Jul 20 • 46M

The Unmakers: Troy Townsend and Jack Byrne of Zitcha - turning retailers into publishers

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Insights into the media and marketing industry from an Australian perspective, from the founder of Mumbrella and the author of the best selling book Media Unmade, Tim Burrowes
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In today’s episode of The Unmakers, we talk to Troy Townsend and Jack Byrne, co-founders of Zitcha.

Zitcha thinks of itself as a demand side platform for retailers, allowing them to use their owned assets to become publishers of brand messages.

The duo have a strong media pedigree - Troy is a former boss of digital agency Tiger Pistol and Jack is managing director of independent media agency Hatched.

In the week that Woolworths’ Cartology announced the $150m acquisition of Shopper Media, we discussed the fast growing retail media space, and the growing influence of Amazon.

I also asked whether Zitcha is a friend or a threat to media agencies.

Over the coming months they plan to take Zitcha global. The duo revealed Zitcha is currently in the final stages of a seed round capital raising, with Troy revealing how potential investors can get in touch.

Townsend, left, and Byrne are connecting retailers to brands

Transcript:

Tim Burrowes:

In today's episode of the Unmakers, I talked to Jack Byrne and Troy Townsend, the co-founders of Zitcha. Zitcha thinks of itself as a DSP, or demand side platform, for the retail world. It helps retailers turn their own assets, including online and in store, into publishing platforms, by connecting them to brand messages. Troy, the CEO of Zitcha, was previously boss of digital platform Tiger Pistol before selling the business. Jack's day job is as managing director of independent media agency Hatched. Having got off the ground in Australia, Zitcha is now doing a seed stage capital raising to go global. To begin with, I asked Troy how the two of them came to be working together.

Troy Townsend:

It's a really good question. It's happened over quite a few years, Tim. So obviously Jack has built his media business, Hatched, over the last 10 years. And over the last 10 years, I've built a business called Tiger Pistol. And through that journey, we've had shared clients and got closer through clients and we've sort of started to see the retail media space sort of start to come into play. And both of us looking at how this space could affect our businesses. And about three years ago, I sold out of Tiger Pistol and me and Jack sort of started to work through where there was some opportunities. So it's been a long journey.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, look, it's worth mentioning Tiger Pistol, because that was one of the, I guess the big names in the first digital wave. What was the Tiger Pistol story briefly for people who don't know?

Troy Townsend:

So Tiger Pistol was a platform that basically helped automate the process of building Facebook ads for big channel partners globally. So we sort of took the journey of working really closely with Facebook or as they're called Meta now and basically helped them grow their long tail, big channel partners, automating the process of ads for SMBs. So we sold out that business about three years ago. So we sold it to private equity in the US.

Tim Burrowes:

So Jack, you have had sort of the parallel journey and with Hatched as well. What brought you to this point?

Jack Byrne:

Well, obviously what I've seen over the last 10 years and the environmental issues such as the proliferation of data and what I've seen in the programmatic perspective, in the ad tech and some of the dirty tactics that comes with that as well, there's also, you've seen the development of the Cartology and the first party data is ultimately where it's closest to the customer. And as a media agency, we spend all of our time and effort getting as close to the customer as we can. When retail media started becoming a thing, and it's always been a thing. It's probably important to note that retail media in its form, whether it's a shelf warbler or decals on the floor, this is not new, but certainly targeting that customer and closing the loop from a media perspective all the way through to the point of sale is something that's always been of interest mainly because we've had clients, whether it's retailers themselves, or suppliers of those retailers wanting to drive incremental sales, then that's always been our job.

Jack Byrne:

So it's always been keen for us because at Hatched, we've always wanted to act as agents of positive change is kind of our vision of the business. And this is something that really came out of that. And a few conversations with Troy and I've always enjoyed working with Troy, but also really admired the way his mind works and the way that the world's working and the technology and whatnot. And it's something that we came together and not to say it wasn't over a couple of beers, but it was over a couple of beers and a few more. And it's grown since.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, we'll get into the product in a moment. So, Zitcha officially launched back in June. It has its roots in another product called TP Collab. So what was the evolution from there to here then, Troy?

Troy Townsend:

When we sold Tiger Pistol three years ago, we sold our technology platform. But over the 11 years of building Tiger Pistol, we also built quite a large service business. And in the exit of focusing on one piece of technology, we incubated this product in TP and we called it TP Collab. And we sort of had a really good bit of time to relook at the market. Moving out of ad tech. Ad tech in its entirety is totally shifting, the landscape is shifting. Obviously with the environmental impacts of privacy legislation and deprecation of cookies, we sort of had the beauty of being able to look at a fresh sheet of paper and see where it was going. And this really came out of that.

Troy Townsend:

And we obviously done a lot of work with Facebook through the journey. We've done a lot of work with Google through the journey. And this space was something that they're both looking at quite closely, obviously, because it's directly connected to a lot of first party data. And so we incubated for the first 12 months, we just built and we sort of tried to build a product market fit. We were lucky enough to get a couple of early adopting retailers as alpha partners and really got into the cycle of them trying to work through this space and work out what they need to do in this space to be successful. And then we uncovered something that was even bigger than I first thought.

Troy Townsend:

And with the likely changes that happened to iOS 14 and the amount of signal data that the big platforms like Meta were receiving, it sort of just started to really put a fire under this space. And obviously we had competitors in the space that were only really focused on owned assets for retailers like Citrus getting acquired. There was quite a few environmental factors that really blew up the opportunity as we were incubating it within that TP environment.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, we'll come on to the sort of the partners in a moment and the competitors as well. Let's drill down a bit now. Let's actually talk about, I guess the key thing is, what problem are you actually trying to solve?

Troy Townsend:

So the problem that we're trying to solve is we're trying to... Basically with the changing landscape of media, brands need to be able to buy media that they can basically, their performance media that they can track conversion through. And you've got the likes of Amazon who globally made 31 billion as an ad platform last year, basically off the back of being able to track transactions and conversions. So they're a closed looped media business, which is absolutely valuable. And it's something a lot of the major publish publishers actually can't do. And you sort of start to see that and you start to see the evolution of some really big retailers, particularly you see it here with Cartology and Kohl's and Chemist Warehouse, but you also see in the US with the likes of Walmart and Kroger and Albertsons that are building their own retail media networks and making some serious headway to be able to compete in this media space with the likes of Amazon. So I think when we look at what are we actually solving in this space is we're making it super easy for retailers to turn into intermediate publishers, number one. That's the critical mission that we're on. And we're also making it really easy for brands to access inventory that they have never been able to access in the past.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, which is a great moment then I suppose to firstly, maybe give us some examples where you're allowed to talk about them, about some retail brands and supplies you've got on board. And maybe just give me a practical example or two of how in this new environment a message might reach a consumer in a way it wouldn't have done before.

Troy Townsend:

Yeah, well I think, I mean, we're moving into the age of real personalization. And I mean, I've talked about personalization through the last 10 years of my journey, but this is really, really exciting, number one, for a brand. Being able to access a cohort of users that buy their product or similar products of theirs through retailers to be able to directly come in contact with them.

Tim Burrowes:

So give me a sort of example of the sort of brand you're thinking of.

Troy Townsend:

Yeah. So, so let's talk about Diageo as an example. So Diageo have spent money with their retailers. We can look at the likes of, let's use Thirsty Camel as an example. Now they've got trade contracts in place with those guys. They've typically bought media through traditional realms, like they've bought in store wobblers, they've bought catalog. Really catalog was sort of 1.0 of retail media. And now what you're seeing is this transition to them starting to buy digital assets. So they're actually going on and buying keywords like they would on Google on Thirsty Camel's website, which in turn then when someone comes in to type in a certain craft beer, for example, that craft beer is giving them first slot on the products that actually surface within their transition to buy. So really what we're starting to see is that brands are being able to access inventory as close to the point of purchase than they've ever been able to access in the past, which is obviously really valuable for the brand.

Troy Townsend:

And then you've got the retailers that already have those assets in place. They already have the ability to search on their website. They have the ability to surface products, but they're actually giving the retail the ability to monetize that. So they can not only drive a better customer experience, but they can also start to create a new revenue stream to be able to compete against the likes of an Amazon, for example. So I think that's the really exciting bit of this space is it's a win, win, win. So it's a win for the brand because the brand actually gets to advertise to the specific audience at the point of purchase and be able to track to conversion. Number two for the retailer, it's super exciting because they now have the ability to really change the media landscape and change the way they do business to be able to compete against an Amazon of the world that they haven't been able to compete against in the past.

