The First 100 Days managing EFFISUS: A Co-CEO Journey

Founded in Vila Nova de Famalicão in 2005 by Pedro and Paulo Carvalho, Effisus has grown to develop and market innovative construction solutions, focusing on energy efficiency, building watertightness, and fire protection. With a 2023 turnover exceeding 10 million euros and a strong international presence in markets like the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Spain, Effisus is a leader in waterproofing solutions for a variety of architectural challenges. The company’s impressive project portfolio includes global landmarks such as the Apple headquarters in California and the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi.

The strategic investment from Viriato Capital, led by Miguel Costa Freire and Pablo Alvarez Guerra, aims to further Effisus’ growth, market expansion, and commitment to energy-efficient and sustainable building solutions. Effisus stands out in its niche market, boasting a diversified product range, geographical reach, and a strong brand, poised for continued success and growth.

In this insightful interview, Miguel and Pablo open up about their initial 100 days following the acquisition of Effisus. They will share their firsthand experiences and the early steps they’ve taken in their roles as the new management of the company.

Why did you decide to acquire EFFISUS, and what attracted you the most about the company?

Pablo: What we liked most is that Effisus was a different company from a typical SME in Iberia. In Effisus, we found a company with an impressive culture of collaboration and “can-do” mentality, a high performing team of professionals and, structurally, a company with a clear exposure to international markets which for us was a key point in our investment thesis.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to searchers about effectively managing the deal process?

Miguel: I think that the most important thing is to remain calmed during moments of stress (and there will be moments of stress) and be able to, while maintaining the high focus on closing the deal, keep an eye on the companies operation, try to meet people there and remember that you are buying a company to manage it, so the day after closing should always be on their minds.

Can you share the challenges you encountered in your first 100 days as CEO and the measures you took to address them?

Pablo: The main thing is above all, the need to do several things in parallel e.g.: Time sensitive company decisions, pushing business plan and at the same time get to know well the team and the business, which is a full-time job in itself. In addition to this, we had several open points and leftovers from the deal and the search operation so my big advice would be to get rid of those as soon as possible and organize things so that new CEOs can focus on the operation.

How have you merged your strategic vision with the existing corporate culture and values of EFFISUS?

Pablo: We were lucky that Effisus existing values were quite aligned with our own in several cases – the company had already implemented a “culture” function that aims at preservation of this values- We took the approach of building on those and just gradually implement new things, rather than trying to reset the company. I believe that it is not realistic to try to change a company that has been operating for some time over the course of a few weeks or months. If change is needed, it should be done with high care and taking the required time in the process.

As co-CEOs, how do you handle decision-making and collaboration? Could you share an example of a significant decision you’ve made together?

Miguel: We have divided our areas of work so that decision making is as clear as possible. For decisions that are more strategic and impact the whole company, we discuss pros and cons and try to reach consensus. Otherwise, we believe in the principle of “disagree and commit”. Consensus is not always possible and sometimes one needs to trust his / her partners when they are very convinced of a decision.

What excites you the most about leading EFFISUS?

Pablo: To me, is the challenge of building up sustainable growth in a company with an international footprint and that can cater to such a big market as construction. Doing this with a great team is a privilege.

Reflecting on your initial period at EFFISUS, what key lessons have you learned, and how will these influence your future strategies?

Miguel: Despite having the purpose of very slow gradual change, we rushed into some decisions that maybe could have been postponed. I think that taking the time for the first two – three months to learn the ropes should be the focus of a new CEO.

Looking forward, what are your primary objectives for EFFISUS, and how do you plan to achieve them?

Pablo: Our primary plan is to achieve our targets of sustainable growth. This is not only for our investor’s sake, but also for the team behind Effisus who replies on us. We also think that Effisus offers products that improve and even save people’s lives so we are also proud to take these into the world, which will be happening to a higher degree as we grow.

If you could offer one essential piece of advice to a searcher stepping into a leadership role in their newly acquired company, what would it be?

Both: Take the time in building relationships with your team, in the end, most companies are all about people and having a team that trusts you and in which you can rely is the best safety net for a CEO