Posted: 2 May 2024

Interview with Tryzens CEO

Interview with Tryzens CEO

In August 2023, we partnered with digital commerce agency, Tryzens. CEO Andy Burton provides in-depth background to the deal and explains why listening to your heart and intuition are important when choosing an investment partner.

Culture, heart and intuition all have their place in a deal

A turnaround CEO by background, Andy Burton was brought into Tryzens to transform the fortunes of what was then a predominantly IBM Websphere Systems Integrator in 2014. Having achieved that task with the now self-styled team of Tryzenauts, he fell in love with the business, such that he led a management buyout in August 2023. Here he tells us how he rebuilt the business and his plans for the future.

When I first joined Tryzens it was clear it had a hugely capable team but they were struggling as the eCommerce market was evolving. The business model had not moved quickly enough. Its core business was based around increasingly legacy technology and hadn’t kept pace with a rapidly changing technological landscape or the breadth of services required to enable client strategies in this fast paced sector.  This was an obvious issue as our clients, who were primarily UK High St retailers, naturally depend on partners like Tryzens to build and support their online sales capability.

Refocus on our customers, establishing fundamental values

Over a three year period, Tryzens was transformed into a Digital Commerce Agency, focused on shaping and delivering customer outcomes, and not proprietary to a single technology. This meant reskilling our teams to support new technologies, creating new solutions and services and introducing new leadership and commercial roles focused on ensuring client success.  We also pioneered the creation of our 24/7 LiveOps services to proactively keep watch over our clients trading storefronts and ensure they are maintained and supported  so that they were optimised, secure and available to their customers whenever and wherever they were active. In the digital world you are always ‘on’ and we provide clients with peace of mind so they can focus on their strategy and trading. 

Without doubt the values that we embedded in the business at that time set us on a positive trajectory and remain true to our ethos and ways of working to this day.

By 2017, the business was unrecognisable from the one I had joined. To all intents and purposes, it could be viewed as a start-up from that point, with the team having replaced the revenues and dependencies of the IBM SI business that I met back in 2014. Now we were on a journey that was, to all intent, one of bootstrapped growth.

Create your own luck

Success comes from a combination of factors, including being in the right place at the right time.  A significant turning point for Tryzens international expansion came when our team attending a vendor event in California and met senior leaders from Australia’s largest private retail group, Cotton On.  They were looking to address a number of roadmap and technical challenges but hadn’t found the right partner with the skill and capability to enable their ambitions.

We sent a team from our Bulgarian Delivery Centre and the UK to be based at their head office in Geelong, Victoria, for a few months.  A partnership was quickly established that addressed the issues they were facing and formed the basis of a relationship that remains strong seven years later and which supports their roadmap and digital commerce operations 24/7 across eCommerce, Native App and elements of marketing on a global basis, across eight brands. 

Thanks to their experience and confidence in Tryzens, their vocal advocacy for us in market drove inbound calls from other Australian retailers and brands seeking similar services for their domestic and international growth. We have been able to grow organically and now have a permanent Aussie team of 30+ professionals based there, led by our regional MD, James, who moved there with Sophia, from our UK business. They have ensured that we built a business that held our core values, established a great team and in the process they also got married, have started a family and now have permanent residency in Australia. A Tryzens feel-good story!

Foster a passionate and capable team

Another key to our success in recent years has been investing time to ensure we have the right leaders and senior management team in place at our offices in the UK, Australia, Bulgaria, India and more recently the US.  Embedding our culture – and ensuring it is not lost as we grow – has always been a non-negotiable. 

We operate in an industry that often pays lip service to having a great culture but doesn’t always deliver. To us, culture is not about meaningless slogans.  We live and breathe it and are recognised by competitors for having a loyal and engaged workforce with global churn rate of employees at low single digit percentages. 

I am incredibly proud of our teams based across our Commercial Business Units and our  Delivery Centres who demonstrate day-in-day-out what a world class onshore-offshore business should look like. This has been earned by ensuring there is transparency, and integrity in our ways of working to build the trust that is essential to empower talent and provide a great degree of workplace flexibility and opportunity.  Having a strong and exciting portfolio of clients has also helped underpin our reputation.

Managing post pandemic paradigms

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a dramatically different world, where all generations were forced online, driving innovation for this brave new world and upskilling consumer skills globally over a few short months. Today digital commerce is not just about websites. It’s about all channels including physical stores, Apps, marketplaces, social channels. It’s about recognising the end customer no matter where they are active and giving a strong and consistent experience, ensuring personalised engagement and removing friction from the browsing and shopping journey so that the customer can find and purchase what they want.

Our business has continued to evolve to meet changing demand and to focus closely on being the strategic partner to our clients to support them on their digital growth journeys. We had a clear understanding of which businesses and brands best aligned with our capability and shared our digital-first principles.  

Our purpose naturally evolved and clarified into one of accelerating global branded commerce for our clients. This means ensuring the customer experience is clear and aligned to the client brand and that it is consistent across channels in all the countries they choose to operate in. This is the foundation for growth in the digitally enabled age.

Always seize the opportunity

We knew we had a huge opportunity ahead of us partnering with WestBridge. Our previous investor had been genuinely supportive during the challenging years of a turnaround and subsequent growth, though we both recognised that it was time to secure fresh investment for our next phase of growth. We started looking for a suitable growth partner.

We were blown away by the level of interest we received, which was humbling and uplifting for my senior team to experience. After whittling down a shortlist of six potential investors, we settled on WestBridge.

Like other private equity firms, they offered growth capital and access to a team of experts.  What they did differently – and which made the decision ultimately easy for us – was show unswerving commitment, personal engagement and heart. 

The WestBridge team is very much about people over process. They are an attribute-led investor, which went down well with my team. They understood our business – not just commercially but culturally, going so far as to proactively offer to send their team to meet each of our teams across the world. In short, they ‘got’ the importance of our unifying values and met the whole business before we closed the transaction.

During due diligence and pre-completion dealings, we found them to be open, honest and transparent, and always honoured their promises.  They built and earned our trust and confidence. The fact they didn’t try to tell us how to run our business went down well, too!

Creating a new partnership for growth

A lot has already been achieved in the eight months since WestBridge partnered with us. We have worked closely together to identify areas of the business that are ripe for improvement and value creation, leveraging the value creation fund created by WestBridge at completion. Our brand positioning has been reviewed in conjunction with the introduction of more effective sales and marketing processes and capabilities.

We have also broadened our skillset with the acquisition of Juno, an award winning Shopify Plus agency, and appointed respected industry expert Bernie Segal as our chair, who has already proved to be a fantastic advocate and champion for the business.

In March, tech sector analyst platform Megabuyte surprised us by recognising Tryzens as No 35 in its list of top 50 best-performing  mid-market companies across the UK tech sector.

Now, we are working on our five year plan which will see us accelerate our international presence, our investment in IP to deliver new services, products and revenue models. We will also accelerate our consulting and B2B digital commerce offering.

We have a great team in place around the globe, united by shared values and a common goal.  There are significant opportunities for growth which are all the more achievable with the backing and support of the fantastic team at WestBridge.

The future really is exciting for Tryzens. 

For anyone considering introducing private equity, remember that you will have to change your lens as you go from being a bootstrap business to a growth business. Be clear in your own mind why you want investment and what success should look like. Accept that being challenged is essential, healthy and invariably leads to improvement.

Money is a commodity that can be found through many avenues but trust is far harder to come by so use your head but always let your intuition inform you.

Share This