Troy Townsend:

And three for the consumer, I think this space really drives personalization. So when the consumer is browsing on a website or getting an EDM or looking at content across Facebook or across Google, they're getting a purely personalized experience to deliver an ad that is highly optimized for them as an individual, which I think the likes of Facebook and Google have done this really, really well over the last 10 years. And I think this is going to be the next iteration of personalization that comes through through the media landscape.

Jack Byrne:

Just to add to that point, I think there's another win in there. Obviously we spoke about the win from a brand or win from the consumer, win from the retailer, but there's also a win for the media and the platforms that particularly for Zitcha that we've identified that from a media supplier or a wall garden and a retailer, we consider as a publisher, but there's the ability to transact. And that transaction, the ease to transact within the ecosystem's really important. So ultimately if you can tie that transaction to an actual physical transaction in store or online, then it's more accountable media and more attribution towards media, and that's better for everyone as well.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, you both touched on that accountability or sort of measurement point, which is probably just worth exploring a bit more. So what data or information or signals are you able to give a brand that wouldn't have been possible before?

Troy Townsend:

Number one, the signals that they're being able to see is they're going to be able to see the signals from the individual retailers customers. So most brands that don't have a direct to customer approach have never really been able to use any of the real data of understanding the retailers customers, but this, number one, gives them access to be able to use that, which in turn gives them better opportunity to spend, number one, across the retailers, what we classify their own assets. So the assets that they own internally. So website, email, in store screens, all of these things that they haven't ever had access to in the past. But it also gives them access to utilize those audiences across Meta. So Facebook and Instagram, Google YouTube, Pinterest, Snap, TikTok. So think about all these wall gardens that are really built off the back of having strong cohorts and strong first party to be able to get the best out of them. These brands now have access to be able to utilize that through their retailers.

Tim Burrowes:

And the brands and presumably retailers as well are obviously very sensitive about their own data. How do you make them comfortable that you are also protecting their data at the same time?

Troy Townsend:

Yeah, I mean, I think that's a huge one. I think a lot of retailers at the moment are sort of working around, like how do they build a retail network? How do they make sure that they're protecting their first party and the data that they have to not only differentiate them to other retailers, but also to make sure that they've got maximum value and they've got maximum control. So, we built Zitcha with a view of really building for the retailer, making sure that we're helping them structure their data, but we're not actually touching the data that they're sitting on. And also the brands are not able to take their data and use it for other things. It's all very structured and connected in a way that they can utilize the data as they build their ad units, but there's no sharing of data outside of that.

Troy Townsend:

So, I think a big part that we're seeing now is retailers want to be in control of and feel really comfortable and confident in this space. And that's one thing that we've made sure is happening is to make sure that they're in full control of the data that they have and who they share that data with as well. So that can be very specific on certain cohorts they have to certain brands that get to utilize that. Not everyone gets to utilize that. Really sort of helping them sort of really control not only the surfaces that they want to sell, but also how they utilize the data that connects with those surfaces.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, Jack, let me bring you in a bit as well. Maybe let's just talk a bit of an overview of the sector itself, sort of retail media. One of the kind of announcements we've seen shortly before we record this is Woolworth's or Cartology, which is their kind of retail shopper arm, buying shopper media for a headline of $150 million. So there's a lot going on in the sector generally. What do you see as the key developments? What's been driving this market in the last few years?

Jack Byrne:

Being closest to the customer is the job for every marketing manager or agency globally, right? So once the retailer in question identifies that and invests in that, whether it's building the cohorts and what we are seeing from a retailer perspective, the really good ones are spending the time and money and resources in actually building out their data sets first. Because understanding the cohorts within the retailer element, you are able to put different values on the different cohorts. And the ones that are doing really well will benefit the most. So that's what we are seeing the first and foremost. The likes of what Cartology has done, really smart move from their perspective, in my view. It adds another part to their ecosystem that they can sell against. Owning that asset, selling that asset at a 90% margin. The payback on that investment will be pretty quick, I'd imagine.

