right time because during such an unprecedented crisis you get a bit more leniency from all parties as the whole industry is affected. Moreover, we started with a modest number of customers, not too big, so you know you can only grow. Now that we have the Michael Kors license, we are completely ready to take off as soon as the market picks up after corona.”
Corona and opportunities
Corona has set the entire fashion market in motion. Niek: “Brand portfolios are thoroughly reviewed. Where do we find new opportunities? Brands disappear, new brands appear. People are coming up with new concepts, brands, and, therefore, new agents. As a licensee of Michael Kors, we have acquired 15 countries in an extremely short period of time. We couldn’t have done that in normal times.”
Jip and Janneke
“What I like about Xolv is their personal approach. You can call them whenever. They are very good at introducing you to a world and subject matter that is not yours. They are well seasoned financial professionals who explain to you in plain language how financial solutions work. It’s also nice that Xolv, as an independent broker, doesn’t push products but offers solutions,” says Niek.
De Bouwmeesters is a nationally operating temporary employment agency for the construction industry. They connect both employed and self-employed professionals to construction companies, who are thus assured of professionals on the construction site. At the same time, the construction worker is assured of well-paid and honest work. The Bouwmeesters takes care of the administration, payments, collective bargaining, and pension plans, plus the correct certifications. With the takeover of TMB Bouwservice B.V. in March 2021, the company is making another giant leap forward.
The Bouwmeesters temporary employment group has been in existence since 2012. Director/Owner Henry Veugelink: “After the acquisition of TMB, we have over 160 construction workers in our file for whom we mediate. As everyone knows, there is a huge shortage of construction workers, while the demand for good professionals is steadily growing. At lunchtime, I usually call out across the office: close the doors and windows, or we’ll be trampled,” adds Henry jokingly.
For working capital financing, Henry has been dealing with Xolv since August 2019: “We were able to finance the acquisition of TMB from our own resources, so we didn’t need any financing. But after the acquisition, our turnover grew considerably and thus did the need for financing. Until that time, we always approached our bank, but they apply strict conditions and are not very flexible like all banks. So, it was time for a specialized broker. Around that same time, a mailing from Xolv arrived on our mat. Their story really appealed to us, and that’s how the ball started rolling.”
Henry: “Xolv’s financial advisors are entrepreneurs just like us, so they think and act from the interests of their clients. As independent advisors, they think in terms of solutions, not in terms of selling products. The latter is too often the case with banks and insurers.” Xolv advises De Bouwmeesters not only in the area of working capital financing but also in taking out credit insurance. “After all, such credit insurance is a requirement by factoring companies and other lenders. You pay an interest rate of 6% annually, but that ensures you will have 80% of the outstanding claim in your account within one or two days. When you withdraw the amount, you still pay a bit of interest. That all is perfectly manageable, especially considering the financial risks you’re buying off.”
At the beginning of the collaboration, Henry had intensive contact with Xolv, particularly with Fred Soers. Henry: “The accessibility and personal contact are very pleasant. Fred and his colleagues react quickly and flexibly and really work alongside you. They are also very accessible: you can just call them on their cell’s even in the evening if you have a pressing question. You will never get that from a bank. Now that all the contracts have been arranged and are all up and running smoothly, our contact moments are a little less frequent. But as soon as anything happens or you have any questions, Xolv responds immediately and quickly comes up with a solution. I Sometimes just call them to catch up. You only do that if there is a real connection.”
Part of the Ecclesia Group