Insight by ASMC

From small to bigger: Making the leap in federal contracting with minimal hiccups

“You’re either a small business, or you’re not. One day, you’re out there competing with 5,000 other companies who are similar size, similar mindset, whatever it may be. And then suddenly, one day you exceed that — whether it’s based on revenue size standard or whether it’s based on a headcount size standard. You’re suddenly competing with the five, six largest organizations in that marketplace,” said Sunny Singh, president and CEO of Aeyon.

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Segment 1

“There were a lot of small businesses. There were a lot of large businesses. There weren’t too many midtier government contractors. And that’s what I aim to achieve.”

“You’re either a small business, or you’re not. One day, you’re out there competing with 5,000 other companies who are similar size, similar mindset, whatever it may be. And then suddenly, one day you exceed that — whether it’s based on revenue size standard or whether it’s based on a headcount size standard. You’re suddenly competing with the five, six largest organizations in that marketplace,” said Sunny Singh, president and CEO of Aeyon.

Even with planned growth and a distinct strategy to make that leap up in the federal technology marketplace, it’s admittedly a shock to the system, Singh shared on the American Society of Military Comptrollers’ inaugural Business of Defense podcast on Federal News Network.

And Singh should know. Aeyon was formed in late 2021 through the merger of a small and a midsize company, Singh’s Artlin and Sehlke Consulting.

Aiming to compete with large federal IT contractors

From the start, he saw a sweet spot for midtier professional IT services companies supporting the federal government. “I felt that was something that was lacking within the industry,” Singh said during his conversation with Rich Brady, CEO at the American Society of Military Comptrollers.

“There were a lot of small businesses. There were a lot of large businesses,” he recalled. “There weren’t too many midtier government contractors. And that’s what I aim to achieve.”

Brady noted that often the challenges in growing through mergers and acquisitions come from the blending of two companies with distinct cultures and business approaches.

Singh agreed and said it’s worth taking the time to find the ideal complementary business to help make the post-merger process go smoothly. “Mergers and acquisitions don’t fail because of contracts, they don’t fail because of revenue or money or anything else,” he said. “They generally fail because of personalities and cultures.”

For that reason, Singh said he and his team at Artlin spent a lot of time investigating potential merger partners. The goal? Identify a business with a similar culture and capabilities as well as a leadership team with a similar vision.

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Segment 2

“One competitive advantage that we have is we still have that small business feel. We still are trying to touch our clients as much as we possibly can. … We’re actually trying to take actions to make sure that doesn’t change and that be our differentiator.”

A merger of two complementary federal IT businesses

Artlin and Sehlke Consulting found that in each other. “Between these two organizations, there was a heavy, heavy veteran presence. They are both very mission-focused,” Singh said, adding. “We kept saying the same things over and over, which was, ‘Hey, you know, we go above and beyond. We try to advance beyond. We try to take our employees above and beyond.’ And that’s where the name Aeyon came from.”

The jump from a company of 75 employees to one of 700 must have taken some getting used to, Brady noted.

Singh agreed that it was incredible growth — and, at times, overwhelming. The new company has focused on bonding by hosting as many all-hands events as it can while continuing to carry out its existing roster of work and vie for new business in the government.

Despite the larger employee footprint, by staying midtier, Aeyon aims to be more agile than its larger competitors and able to deliver more capabilities than smaller ones. “One competitive advantage that we have is we still have that small business feel,” Singh said. “We still are trying to touch our clients as much as we possibly can. … We’re actually trying to take actions to make sure that doesn’t change and that be our differentiator.”

Listen to the full ASMC “The Business of Defense” podcast below: