Paolo Cappello looks at opportunity on a global scale. And it’s a good thing too, given his role as Managing Director, International at Fortra, guiding strategy and success in EMEA, LATAM, and APAC. He spends his days looking for new ways to grow the business, something he’s done since joining Fortra-acquired Tango/04 more than six years ago. He credits the company’s success, as well as his own, with the unique mix of cultural respect and ever-increasing opportunity.
From Tango/04 to Fortra
Tango/04 Computing Group was founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1991. The company developed software that helped thousands of organizations monitor IT systems and secure their data.
“I joined Tango to develop the Italian market,” Paolo says of his role as a Business Development Manager, which he began upon joining Tango in 2010. After several years, he assumed responsibility for the managed service provider (MSP) market to extend the monitoring and security offerings globally. Paolo developed that market for a year and then moved into a different position to lead the global services group.
In 2016, the owners of Tango decided to sell the business to Fortra. “The former owners invested their whole lives in the company and wanted to make sure it would be successful going forward,” Paolo says. “They thought Fortra was a great home and would give all employees opportunities.”
Tango had around 60 people at the time of the acquisition. It had the feel of a startup. “It was a big change,” Paolo remembers. “It took time to get used to the fact that the company was much bigger. It was a learning process to understand the way decisions were made and the way things happened, but it’s been amazing."
The Best of Both Worlds
Paolo saw the value for both entities. Tango could grow quickly by leveraging Fortra resources, while Fortra could establish a local presence in Southern Europe and Latin America via Tango’s strong reputation and offices in Spain and Argentina. “It was a great opportunity for Fortra to really use the organization and the knowledge of the Tango team in these regions to grow the presence of its other brands,” he says.
Local Presence, International Strength
“It’s really difficult to sell into a country where you’re not operating,” Paolo says. “You can expand into new geographies much more effectively with a local team that understands the customs.”
“There was a lot of respect from the U.S. team in understanding and accepting the differences between U.S., Spain and Argentina,” Paolo recalls. “There are differences in the way we manage relationships with people and how we do business. Fortra was ready and willing to help make sure the local culture and specificities were managed in the best way possible.”
As an example, he says business in Spain was always conducted in person prior to the pandemic. “It wasn’t something you would do on the phone or in a video conference,” he explains. “It was extremely respectful of Fortra to understand how that worked. They just said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing, and let’s see if we can also help you with a broader team.’”
Exponential Growth, Personally and Professionally
“At the time of the Tango acquisition, Fortra gave me much more responsibility, and I received a lot of support from the U.S. team,” Paolo says of his current role as Managing Director, International for Fortra. “We grew exponentially during the first three years with Fortra.” This growth also opened opportunities for employees of the Tango organization, who today lead international teams in services, research and development, support, marketing, and sales.
Paolo expanded his responsibility within other international markets once the teams in Spain and Latin America were performing well. “A year and a half ago, I got the additional responsibility of the entire EMEA market, and it’s been a great experience. We’ve achieved our goals in EMEA and LATAM.”
Paolo is also more engaged in the APAC business now and enjoys working with this highly skilled group. “The new challenge for me personally is to try to help the APAC organization keep growing,” he says. “We always need to adjust the way we’re executing to make sure everyone has an opportunity.”
A Unique Company
“There aren’t many places like Fortra,” Paolo says. “Acquiring companies and helping them be successful isn’t easy, but the team at Fortra is very talented.” He remembers his first visit with the company’s former CFO Dan Mayleben at the Minneapolis headquarters. “Dan said, ‘I know this will be a challenge. I know you guys are working a lot. But remember: You need to have fun.’”
“This is representative of the respect that the executives of our organization have for all of us, and it’s one of the pillars of the business,” Paolo says. “Of course, there’s work and a lot of effort. But we really want to make this fun, to enjoy what we’re doing. I think this really is a great place.”