Media and technology company Advvy recently opened the doors to their New York City office and have a brand new London office in the works, set to open in March 2019. With two offices already in Brisbane and Sydney, this represents a significant move as part of their rapid international expansion to meet the demands of clients and acquire new international markets.
Founded in 2015 by Chris Macaulay and Tristan Ozinga, Advvy delivers workflow tools for the media and advertising industry – effectively connecting departments, breaking down silos and ensuring a single source of client and campaign information. At the time, Chris was working in digital media and Tristan Ozinga as a sales executive on the publishing side. It was out of frustration over the traditional agency workflow model – or lack thereof – that their idea for Advvy was born. They realised that there were so many manual “clunky” processes and so many legacy systems that made information sharing and real-time collaboration almost impossible. “We built a collaborative workflow platform to streamline the campaign planning and buying processes to make us more efficient, more compliant and give clients more visibility on how agencies are working with them,” Chris says.
“We launched an idea, raised some seed capital, built a prototype to prove the concept, and did a few pivots along the way. “We spent a lot of time travelling across the Asia Pacific meeting with all the big brand agencies and publishers around the world – and they really gave us insight into where the problem was, which really was around agency workflow processes.” For Chris and Tristan, there was a moment in their startup journey when “everything changed”. “We signed a global partnership with Microsoft back in September last year (2017) and everything changed for our business.
The Advvy solution sits on top of some of Microsoft’s latest Business Application technology, Dynamics 365, and because of Advvy’s unique positioning, Microsoft invested cash to fast track product development, are co-funding marketing campaigns, producing a docu-series (www.behindthebrief.com) about Advvy’s journey, and have now incentivised their sales people around the world to co-sell Advvy products.
“Microsoft have been able to open up doors to the global decision makers of the biggest customers in our industry. To say this partnership has changed everything is an understatement,” Chris says. This year the Queensland startup won the 2018 Microsoft Partner of Year Media and Communications Award, acknowledged among a field of international Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.
Advvy also received the Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur’s Grant in June 2018 and previously received an Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Grant. One of the biggest questions they’ve faced during this phase of huge growth is: ‘How are you going to scale to support us around the world?’ “That’s why we’re aggressively expanding at the moment,” says Chris. And while he says Australia is a “very sophisticated market”, he says it’s also quite small. “The big opportunities for us are the US, UK and Europe.” Chris will be relocating from Brisbane to New York City to lead the new office in December. Advvy is also currently in the middle of a seven-million-dollar funding round, due to close in late October