Jack Byrne:

So again, really, it's a big deal in our landscape. Payback is fabulous. And from our perspective, again, we totally support it because it got to a point that when Cartology launched back in 2019, I know from a Hatched perspective, and we've got FMCG clients, then generally what we saw is the likes of a Cartology and whatnot, they're the first ones to go on a media schedule. They're the first ones, because it's a no brainer that you want to target the customers close to the point of sale. But there were still challenges. And the challenges that we saw with that is from an operational perspective, because a lot of it's still very manual. It's still very closed to agencies whereby the predominantly what we are seeing is retailer and supplier having their trade marketing budgets being tied into their overall contracts. And then actually what's happening at the retailers end, it's all a manual programming of YouTube, manual all of that is very high touch from resourcing, from human beings, and otherwise.

Jack Byrne:

And one of the problems that we're trying to solve is that operational side of things. Going, okay, you max out inventory really quickly and you max out capacity really quickly based on the fact that it's human led. So where Zitcha comes into it is really by adding in an ecosystem play across the likes of Meta and Google and YouTube, which is all built in, then A- the inventory's unlimited. And then also from a human perspective, they can start talking to the long tail of suppliers whereby previously they're probably, they're monetizing say 20% of their customer base or their supply base until they max out their inventory and their capacity. So what we are doing is providing these retailers with a long list of suppliers, the ability to actually access a hundred percent of them and monetize a hundred percent of them and maximize the opportunity for them. So that's what we're seeing.

Tim Burrowes:

Okay. Now, just before we drill a bit more into your business model, Troy, something I wanted to just come back to that you mentioned earlier, Amazon. Something like $31 billion around the world as a retail media outlet, as an advertising outlet effectively, yet my sense is in Australia they haven't had the same level of impact. Firstly, I suppose I'll be curious whether you agree with that. But secondly, I wonder if you do, if you have a feeling on why that is?

Troy Townsend:

Yeah. I mean, I don't have the direct numbers in front of me, but they are definitely making an impact year on year here in Australia. They're definitely growing quite rapidly. I think that the $31 billion is a big number and obviously we're only, Australia's only a very small part of that from an opportunity perspective as well. But, I think what you'll find is that they're going to, they're picking up steam quite rapidly. I mean, I think their entrance into the market was a bit slower than what everyone first thought they were going to be. But I feel like they are slowly, but surely, and slowly, but surely is probably not the right word. I think they're creeping up on everyone. And I think that we are going to start sort of start to see the impact of that, which we're starting to see on the flip side of Amazon. I think, I think retailers are really starting to see them as a clear competitive threat, which they've talked about for years, ever since they sort of came into the Australian market. But I think definitely now they're looking at how do they really combat against them as a business.

Tim Burrowes:

Okay. Well, we've talked a bit about how you solve the problem for the industry, which obviously is a service. I guess the other part of the equation is in order for you to be around, you've got to make a dollar. Should I crudely think of you as an ad network? Is that really the method that you make your money?

Troy Townsend:

Yeah, I mean, I think we are, like at DSP for retailers basically. So we make it very simple for them to bring their inventory to market and deliver that inventory to specific suppliers and specific brands. So that is probably how you would look at it. I think in the stage that we're in within the market is retailers bringing their inventory to market. I see in the US, these things starting to come where there's multiple retail media networks coming to market with individual retailers where brands are going well, how am I comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges? And I think you're going to start to see a bit more, which we're starting to look at is like aggregation of how do we make it really simple to buy across multiple retailers.

Troy Townsend:

So I think the big piece is making it very simple on both sides. Being on the retailer side to bring their assets and control the inventory that they have. And I think, to Jack's point earlier around Cartology, the purchase of is really they're buying more inventory, they're buying a broader subset. So, as a brand, makes the Cartology model a lot more appealing when I can buy in store, I can buy on online, I can buy sort of their digital out of home as well. So, I think these guys are really starting to ramp up the fact that they're media businesses and adding value into the brands. And I think from our perspective is, in Australia as we start to see more networks come to market, that's going to be one thing, but making this space uncomplicated is going to be a very, very big unique offering in market. Because I think, in the US, I was in the US last week at a retail media conference. And they just talked about how this space can be overly complicated from a brand perspective. And I think there's a job to be done as the space really grows to make it really easy for everyone to be able to use and spend and continue to spend in the space.

