Earlier this year, TIMIA Capital invested USD 2.5 million in Myagi — a software platform that connects brands, retailers, and distributors to facilitate better communication, knowledge-sharing, and sales enablement.
We caught up with founder and CEO Simon Turner to learn more about Myagi, its growth journey, and plans for the future.
Myagi is a go-to-market collaboration platform for brands and their sales channels. It allows brands of all sizes to communicate with and educate frontline salespeople on all the products that they sell, how to sell them, how to merchandise them, and what events, promotions, and sales incentives are available at any given time.
Inspired by a famous quote from The Karate Kid, “No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher,” Myagi’s mission is to provide every frontline salesperson with the knowledge they need to be customer-ready all the time.
Today, Myagi operates an entirely virtual team with over 40 employees in 12 countries serving customers in Europe, Asia, Australia, the US, Canada, and South America.
They focus on selling to specialty retail brands like running, outdoor sports, golf, cycling, health and beauty, agriculture, and home improvement and DIY. More recently, Myagi has been working with non-traditional retailers that don’t have a storefront but have big field sales teams.
Where it All Began
Simon ran his own business in Melbourne, Australia, selling several products through a network of 1,800 retailers and distributors. The company had sales representatives on the road visiting retailers to deliver training, merchandising, and incentives to sell their products.
After every sales visit, sales increased — but the field sales model was expensive and difficult to scale to its entire network. Simon spoke with his peers in the industry and found that everyone had the same problem.
He decided to develop a solution: a platform that could automate some of the communications, training, and knowledge-sharing to enable retailers, distributors, and sales teams.
“After many years in my own retail company, I knew there had to be a better way to get the right information to the right person at the right time. Nothing else out there could do it the way it needed to be, which is why I started Myagi,” said Simon.
Getting to Product-Market Fit
Myagi’s platform breaks the status quo in a sales process that has been relatively untouched by digital transformation. Replacing the personal sales visit with software requires a complete shift in mindset by brands and retailers alike.
For the first couple of years, Simon and his team worked on a model that they could bring to market effectively. Early customers helped them test the platform and also provided feedback on the go-to-market strategy. The Myagi solution alters established processes so customers required some additional support to reimagine their businesses using technology.
“Our biggest competitor is the current model: field sales reps. The pandemic demonstrated how our customers could do business without driving 400 miles to the next store or the next town. And they can make 50 sales calls in a day, instead of three,” said Simon.
Myagi prides itself on being a capital-efficient business. Initially, it was funded by a small venture capital round and revenue from paying customers. “We typically take 12 months payment up front and our contracts are usually 24 to 36 months. This really helps our cash flow,” said Simon.
Due to the seasonality of the retail space — and the nature of bootstrapped companies — Myagi often sees peaks and troughs in its business.
“Typically, Q4 is a hectic sales period for us. This means Q1 is all about delivery and implementation. The constant pivoting between selling and implementing means our sales can have a lot of highs and lows,” said Simon.
Simon sought out funding to help smooth these bumps so the sales and implementation can occur side-by-side throughout the year. He connected with TIMIA Capital through a previous portfolio company, Karbon, which worked with TIMIA in the past.
“We had taken VC funding and weren’t in a position where we would get favorable terms to go out and raise again. I also didn’t want a ton of dilution to the company. We talked to a bunch of venture debt banks and considered other funding options, but we like to do business with people we trust, and I trusted Rob and the team. The additional capital from TIMIA gives us the ability to iron out kinks and remove that yo-yo effect,” said Simon.
Fuelling Sales and Marketing
Myagi has a unique growth model based on referrals. For example, Brooks running shoes became a customer and introduced Myagi to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s Sporting Goods then introduced Myagi to other brands, and those brands, in turn, introduced Myagi to more retailers.
The company plans to use TIMIA Capital’s financing to fuel this unconventional sales and marketing model and grow its network faster. By automating some of the manual processes that exist and unlocking more intelligence from the product itself, Myagi will be able to identify the connections between brands and retailers and drive more business.
Myagi’s land-and-expand model means it requires more account management and customer success headcount, as well as product marketing expertise.
“We’re investing in more sales capacity to help us with this viral network growth model of lead generation. TIMIA’s funding has given us the confidence to be able to hire these people in Q1, knowing that we won’t necessarily see a return from them until Q2 or Q3,” said Simon.
They’re also looking at rolling out an incentive program for retailers to refer brands to the platform.
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Simon and his team are fully committed to building a sustainable, enduring business in the ever-evolving retail space.
“We are building a business with a good growth rate, an attractive customer base, and a powerful referral network. We’re just focusing on building a great business rather than optimizing for the exit,” said Simon.
Simon is only interested in an exit strategy with a good outcome for everyone involved in the business, not just the investors.
“I imagine sitting at a long table in 10 years with our team discussing the great product we built and how Myagi helped the team achieve their own life goals whether that be spinning up their own startups, sending their kids to school, or buying their own home,” said Simon.
Myagi is undoubtedly a company to watch. It has all the ingredients for success, and the timing in the retail space is excellent. We’re excited to see where they take the business.Back to top