Ryancap launches the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’, Tightrope

Simon Ryan has reunited with another ex-Dentsu colleague to launch business transformation consultancy Tightrope, forming the third piece of his developing Ryancap puzzle.

Tightrope will sit alongside Foxcatcher and Ryvalmedia, filling out the strictly limited tech, data and media capabilities in indie holding group Ryancap, launched with Konrad Spilva’s Shadowboxer as a “significant stakeholder”.

The new venture is headed up by ex-Accenture strategy director, Stijn De Vriendt, who joins as managing director after 13 years at the consultancy. He has 15 years experience in strategy consulting, digital transformation, customer strategy and is also a strategic advisor to C-Suite and board stakeholders globally.

De Vriendt, Spilva and Ryan

Spilva’s Shadowboxer will work closely with Tightrope, which will mean that the business can draw on not only Rycancap’s established chain of services in Foxcatcher and Ryvalmedia, but also Shadowboxer’s expertise in brand and product strategy, tech, design and experience in building new ventures. Tightrope specialises in business strategy for the digital economy, with a focus on “guiding businesses who want to thrive in the digital economy, identify where to play and how to transform to win”.

Simon Ryan said: “We have created Ryancap to help businesses who want to thrive in the digital economy.  Tightrope is the missing piece of the puzzle to make this ambition a reality, and I’m delighted to welcome Stijn De Vriendt to the team.”

Ryan also told Mumbrella that while De Vriendt has been at Tightrope for almost a month and the business is in its “infancy stage”, it is working with around half a dozen clients already, and De Vreindt’s existing “pipeline is starting to open up too”.

He also said that this is part of the “grand plan”, which is a five year horizon plan focusing on media, data and tech consultancies in the digital marketing services area, with Tightrope specialised in strategy for that economy. He called this new type of consultancy the best of agency and consulting models into a single proposition.

He said this approach will allow its Tightrope to deliver impact “much greater than consultancies and a single agency group could, to strive in the current economy”.

The aim now for Ryancap is rolling out and expanding its core offering across the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane markets, and while calling Tightrope the “final pillar” of the group, Ryan joked “it’s like an F1 driver says its his last race, or a boxer says its his last fight”.

“I think there comes a point where you really need to focus on two or three things and expedite the growth of that and focus on the capability. I don’t want to be like other parent companies that have 20 different brands and spent years growing them and then spend years undoing them.”

De Vriendt said: “For me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move into a more entrepreneurial path. I’m very excited to be part of the Ryancap family and for the opportunity to bring new capabilities to the group and help clients navigate growth and transformation. It’s such a unique opportunity to build something new while leveraging the experience and capabilities that Simon and Konrad have built up. My ambition is to develop Tightrope into a new-age consultancy with the best people, a differentiating culture, to have an amazing impact on the industry and turn it into something very successful”.

Konrad Spilva added that Shadowboxer is thrilled to be playing a role in Tightrope achieving its ambitions.

“Whilst Shadowboxer continues to focus on consulting for and building new ventures, we will lend our product studio capabilities to help Tightrope clients as their growth and transformation strategies turn to the execution of new propositions and products. We’re confident the partnership with Stijn, and Simon, will be a formidable one”.

When Shadowboxer was launched last year, founding partner Stephen Graham said the consultancy would have have “skin in the game” through the venture arm of the business, that it “genuinely wants to invest in Australian businesses and show clients we’re committed to real partnerships, not just here to respond to simple asset briefs.”

On Ryan’s growing network of ex-Dentsu employees working with or at Ryancap, he said that with in excess of 50 staff across the business now, 70% have come from elsewhere, and his focus is on “the best talent from wherever”.

For more on this story, the team spoke about it on the Mumbrellacast


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