Tim Burrowes:

And just drilling a bit more into the business model. So effectively you clip the ticket of each placement, that's your main business model.

Troy Townsend:

That's correct. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. We take a percentage of the media.

Tim Burrowes:

And those are on standard terms?

Troy Townsend:

Yeah. So we take a clip of the media that goes through the platform. So it makes it really, I mean, it's an easy one for most retailers to understand. They can work out what margin they're going to make. And it's a nice, simple transaction. And it is on standard terms with the retailer. That's where we set up the model. We're not directly with the brand.

Tim Burrowes:

And what are those terms? What percentage clip is yours?

Troy Townsend:

So varies based on the size of the media. So it can be anywhere from 10% down to 4% depending on where it plays.

Tim Burrowes:

Okay. Now let me bring Jack back in, because I think this is a good one for where you span the two worlds of media agencies as well. I'm sort of wondering whether Zitcha is a friend or potential foe for agencies and that's a question partly inspired by a guest post I recently read in Avenues from Troy. I'll read out the headline for our audience. Headline is, "Retail media could provide your agency new revenue stream", but then it's the second part of the headline which intrigues me, "or could cut your lunch". And then the final line of the piece from Troy is again making that similar argument, "All this ultimately means more billable time. And isn't it better if clients on both sides talk to you rather than going direct to the retailers and cutting you out of the action". Now that sounds like...

Jack Byrne:

Very controversial don't you think, Troy?

Tim Burrowes:

Yeah. I'm intrigued by it, because it does sound like a bit of a mixed message to media agencies that maybe you are going to be taking a slice of the action away from them.

Jack Byrne:

Yeah, sure. Well, I'll take this obviously with the media agency background, because it's something that the whole world of retail media, if I was to be frank, scared the shit out of me. As an agency model where we are a service based business in the service based industry where FMCG clients and suppliers of retailers, where's the value that a agency can provide to ensure that our existence is there in the first place. But ultimately there's two ways to go about it. Is accepting that fact or from an agency perspective and something that we're really leaning into at Hatched is embracing it and building out services that surround it. Because as Troy alluded to it earlier, the retail media space is growing rapidly. We're still very much in the infancy. And it's the retailers themselves aren't yet quite organized to, you see the Cartology, you see Coles media. In Australia, it's very easy to kind of get blinded by that. But if you look at tier two, tier threes, even other retailers in the tier one space, you've got the merge teams and you've got the marketing teams, but no one really owns the media teams.

Jack Byrne:

And then the same from an agency space, what can you add value? And ultimately what's going to happen once all of these retailers get organized and have retail media platforms and retail media networks to buy into, then you got to flip your head into the brand's perspective and go, well, where do I get the best return? And it goes back to the genesis of a media agency in the first place is helping the clients navigate a tricky landscape. Brands are, they know the retail media space, they value the retail media space, but they might not know how to navigate the retail media space.

Jack Byrne:

And ultimately, one thing that you'll see Hatched doing is really delving deep into not only Zitcha, but the likes of Amazon. Amazon is coming and you'd be stupid to think that they're not coming. They have been here for a while. They are growing year on year, month on month, but it's a lot of suppliers don't know how to navigate them. So it's understanding that as a view will give you an idea as to where the benefit is from an agency perspective, because there are services and requirements to wrap around the proliferation of the technology that will ultimately either benefit you or you let someone else do it. And you look at the Publicis acquisition of Citrus last year. They paid $205 million for a platform and they've wrapped it into their Epsilon product. And all of a sudden Epsilon Publicis they've got a strong point of difference within the marketplace that can talk to retailers and supplies alike.

