Why the First 25 Years of Moravia Were Just a Great Beginning

Katerina Janku, Moravia

As you may have seen earlier this week, we were delighted to announce that Clarion Capital Partners, LLC has acquired a majority interest in Moravia. After 25 years of guiding the company in various positions, I will remain a minority but significant shareholder in the new Moravia and will continue to work closely with Clarion on setting the company’s direction. Here’s why we are taking this step and what you can expect from Moravia.

In 2014, we made history in the translation and localization industry by becoming the first company to achieve revenues of more than US$100 million by organic growth alone. Year-on-year we grew by 50 percent. We have achieved that solely by winning new customers and delighting our existing ones.

But revenue is not an accomplishment on its own. That’s merely a reflection of the value we provide to the increasing number of companies that understand the importance of sound international strategy.

Why This Investment?

I believe Moravia has incredible potential. The company was founded by my parents — Eva and Rudolf Forstinger — in 1990 from zero, and I have been actively involved in managing the company in multiple positions for almost 25 years. I know the company from many perspectives: I started as a translator and proofreader (from English and Hungarian), I worked as a project manager, I was Managing Director and later CEO for multiple years. After appointing Tomas Kratochvil as CEO in 2010, almost exactly 5 years ago today, I continued to guide the company as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors.

During the past 25 years, we overcame many challenges. We developed from a single-language provider to be a global one. We successfully navigated a few global financial crises, and remained profitable every year doing so. We opened multiple offices, each started and built from scratch. We hired every single employee of the company — over 250 joined Moravia during 2014 alone. We trained every single one in the Moravia way so that we could provide a consistent experience for our clients.

At the same time, the new Moravians over the years have brought new ideas and enriching experiences. They have challenged the way we do things and ultimately made us a better company. We have won some of the most iconic global brands as our clients. In the process, we proved wrong all those who believed “this can’t be done,” to become a recognized industry leader.

For Moravia to proceed to the next stage of our development I feel we need a new set of skills, new institutional experience, and new perspectives. I believe Clarion brings us just that. Clarion has strong experience working with companies at the size and stage that Moravia has reached — helping them transition from founder/entrepreneur owners to become better structured and ready for the next phase of growth.

Cultural Fit

Clarion is a New York-based private equity fund that makes investments in middle-market companies that are leaders in their industries. Clarion has a strong track record of successful long-term investments in growing companies, particularly in the business services industry. Clarion and its professionals currently own or have owned in the past businesses like Imax Corporation, Lenox Corporation, and A.T. Cross Company that now operate all over the world.

With Clarion we feel we have the right partner to help Moravia get to the next stage. Its values are a perfect match with ours. The firm takes pride in hard work, high ethical standards, and a collaborative approach. Clarion invests in companies with management teams and employees whose character and work culture are conducive to long-term partnership.

Why Clarion Chose Moravia

Clarion made the decision to invest in Moravia based on the belief that the management’s current strategic direction is the right one. Investment in Moravia is both an endorsement of the senior management’s stated plan for the business, as well as a validation of the successful execution of that plan — attributable to all of Moravia’s employees.

The long-term goal for the business is to continue to grow the number and depth of customer relationships — in localization but also in adjacent managed services, like technology outsourcing and marketing services. As such, Clarion brings new opportunities for the staff and the whole company, in addition to strong business leadership experience.

I have known Clarion for years. I know they see great opportunities in the language services industry. When considering to enter the sector, Clarion looked at several other providers but selected Moravia precisely because of the fit with our values and their belief in our growth potential.

From my perspective, this is also great news for the industry at large — languages and multilingual content are increasingly being recognized as essential for any successful international strategy. I see the mindset has changed. Globalization is no longer an afterthought. Companies — whether global explorers or established global brands — increasingly develop products and services with international markets in mind from the start. The opportunities for anyone in the language services market are there.

What’s Next

The first 25 years were an exciting journey for us at Moravia, as we moved from a startup — started in a rented apartment in downtown Brno back in 1990 — to a $100 million company with over 850 employees, global coverage, and a follow-the-sun production model. But I feel this was just the beginning. I believe we’ll have more of these announcements to share moving forward. We’re working on some awesome new services, which we’ll roll out first to our existing customers and then to others. Keep visiting us here as we continue to expand our solutions and our commitment to changing the language services world.