Focus: Speciality software
Key vendors: Docusign, Smartsheet, Sharegate, Delinea, TeamViewer, Miro and Tricentis
Revenue: £168m (+18%)
This globe-trotting UK software distributor has set its sights on becoming a $1bn business by 2030.
Although its most recently filed accounts show revenue hitting £142.1m in its year to 31 March 2022 (with £82.6m of the total generated by the UK), the 2023 total stood at £168m, according to numbers QBS shared with us.
It promised more M&A in 2023 after making a majority investment in Turkish VAD InfoNet (following acquisitions in France and Germany in 2019 and 2020).
“At the last count our platform has over 10,400 vendors”
Quickfire Q&A with CEO Dave Stevinson (pictured, top)
What’s an obscure fact about QBS, or you personally, most people won’t know?
QBS Stands for the initials of our founders Quin, Butterworth and Spangenthal who founded the company in early 1987 as a software publisher based our of Chiswick in West London.
Just how tough is it in the market right now?
If I had to rate it on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the toughest – I would put it as a 6. This is mainly a function of increasing economic uncertainty. Yet the right investment in software will pay dividends in these times. Our average time to close larger deals has deteriorated by several days in the last twelve months, yet despite this our net retention rate is still increasing.
What bright spots are you seeing?
Privileged access management, enterprise spend on SaaS tooling and multi-year deals are three that spring to mind.
What’s been your high point of the last 12 months?
QBS becoming certified as an Investors in People Gold Company.
Name one thing QBS does better than anyone else…
QBS offers the widest range of software publishers to the channel – at the last count our platform has over 10,400 vendors.
What’s been the biggest development or news story in UK IT distribution so far in 2023?
Either the homecoming of Alex Tatham back to Westcoast or ALSO finally entering the UK market.
Which technology area or vendor are you betting big on for H2 2023?
Generative AI will be the biggest technology area for the next few years including H2.
The analysts see distribution becoming increasingly characterised by cloud and marketplaces. Is that reflected in the evolution of your own business?
The analysts are broadly correct – and QBS has obviously been a significant net beneficiary of that shift.
Can you give us a prediction on how the distribution sector will evolve over the next 12 months?
I anticipate there will be further consolidation in the distribution sector in the next 12 months, coupled with the larger distributors focusing on reducing their cost base further as technology does a lot more of the heavy lifting.