Jack Byrne:

Now you've got no one else left to buy and it's not to say that we'll be sold or bought or even were for sale for any of the agency networks, but we can certainly work with them. And that's the interesting part.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, I'm amused by it, as soon as you started saying you weren't for sale, a big smile came onto Troy's face. Because we can see each other on video, although this is only an audio podcast, which I suppose is a good point for me to sort of raise that question to Troy or to both of you is I guess one of the points of The Unmakers podcast is yes, we're talking about industry models useful to the industry. And I think maybe we also have an audience of people, I hope we do, who are interested investing in new things as well. And I presume that once you have an idea like this, in order to scale, it takes investment. So I'm wondering, Troy, what you see as the barriers to scaling or where you need to invest. I mean, the thing that occurred to me obviously was it feels like you'd need a sales force and if you're going to go global, that means a global sales force.

Troy Townsend:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, definitely I think like any tech business, you need to invest in the product, the R and D and your sales team and your marketing. So, we've got it to a point where we've been in a great position to be able to self-funded to today. But we definitely understand that to scale and grow fast, this opportunity is time sensitive and that takes capital. So yeah, we are definitely in the process of capital raising at the moment for the business. So hopefully we'll close that off pretty shortly. But definitely this business is set to grow outside of the geography of Australia and New Zealand. And we definitely have a global first mindset and we're being very focused on understanding where this space is moving in different markets, bigger markets in Australia, Southeast Asia, the US, Europe, South America. Like this space is at its infancy across all of those markets with not a heap of competitive pressure right now. I would think that competitive pressure will come over time. And I think the next sort of 12 to 24 months is going to be really critical for us to get our position in market and get the opportunity moving.

Tim Burrowes:

And this round of capital raising. Are you still open to more conversations? Are you closing off the conversations you are having?

Troy Townsend:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, no, we're pretty close to closing off this round, but I think capital raising is something that lasts the length of your business. So we're at sort of what we would classify as seed and we'll do a series A and we'll sort of see where the business moves. There's a huge opportunity. If you look at this globally, this is a hundred, BDC say it's a $100 billion opportunity. I think it's bigger than that. And for us, it's about how do we really capitalize on that opportunity as quickly as possible. So definitely anyone that is that's looking to invest in this space, we're definitely open for conversations over the full journey of the business, to be honest.

Tim Burrowes:

And how do they reach you?

Troy Townsend:

I mean, they can send me an email at troy@zitcha.com if they want to reach out or it's at jack@zitcha.com.

Tim Burrowes:

Z-I-T-C-H-A.

Troy Townsend:

Z-I-T-C-H-A.com. Yep. That's right. Yep.

Tim Burrowes:

And I guess typically for seed, you might look at raising half a million dollars or something. Is that the sort of number you are looking to?

Troy Townsend:

No, it's quite a ways north of half a million. We've funded it to a point where seed is based on, it's going to be the first layer of investment in the business, but we've built the business to not a bad size. So we're not really early, but we're still early within the journey of the opportunity.

Jack Byrne:

Yeah. And just to add to that, I mean, we've already put a couple of mill into this to build it. And we can continue to self fund it now. And we expect to be profitable pretty quickly, like within the next 12 months. So a tech business to be profitable is quite rare in these days, but it's also what's rising through the cream and the blood birth that is out there. But we are choosing to do a raise now because of the land grab and because of the opportunity that comes with a platform that's been in development for two years. It's got revenue, it's got media going through the platform. And really it's a chance for us in the next 12 to 18 months to really build a moat around us and get the runs on the board and go hard.

Jack Byrne:

And that international markets is really important to us because it's very easy to get caught up in the worlds of what we see in Australia being the Cartology and the Kohl's meter and be blinded by two small parties. But you look at other markets where in the US for instance, the size of a Kohl's is, there's 50 Kohl's and that's just on the Eastern sea, and so we've got to be smart about where we put our time in the next 12 months, not just our resources.

Tim Burrowes:

Now you make a good point, Jack, on the tech valuations blood bath. There's been a fair bit reported recently that valuations for investment rounds are kind of down as a result. What valuation have you put on the business?

Jack Byrne:

We haven't got to valuation at the moment. The template or the mode that we are going is more in a note, but that will depend on who we're getting involved in at the end. At the moment, we're just rallying up all interested parties to come to the table, to work out who the best are for us. And it's important that point is delivered that ultimately we need, we want our partners to really lean into the opportunity and really open up opportunities, not only locally, but internationally as well. The instrument that we're using will be determined by the people that are at the table by the end of it. Now, we could easily oversubscribe at the moment. Again, we're being smarter, we're in no rush to be able to take on investment. And at 50/50, our cap table is pretty clean with Troy and I, and it's something that we value our independence and we value being able to make the decisions that are best for staff and the best for clients. And that independence is something that we value highly because it's ultimately what will determine our success in the future. So that's something that we'll continue to do.

