Mumbrellacast interview: Simon Ryan on playing into the $95bn data and tech market

This week on the Mumbrellacast interview, Ryancap's Simon Ryan joins Mumbrella's Calum Jaspan to speak about the indie holding group one year in, the markets he's targeting, his love of pitching, the fertile ground for startup agencies and going up against international holdcos.

More than a year on from its first acquisition of JBZ Digital, and subsequently creating its first brand, Ryvalmedia’s Simon Ryan is content with the evolution of his indie holding group, Ryancap.

With Ryvalmedia, headed up by his former Carat colleague, Joseph Pardillo, Foxcatcher by David Gaskill, and the recent launch of consultancy Tightrope with former Accenture director, Stijn De Vriendt, Ryan says that Ryancap is primed to take opportunities in the emerging tech and data space.

“You’re really looking at a $95 billion market in Australia. So it’s huge. It’s probably one of the biggest spending markets in Australia and Australian corporate history.”

Ryancap’s Simon Ryan

As has been documented, Ryan wants his businesses to focus on these growing areas, with his agencies taking advantage of the transitioning businesses within global holding cos.

“If you look at the global competitive consolidation game, they’re now driving less brands into the market and trying to consolidate their costs. They’re trying to focus on their revenue streams and they’re trying to transition their businesses quickly.

“The reality is it will take them three to five years to transition their businesses to where they want them. What that means is that it gives companies like this one and others in the competitive set, a real opportunity to grow through fast growth, immediate acquisition and fast talent acceleration to actually get reasonable market share.

“We’ve organised ourselves so that we have a strong culture and the business in Australia will grow as a result of that, and we may grow abroad as well, as we progress on that strategic plan.”

On what lies ahead for Ryan beyond his mid-term plan, Ryan said “any businesses owner or any person who is working for a business or a large corporate, you do need to have an exit plan or you do need to have an horizon point as to where you decide what to do next,” however he said that he has no plans for anything beyond the current business strategy.

De Vriendt, Spilva and Ryan, following the launch of Tightrope

“We’ve got a plan and we’re going to execute the plan. That’s what I need to do and times on my side to do it. So I’m going to do that. If someone comes knocking, that’s great, but I think you’ve got to stay true to your plan and you’ve got to stay true to your strategic play and to your team.”

“At any point in time, I’m actively talking to at least half a dozen businesses on acquisition,” says Ryan. “I wouldn’t be acquiring businesses that are sort of at the peak of their horizon. We are focusing on businesses that have got growth potential, and are willing to work with a high growth business, such as ours.”

“And the only other thing I’d say is that any agencies we do look at acquiring, we rebrand from day one.”

Across the rest of the interview, Ryan also speaks about his continued love for pitching, and contributing to agency pitches “when the guys let me, as long as I don’t take over”.

He also touches on his evolving role, why clients are increasingly looking towards independent businesses such as his own, what Tightrope can offer as a mid-sized consultancy, the fertile ground for agency start-ups, the ex-Dentsu staffing make up across RyanCap businesses, and the changing market dynamics for holding companies and indies.

The full interview with Ryan will be available below.


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