Leadership: Chris Carter
Headquarters: 13100 W. Lisbon Road, Suite 500, Brookfield
What it does: SAP software hosting and support
Employees: 31; 11 in Brookfield
Next goal: Acquire two to three companies.
Approyo LLC founder Chris Carter learned a lot from the failure of his first SAP software company, CCI, in 2012.
After CCI lost a major contract, Carter had to put the Milwaukee-based business into bankruptcy and endure significant strain on his relationships with family and friends, some of whom had worked for the company.
“I learned several things. First of all, don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” Carter said. “Second thing I learned is I never want to go through that again… so I work 10 times harder, 20 times harder every day. The third thing I learned is you’ve got to always be selling.”
In 2013, Carter took those lessons and applied them to the formation of Approyo. And it seems to be working. Approyo recently moved from a 900-square-foot office in Muskego to a 7,800-square-foot space in Brookfield and was named to the 2018 Inc. 5000 list with three-year growth of 557 percent.
“Being named as one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States is a great honor. I’m proud of my team,” he said.
Like CCI did, Approyo consults with companies on implementing and hosting enterprise resource planning software from German company SAP. ERP software is used to manage and automate business operations and customer relations.
But unlike CCI, Approyo has spread its client base among 27 companies in various industries across the globe, including French IT services giant Atos. It specializes in a specific type of SAP system called HANA, which is poised for growth as SAP has asked its customers to upgrade by 2025 or face maintenance fee increases.
“Companies like Briggs & Stratton, Miller Brewing Co., Boeing and others, they literally use (SAP HANA) to run their entire business,” Carter said.
In 2018, Approyo’s revenue topped $5 million, and its last three years have been profitable, Carter said. It had grown to 73 employees this year, but recently eliminated its workforce in India to focus on new hires in the U.S. Approyo now has 31 employees, 11 whom work out of the new Brookfield headquarters.
“I don’t take any profits out of the company; I put it straight back into the company to grow it,” Carter said.
His next growth initiative: finding two to three companies to acquire.
“You can’t just be a small player any longer. You need to think bigger, you need to think aggressive, you need to think forward and not just day-to-day,” Carter said.
Five years down the road, he plans to sell the bigger, better version of Approyo.