Getting acquired, setting good strategy, and many more insights from the CEO of TackThis!

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“For every partnership, you also have to ask: do we have the same strategy? Can we work well with each other? Can we relate? There is also the structure of how we want to do it, and legal procedures.” Dickson Gregory

Dickson Gregory is the CEO and one of the founders of TackThis! which helps you sell products on multiple marketplaces at one shot while benefiting from a concierge service that offers dedicated support with setup, management and marketing.

In this interview, Dickson runs us through their recent acquisition and explains their strategy for developing key partnerships to grow the company regionally.

Who are the founders of TackThis! and how do organize your roles?

Our names are Dickson, Vincent and Damian, so some people call us DVD!

Damian is the COO. He handles operations, finance, and business development. Vincent is the CTO. He is involved in all the technical aspects which is important because we have to make sure the product is not only good for ten or twenty users, but robust enough to support thousands.

As the CEO, I focus on building the team, investments, and business development. All these roles come with their own set of challenges.

TackThis! has been acquired by a telco company in the Philippines. What led up to that?

This telco has been our key partner for expanding into the Philippines. They resell our solution to the country and, from the looks of it, it went well!

Subsequently, they acquired us when we are looking to raise the next round of funding.

What sorts of things got considered for the acquisition?

The acquisition involves a few key things: it’s not just a partnership. The company believes in our product, and they believe in our team. We also have a presence in various other countries where we are expanding. These are some of the reasons we became a viable option for their acquisition. We are glad that our goals are aligned with the group that acquired us.

This acquisition was also part of their digital growth strategy. They set aside about USD $100 million to grow into the digital road of things, and acquiring us was one of their strategies. In fact, they also invested in Rocket Internet, so we now have a partnership with both Zalora and Lazada.

How do you strike a successful partnership?

You learn many things in school, but it is different when you work with the ‘real guys’. They are experienced business people and thus you need to be really clear in your value proposition. The good side is that they are also willing to provide an opportunity if you are really passionate.

Even so, the fundamentals such as business values and revenue have to be there. For every partnership, you also have to ask: do we have the same strategy? Can we work well with each other? Can we relate? There is also the structure of how we want to do it, and legal procedures.

How do you determine whether a partnership aligns with your company strategy?

There have been a few occasions when we thought about whether we wanted to go into a partnership, but it deviated from our strategy, so we decided not to do it. We have to ask: is this business consistent with what we want to do? If the business does not coincide with our focus and values, we step away. It isn’t just about revenue.

What are your goals?

We have two goals: helping more merchants gain a digital presence via our platform and increasing their sales not only on their own stores but on numerous other marketplaces (including ours). Based on these goals, we ask: how can we increase the merchants and, in turn, revenue? How can we get more purchases for merchants? One of our key strategies is to do this via partnerships. We believe in building partnerships.

Can you describe the relationship between “goals” and “strategy”?

Strategies are set and implemented to achieve our goals. First, we start with our values and mission, and THEN we plot our objectives and goals which require strategy. Everything we do falls under our mission. If our mission is simply to earn revenue, we can do almost anything that is related to tech and bring in the revenue — but that’s not our mission!

TackThis is an e-commerce platform. What makes it innovative?

TackThis is an online store creator for selling on multiple sales channels. We streamline the entire process for uploading your products, and handle the marketing, purchase, payment, and delivery — all in one place. We also offer a personalized concierge service to handle marketing and store management.

Why did you choose to work at Blk71?

We started at an incubator in NUS. As the team grew, we needed a bigger space, and Blk71 came up as an option. It’s good to be in a cluster: it serves a lot of value and synergy. For example, we got to meet investors here and talk to them. It is very convenient since they are only a few levels up or down. The location is also pretty convenient for us since it is near the One-North MRT.

Thanks for the interview, Dickson! For those curious to explore TackThis!, check out www.tackthis.com

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NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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