Unicus join forces with auticon and forms the world’s largest company where the majority of employees are on the autism spectrum. Unicus – founder and CEO, Lars Johansson-Kjellerød, joins the management team of the new company.
The agreement is an offensive move that unites two innovative, social businesses and global players in the IT industry. Both companies employ people with autism as IT consultants.
-By our marriage, we create the world’s largest autistic-majority corporation. With the focus on neurodiversity, we will continue to create unique results for our customers and an increased quality of life for our employees. The joint companies have the same DNA and vision to create a more inclusive world, and when we combine Unicus and auticon’s long experience, that is, in my opinion, the best prerequisites to successfully foster change and innovation and to create the leading Social company focusing on neurodiversity. I am looking forward to the journey ahead, says Unicus – founder and CEO, Lars Johansson-Kjellerød
The combined company will have operations in 14 countries, and expects a turnover of 50 million euros and more than 600 employees by the end of 2023. Almost 500 of the employees, more than 80 percent, in the new company will be on the autism spectrum, and we know of no company in the world that has a larger proportion.
Inclusion from exclusion
The majority of employees in Unicus and auticon have often been out of work for a long time. It is estimated that between 70-80 per cent of adults with autism are not in any form of meaningful work. This is despite the fact that many people with autism have positive characteristics that are in demand in working life, such as attention to detail, accuracy, structure and a systematic approach.
Both Unicus and auticon see these characteristics as a competitive advantage. On their own, they have also experienced that the employees gain increased self-confidence and quality of life from permanent employment.
-Unicus and auticon contribute to creating better lives for the employees, while at the same time we create results for our customers, continues the Unicus founder.
Ambitions for growth
The Norwegian investment company Ferd has been a shareholder in both companies, and is driving the merger. The purpose is to create a stronger company, which can create even greater value and an even greater social effect – both in today’s markets and in new ones.
– The combination of auticon and Unicus represents a major milestone for social impact investing. When Ferd started investing in social entrepreneurs in 2007 we had a vision that it would be possible to build and scale these organizations with their innovative solutions and that they could deliver both great social impact and strong financial performance., says owner and chairman of Ferd, Johan H. Andresen.
– Our journey with Unicus started in 2009, with a small grant to fund a pilot project, followed by an investment in auticon in 2018. Now we are witnessing the emergence of a multinational social entrepreneur, one of the very first of its kind. We are very excited and proud to support the new group in its ambitious plans going forward, says Andresen
By joining forces, auticon and Unicus increase potential for creating value for customers, employees, and society – in existing and new markets. The combination marks an important next step for our business and social mission. Our customers will get access to a broader range of IT, software and management services and a larger team with a global footprint, while our employees can continue to grow in the same supported work environment.
The Norwegian investment company Ferd will own 47.7 percent of the new company, together with key investors such as Autism Impact Fund, Ananda Impact Ventures, KOIS, Felix Porsche, Sir Richard Branson, Ferst Capital Partners and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Picture: Unicus founder Lars Johansson-Kjellerød (left) joins the management of the new, merged company together with CEO Kurt Schöffer (in the middle) and CFO Markus Weber from auticon. Photo: Andrea Pella