Canada-based Advantage Communications announced this week a deal to acquire a majority share in First Kontact, operating in Tijuana, Mexico, marking Advantage’s first significant entry into the Spanish-English bilingual services market.
Gregory Hough, President, and CEO at Advantage Communications, told Nearshore Americas that one of the main factors that turned First Kontact into a desirable target was the cultural similarity between the two companies. “The entire team at First Kontact is very passionate, wholly committed to the business, putting customers first, and very entrepreneurial. When we looked at that, we saw that there was great alignment,” Hough said.
He also considers the location of First Kontact headquarters to be strategically valuable. “We’ve been looking to expand into the region, and the proximity of their main site to the border of the US, not only provides easy access but most importantly it really provides a high percentage of bilingual and bicultural personnel,” Hough added. First Kontact’s site in Tijuana is just over a mile away from the US border.
The Mexican sites have a capacity for almost 1,000 seats, said Juan Gutiérrez, founder of First Kontact, The group currently supports 400 employees and expects to grow that number to 600 in the next three months.
Expanding Multilingual CX
Advantage Communications already supports French and Mandarin in its Canadian locations. The addition of Spanish-English bilingual skills is a vital part of the company’s growth strategy. “This was a very deliberate move to create a broader footprint in the Nearshore market. We want to be in a much stronger position to support bilingual and Spanish-speaking clients and their customers across the US, Mexico, Canada, and Latin America,” Hough said.
Advantage has two locations in Jamaica, in the cities of Kingston and Portmore.
Both parties declined to offer further details of the acquisition deal, other than noting that Advantage now holds a majority share and that Gutiérrez will remain “a very committed member, both as a shareholder and an active executive within the organization,” said Hough.
Gutiérrez said his team had been looking for years for a partner to scale the operations, and the arrival of Advantage turned out to be a perfect opportunity.
“We received some interest in the past and some offers, but we never had this level of cultural alignment and shared vision. Personally, when I met Gregg, from the first meeting, I was sure that this was the right partnership to grow and scale the business,” he said.
Gutiérrez’s ambitions are high: after this acquisition, he expects First Kontact to become the most influential bilingual call center in Mexico in the next three to four years. Hough’s plans include more acquisition in the near future. “We recently introduced our MVP software, which is an AI that assists agents in real-time. We’re getting ready to make another acquisition, probably in the first half of the year on a technology company, and we’re looking for other opportunities to grow in Mexico, in the Caribbean, and Latin America,” he said.
Headquartered in Atlantic Canada where it employs almost 500 people, Advantage made its first foray into the Nearshore in 2016 when it signed an agreement with Caribbean telecom operator Flow to provide contact center services from Jamaica, where it has currently employed almost 1,000 people. Founded in 1996, Advantage provides customer care and technical support. Most of its clients are telecom, consumer products, retail, banking, and subscription-based services in North America and Europe.