Tim Burrowes:

And that sounds presumably then that you're not really talking kind of the traditional kind of venture capital type investment, necessarily. If that's the route you're going. What sort of people have invested?

Jack Byrne:

Well at the moment, just Troy and I are the ones that have invested. But we are talking to venture capital. There's a lot of interest in this space. So we are not closing the door to anyone because some venture capitals have people that invest in their funds that are well off in the retail media space or the retail space. Or they might have access to markets that we aren't in yet. It's really, it's open to anyone. And it's a two way conversation. We're just not taking the money and running with it. It's not money that we need. It's more partners and someone that we want to work with. That's something that Troy and I, we've been in the game long enough to go, there's plenty of money if you ask for it. It's just the right money. And that's what we are being mindful of at the moment, is taking the right money from the right partners and going from there.

Tim Burrowes:

And clearly where partners invest, they also at least want a sense of what their possible exit options are. Obviously, we talked about the likes of Citrus being picked up by a global holding company. What are the potential route for you down the track, do you think?

Troy Townsend:

Yeah, so I think the critical thing that we're looking at is building a really successful, sustainable business being the first point. But I think really this space is, trade sale is one thing similar to Citrus. But this space is big enough for IPO. There's real opportunity. And we sort of see this base being independent and really driving that independence. Sky's the limit. We're right at the very start of something that I think is going to be very large. It'll just be, it'll be interesting to see how the different opportunity of different people that are probably looking to acquire or get something in this space changes over the next sort of 2, 3, 4 years. I think strategics are definitely keen in this space.

Troy Townsend:

How do they catch up quickly and how do they buy into this space or buy some technology? You're obviously seeing the big media networks, there're either looking at building or buying in this space as well, to even the big publishers. The Googles and the Facebooks of the world are going to obviously have a keen eye on where this space goes and how it plays out. So, I think it's going to be an interesting journey as we move through it.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, final question for me. If we check in again in a year's time, where will the business be at?

Troy Townsend:

In a year's time, I think, I mean, definitely we are going to be in multi market business. We've sort of had the ability to incubate in this space in Australia and New Zealand, but definitely we'll be in multiple markets outside of this space. I think we should be at the process of the space being sort of further progressed. And obviously from our perspective, having a lot more retailers connected in, but really we want to get to the space of being really focused on driving great brand experiences and fully automating the media mix modeling of this space to sort of really differentiate against anyone else in the market. So, 12 months is a long time, but it goes quickly when you're trying to you build and grow.

Tim Burrowes:

And Jack, let me bring you in as well, because I presume for you, you'll have to decide at some point if this rocket ship takes off, then you are going to have to step away from Hatched don't you?

Jack Byrne:

Well, luckily I've got very good staff in both organizations to carry me, because I'm just a squirrel trying to get a nut. But the one thing that I will add to Troy's point in the next 12 months is we, the world talks of retail media, but we don't talk just to retailers. Anyone that has first party data that is of value and has assets, and that asset could be digital screens in multiple venues. It could be an e-com, it could be a whole bunch of different. It could be an email database that could be worth monetizing. We are currently talking to adjacent industries and adjacent businesses to empower them the same way that we are doing with retailers. So within the next 12 months, you'll start seeing this breakout a little bit more beyond just retailers and that's what is really exciting because then you can start creating networks and like minded networks that are all attached to data that is built in similar structures and whatnot, and getting closer to the point of sale. That's really exciting to me in terms of building into green fields that people aren't really talking to. But that's certainly where our view is in the next 12 months, you'll start seeing a bit of that too.

Tim Burrowes:

Well, we'll check in and see. Troy and Jack, thank you very much for your time.

Jack Byrne:

Thanks for having us.

Troy Townsend:

Thanks Tim.

Tim Burrowes:

Thanks for listening to the Unmakers from Unmade. If you are an Unmaker, I'd love to talk to you. Email me, Tim@unmade.media.


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