AMCS Group is the leading global supplier of software solutions & vehicle technology to the environmental & waste sectors. They provide end-to-end integrated solutions to waste management companies & the municipal market. Their integrated ERP software manages operations from route planning to customer invoicing through to onboard vehicle weighing & GPS tracking.
Jimmy Martin is co-founder and CEO of AMCS Group. For the past 10 years he has led the growth and development of the business from a technology start-up to an international company of 130 employees across Europe and the US. A graduate of the University of Limerick with a Masters in Software & Computing along with a 1st Class Honours degree in Maths & Physics from Trinity College Dublin, Jimmy worked with Analog Devices in Limerick for 10 years, where his most recent role was Head of Automation. A passionate entrepreneur, Jimmy is a regular speaker at industry events, universities and colleges. Jimmy is also a keen GAA supporter and coaches underage hurling and football.
Austin Ryan is the co founder and Business Development Director of the AMCS Group. Austin is a graduate from the University of Limerick and, prior to starting the AMCS Group, worked as a software engineer with Swedish multinational Ericsson. Heading up sales and business development for AMCS, Austin has been responsible for managing key accounts, evaluating new markets and growing business in existing markets. As part of the senior management team, Austin was involved in two rounds of raising venture capital finance as well as the integration of 3 businesses that AMCS have acquired since 2011. Austin is recently married to Sinead and cites his main hobby as GAA. Austin is a member of Ballybricken GAA club and a past player.
Founded in 2003 by Jimmy Martin and Austin Ryan in Co. Limerick, AMCS Group is now a leading global supplier of software solutions & vehicle technology to the environmental sector.
Their products & services are designed to meet the needs of the recycling and waste management industry – ranging from household and commercial collections to MRF operations management. Their modular solutions are designed to automate operations from end-to-end; from the tracking, emptying & weighing of containers through to monitoring loads at the weighbridge and producing accurate invoices. AMCS solutions are now deployed across hundreds of customer sites and their technology is installed on over 2,000 vehicles. AMCS software manages over €3B invoicing revenue for their customers on a yearly basis.
In 2010, AMCS acquired The Solutions Works, a business that focused on the development & installation of ERP systems designed specifically for the recycling and waste markets. The integration of these two businesses allowed AMCS to offer a complete range of automated products that drive improved operational efficiency into a large variety of businesses across the environmental industry.
Two further acquisitions in 2012 further expanded the Group’s product offering and market reach in Scandinavia and North America.
In 2012, AMCS Group achieved 52% growth in revenue with almost 44% of this derived organically. The Group now has over 130 employees, a high proportion dedicated to in-house product development & service delivery.
AMCS solutions support recycling and waste management companies to improve their collection services offering to Irish households and businesses. The solutions employed by AMCS customers allow them to offer the end user a range of fair pricing and payment options to choose from. The Pay by Weight and Pay As You Go options provide Irish households and businesses the incentive to increase their recycling rates thus reducing waste to landfill. AMCS solutions also optimise collection routes reducing CO² emissions.
AMCS Group has a strong presence in the Irish and UK markets and has established offices in Sweden, Norway, France and USA. The current roadmap is leading towards expansion into the Australian and Middle Eastern markets in the next year.
-ENTREPRENEURIAL INSIGHTS –
What vision prompted you to start-up your business?
We always had an interest in starting our own business and, after working in the high tech sector, Jimmy and I felt that there was potential technology that AMCS could bring to sectors that were not big users of technology and data such as the waste and recycling industry.
What were the best & worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?
One of the best pieces of advice was to listen to what your customers tell you.
Always do the right thing it will eventually get rewarded. Good business is about creating win-win situations.
The worst bit of advice is that the customer is always right.
How did you secure your first investment?
AMCS secured its first round of investment in 2006. The company drew up a detailed business plan and submitted it to the Venture Capital community in Ireland. After discussions with a number of them, the company secured funding from the Mianach BES fund and NCB.
What was your “back-to-the-wall” moment and how did you overcome it?
In 2009, the company launched a major investment to the US market. The company had received promises of major deals with one US company and built an organisation to deliver the project. Unfortunately the company only came up with some minor deals and the US market was not ready for AMCS technology due to lack of market regulation and availability of cheap landfill. We quickly identified that the approach we had in the market was wrong and we had the wrong team in place and we made the harsh but correct decision to scale back quickly.
What moment or deal would you identify as the “game changer” for the company?
Winning our first 2 customers in Ireland were game changers as they allowed us to prove the technology and get early market reference. Our first major international deal in 2009 with the multinational SITA/Suez was also a game changer for the company. Since 2009 the deal has generated almost €5M in revenue and demonstrated that AMCS could deliver technology and projects to major players in the industry. In 2012, AMCS also won a major project with Veolia UK worth over €7m. It was the first multinational to deploy the complete technology platform displacing their in-house solution.
What are the biggest challenges you face now?
Scaling the business internationally and managing the growth. This has a number of challenges such as:
- The availability of proper funding in Irish Banks
- The shortage of software and development engineers.
- Ensuring the one product and solution is deliverable internationally and understanding the needs of the various markets.
What is your greatest business achievement to date?
Being the world leader in software solutions to the waste and recycling industry. Growing the business from 2011 to 2013 by 125% and the assembly of a world class team (135 people) focused in the delivery of our solutions internationally.
What top tips would you give entrepreneurs starting out today?
Focus on a vertical that you can get to know in depth. Enter the U.K market as early as possible as the Irish market can be very limiting. Hire a strong team you can trust that have the vision to go with you.
Were there any early signs that you would eventually follow an entrepreneurial path?
Having both grown up on farms, we developed a flair for business and learnt the basics of how to do business from an early age.
Has your “Irish-ness” contributed to your success?
Yes and NO. It helped a lot in entering markets such as the USA as we naturally fit the culture and way of business. But it is also a limiting factor in such things as banking, funding and the confidence required to scale the company internationally.
When making a new hire, what key characteristics do you look for?
Passion, determination and culture fit to the industry and company.