Our founder Riccardo Donadon shares his thoughts about the year just past and our future path.
Read the complete letter here.
2018 was a year of strong progress, the best since the beginning of H-FARM and certainly the most important of the post-IPO phase.
I say this with great enthusiasm because the economic results we achieved are very significant: the production value has exceeded €50 million and for the first time we recorded a positive EBITDA, even in the face of a major speed bump, which occurred last year. In fact, the beginning of the Campus construction project, which, in our initial plans, was to be inaugurated in the fall of 2018, has been postponed for two more years with relative problems that have impacted costs, focus, energy and time, much more than initially planned.
When we were listed and presented our business project on November 13, 2015, we told you that it would take at least three years to transform the company into one of the leading players in the digital transformation services and education fields, not just within national borders. Our current size, thanks to large and small clients competing all over the world in different sectors and the total number of students enrolled in less than 3 school years, is the evidence of a correct path and of accomplishments that we have reached even earlier than initially planned.
The first area, Innovation, supports companies in the implementation of digital processes and accompanies them towards new scenarios and the adoption of new business models that will allow them to continue to be competitive in a rapidly evolving market. This area employs over 340 people, with a sales value that has exceeded €40 million, which is an increase of 15% year on year and of 80% in 2015. Our strong attraction on an international level has brought customers such as Adidas, Lufthansa, Volkswagen and big groups in the fashion world like Lvmh, Kering.
The second area is Education. Here, three areas coexist. The most developed today is definitely our H International School network: [...] today, it counts 882 children distributed across four schools in northern Italy. [...] Among our latest achievements, Apple, after having included us in September 2016 in their list of the 100 schools in the world to keep an eye on, in 2018 recognized us among the 400 “Apple Distinguished” schools, the only IB school in Italy. Never before had a school achieved this status in less than two years.
Our Education sector is not only international schools, but it is also our acclaimed University program. The agreement signed two years ago with Ca’ Foscari has allowed us to develop a degree in Digital Management, the first and only of its kind in Italy, which last year ran out of space in just a few days with a request rate of four times higher than the number of available places. The young people we are training are exceptional, curious and full of enthusiasm and will represent new lifeblood for us and for the many companies of our network.
Then we have our vocational school, a professional path on which we have important development projects: BigRock, our magical school that has introduced, alongside its computer graphics Masters programs, advanced courses in Augmented and Virtual Reality, both major emerging trends in the business world.
Finally, I would like to remind you that H-FARM is also startups.
We have an important portfolio, which is not limited in terms of market segment or nationality. Many actions were activated during the year: the total exit from Depop, which generated a capital gain of €4,6 million, with a return equal to 6 times the initial investment.
In short, in 2018 we closed the second phase of our history: H-FARM today looks to the future not only as an accelerator, but also as an aggregator of experiences and talents that supports companies and many young minds in their training path.
We want H-FARM to continue to be an inspiration for young minds who believe that our Country can make an important contribution to innovation in the world and who want to write the pages of history and where people remain dedicated to positive values for the good of humanity and for our planet.
We believe that the greatest satisfaction we can give you is a company that is not only profitable, but also works in a socially useful and authentic way, investing in the most important thing we have: the education to knowledge and the awareness of change, that do not concern only young people but everyone, whatever their role and position.
Read the complete letter here.