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Indian company CACTUS Communications acquires Danish artificial intelligence software start-up UNSILO 

Right before the COVID-19 lockdown, CACTUS, a global market leader in scientific communications, acquired the Danish artificial intelligence start-up UNSILO. Despite the perilous timing, a strong Danish business framework helped make the process successful. 
The first 100 days of the business acquisition process are considered crucial for the long-term success of the investment. Therefore, the timing for merging UNSILO, a Denmark-based artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) company, with CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, could not have seemed worse. During the merger, Denmark was under lockdown due to the global spread of COVID-19, and all non-essential workers were recommended to work from home owing to safety concerns.   

"We had a 100-day post-merger integration plan involving multiple integration tracks — people, customer/sales, product, technology, and finance & HR. Unfortunately, the lockdown hit us while the Danish team was in transit, and most of them had to cancel their trip to our India office."
Anurag Goel Founder, CACTUS 
Anurag Goel, Founder, CACTUS
However, that did not deter either CACTUS or UNSILO. They continued the transition, moving everything online, as many have had to do this past year. And while completing the merger during the pandemic could have been extremely challenging, the pieces started to align. Invest in Denmark assisted and guided CACTUS, providing continuous inputs on Danish work culture and assisting in expectation alignment. Invest in Denmark also set up a cross-cultural session for senior leadership to bring everyone on the same page. In the end, CACTUS was surprised at how smoothly the whole operation ran. 
"In our interactions with the Danes, both pre- and post-acquisition, we realised that their culture was very similar to the culture at CACTUS. This has been particularly critical in our performance in the COVID-work-from-home period. In my opinion, the transition to this phase has been rather smooth for the CACTUS Labs team, which has techies across India and Denmark. That success is particularly due to the high degree of cultural alignment."
Anurag Goel Founder, CACTUS

Matching needs, goals and supply 

UNSILO had been a leader in text analytics, linguistics, and data science, providing AI tools and solutions for publishers, helping them grow their business and improve customer experience. One of their leading products, Classify, helped publishers package and sell content in new ways. Invest in Denmark had previously assisted UNSILO in receiving investments from another Indian company.

Suddenly, however, CACTUS approached UNSILO, looking for more than just an investment; they wanted to acquire and merge with UNSILO. CACTUS saw a clear reciprocity between their business and products and what UNSILO had to offer.   

CACTUS not only ended up acquiring UNSILO, but also had the Danish setup serve as the hub of their R&D cell, CACTUS Labs. By placing the R&D hub in Denmark, they wanted to tap into the large pool of Danish talent within the fields of AI, machine learning (ML) and NLP. With this pool that keeps expanding by the day thanks to excellent Danish universities, CACTUS saw the potential for fantastic cooperation between their Danish and Indian employees. The whole merger is a testament to the long-running Danish national AI strategy aimed at attracting foreign investments and showcasing Denmark as a frontrunner in producing exciting innovative technologies.

Defying the odds 

Despite the difficult odds due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the merger went on to be a success, demonstrating why investing in Denmark was the right decision for CACTUS. With synergy between a highly educated innovative workforce, a strong Danish business framework and an impressive work culture, quick progress could be made. Since establishing the center in Denmark, CACTUS even managed to develop and launch a new product called Paperpal that helps write, revise and improve academic texts.
"We are happy to share that we now have an integrated organization structure and uniform HR and finance processes. We have retained all our key clients and we have been able to cross-sell our products and offerings to our customers. Most importantly, we have been able to develop and launch a path-breaking product for the publishing industry. We have also retained the UNSILO brand name for all our publisher-facing tech products and solutions."
Sourav Dutta Senior VP, Strategy and Corporate Development, Cactus Communications
Sourav Dutta CACTUS Communication
Denmark means business when it comes to AI, ML and NLP. The national AI strategy, the strong focus on NLP and ethical AI at Danish universities and the long Danish history of excellence within this sector show Denmark’s clear commitment towards this goal. CACTUS and UNSILO have showcased exactly how to find the right partners and move forward with ambitious investment propositions in Denmark by succeeding and growing despite challenges. The partnership between CACTUS and UNSILO is now going from strength to strength, and they will continue to push technological and innovation boundaries through 2021. 

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