People of Asuwere - Matthew Herbert
We sat down with Asuwere member Matthew Herbert, Co-CEO of Tracksuit, to delve into his journey building one of Australasia’s fastest growing startups. In this “People of Asuwere”, Matthew imparts invaluable insights and strategic advice for both startups and brands looking to scale, and the importance of investing in brand for long term, sustainable growth.
As Co-CEO of one of Australasia’s fastest growing startups, tell us about how you got to where you are today?
My career so far has been in innovative tech and scaling start-ups. Prior to Tracksuit, I helped launch Uber into New Zealand and then went on to social media software start-up Mish Guru as Head of Business Development for ANZ where we supported iconic brands such as Red Bull, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s leverage Snapchat. Returning home from Sydney due to the pandemic I reconnected with an old colleague, friend and now co-founder Connor, along with two of the country’s leading brand and market research agencies Previously Unavailable and TRA to create Tracksuit.
Taking a scrappy, entrepreneurial approach, we created a mock-up design of a simple dashboard that would cost 10x less than traditional enterprise brand tracking programmes and turn a historic consulting business model into software-as-a-service (SaaS). We presented the mock-up to 60 brand leaders across NZ and had 10 of those brands agree to pay for an annual subscription. We then used this money to build the very first version of the product and Tracksuit was born.
Fast forward two years, Tracksuit has scaled to +$5M ARR with 250 customers across NZ, Australia, the US and the UK and we now have a team of 45 and counting.
Why was Tracksuit created?
We created Tracksuit to help great brands build incredible businesses over the long term by giving marketers and brand leaders an easy and cost-effective way to answer the question ‘is what we’re doing working?’.
It’s easy to measure sales and conversions, but it’s difficult and costly to measure and prove the value of brand marketing efforts for long-term growth.
We took expensive, over-complicated, old-school market research and created beautiful, affordable, always-on brand tracking.
Do you have any favorite brand marketing campaigns that you have seen over in the past few years?
Liquid Death! A beverage company in the US who are taking a creative and left-field approach to building their brand. Their manifesto - “We’re just a funny beverage company who hates corporate marketing as much as you do. Our evil mission is to make people laugh and get more of them to drink more healthy beverages more often, all while helping to kill plastic pollution.” Go on youtube and watch what they’ve been doing over the past few years.
Having worked in multiple startups (and dealing with many on a daily basis), what are the most common mistakes you see startups make?
1. Not having genuine product market fit. You can be building an incredible product that solves a perceived pain point but if there’s no market to support it, or customers are unwilling to pay for it then it’s going to be hard. Obsess with finding and maintaining product market fit.
2. Saying yes, when maybe you should say no. It’s incredibly tempting to build new features when a customer asks for something or say yes in order to win a new customer or revenue. But this can quickly become a distraction and might not actually be the best for your customers or the long-term sustainable growth of your start-up. Take time to listen to feedback and evaluate the pros and cons of committing. Don’t just listen to the loudest voice in the room or act on the most recent piece of feedback. Take time to evaluate all feedback and continue to prioritise what you build next. Saying yes and moving quickly can have its benefits but what you say no to can be equally, if not, more important.
3. Get clear on what you are building for and why. What is your mission, vision, and purpose? Why are you doing what you are doing? And ultimately what do you want to achieve? Are you building a legacy company? Do you want to build a company that is around in 100 years? Be acquired or take a company public? Stay small and efficient, or grow into a significant market-leading brand in your category. There’s no right or wrong answer but getting clear on questions like these can help inform decision-making, align stakeholders and build a greater sense of engagement within your team.
Are there any books, podcasts, or people in the industry you would recommend to those interested in brand marketing?
Future Demand, by James Hurman (one of my incredible co-founders). It’s a book that I’d recommend to anyone interested in marketing or startups, whether you’re just starting out or have been in the game for 30 years. It lays out why building your brand among tomorrow’s customers is key to success. Providing evidence and insight into how to build your brand among the much larger group of customers who’ll buy from you in the future.
What does the future hold for Tracksuit?
We are building Tracksuit to be used in every strategic growth conversation for the very best consumer brands of today and tomorrow. Becoming the common language to measure, understand and communicate the value of a brand.
We’re growing rapidly, having a bunch of fun, and get to work with the best brands and people at those brands - so more of that hopefully!
Having bootstrapped for the first 18 months we finished up a successful $7.5m seed round at the start of the year, kickstarting our entry into new markets like the US and UK, as our momentum continues to increase in New Zealand and Australia. We’re in great company with customers such as Pals, Allpress, Blunt Umbrellas, Bondi Sands and MyFitnessPal.
We’re also really excited by the advances we’re making in our data and the insights we are able to support our customers with. With the crazy growth of large language models and generative AI, there’s a really exciting opportunity to complement the solution we’ve already created and make marketers' lives easier. We’re looking forward to applying more of that to Tracksuit’s product and the problem we’re solving.
How does Asuwere suit your lifestyle?
Asuwere suits all aspects of my lifestyle. It takes the mental load out of my morning routine knowing I have great pieces whether I’m heading to the office, attending events or heading out for a day of adventure.
The subscription service is a game changer and a super useful way to keep up with fresh, quality clothes year around and suitable for the changing seasons.
It’s style, quality and convenience.
The Asuwere store in Newmarket is always a great place to drop in for a yarn and a hangout.
Shop Matthew's Looks
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