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The first Greek unicorn emerges from the education management sector?

Byron Nikolaidis, founder and CEO of PeopleCert, company Facebook page
Image credit: Byron Nikolaidis, founder and CEO of PeopleCert, company Facebook page
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PeopleCert, a company offering assessment and certification of professional skills to organizations worldwide, hit the €1.1 billion market valuation, thus becoming the first Greek company to reach a unicorn status, according to The news follows after PeopleCert acquired AXELOS, a JV between the British government and FTV capital, for €450 million

To finance the transaction, the company issued a €300 million bond. The remaining funds were covered by FTV Capital through equity, after they acquired a minority stake (20%) in PeopleCert.

With the acquisition of AXELOS, PeopleCert is adding best practice methodologies in project, programme and portfolio management, as well as IT services to its portfolio. Last year, PeopleCert also acquired the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC), the American professional certification company serving global organisations from Amazon, to the Arizona State University and the United States Army.

In addition, PeopleCert also offers certifications for business transformation, cybersecurity and resilience, software development and testing, computer skills and languages. Overall, they serve 50K companies and 800 governments worldwide.

In a meeting with local journalists, Byron Nikolaidis, founder and CEO of the company, stressed that the acquisition will consolidate PeopleCert’s position as a world leader in project and digital services management certification. 

In terms of financial performance, the CEO expects 40% annual growth in EBITDA in the following years, with 30% from organic growth and 10% from acquisitions. This would be consistent with the growth rate in both EBITDA and revenues in the last five years – and would bring the profit figure at around €80 million in 2022.

Impact on the Greek ecosystem

Despite plans for further internationalization, the company’s headquarters and main production core will remain in Greece. Furthermore, following the acquisitions, PeopleCert will open further local positions for highly-trained science talent.

The team already counts over 700 employees, an increase from 500 at the beginning of 2021 and 300 at the beginning of 2000. Between 80-85% of employees are based in Greece. 98% of PeopleCert staff are university graduates, with 50% having Master’s and PhD degrees.

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***This is a breaking story. We have reached out for more details.***

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Antoanela is a Deputy Editor at The Recursive, where she writes about climate tech, blockchain, and other high-impact innovations in Southeast Europe. She loves complex topics and translating geek to chic. Her holy grail is telling stories that have great potential for social and environmental impact. Prior to becoming a full-time journalist, she worked in various sustainability roles.