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Idealog’s Entrepreneur Wrapped 2023: Matt Herbert

The beginning of December marks a very special day for social media, a day where everyone shares who their top artist and what their top song of the year is: Spotify Wrapped Day. We decided to take our own spin on this and talk to some of the entrepreneurs who have been killing it in 2023.

From non-alcoholic beverage entrepreneurs to delivery companies, 2023 saw Kiwi entrepreneurs everywhere take their business to a whole other level.

Matt Herbert – Tracksuit

In 2023, Tracksuit is everywhere considering they are one of the fastest-growing start-ups in the country, so it is pretty obvious that we had to talk to their Co-Founder, Matt Herbert.

What has been your biggest highlight of the year?

2023 has been a year of highlights, so it’s hard to pick one in isolation. This year, the team has grown from just under 20 at the start of the year  to nearly 60 now (and counting!).

We’ve opened and established offices in Sydney, New York and London, while the Auckland team moved into our new HQ on Drake Street, taking over from Special (an iconic NZ business and one of the world’s best advertising agencies).

We also had Tracksuit present on the main stage at the Cannes Lions Festival (which is basically the Oscars for advertising and creativity) and we’re now working with over 350 of the best and growing consumer brands in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and United Kingdom, including DoorDash, Arnotts, Eucalyptus, Disney Plus, Bondi Sands, MyFitnessPal, Mazda and more.

On a personal note, Connor and I were named top of B&T’s Best Industry Entrepreneurs, I was listed in their 30 Under 30 winners, and we were finalists for EY’s Entrepreneur of The Year. It was a privilege to be recognised amongst other industry greats.

Read more: Tech trailblazer: Tracksuit Co-Founder Matthew Herbert recognised on B&T’s 30 Under 30 list

How did you overcome your biggest challenge you faced this year?

This year the team has tripled in size as we launched in three new markets, and so one of the biggest challenges we faced has been maintaining Tracksuit’s culture. I’m incredibly proud of the way we’ve not only maintained, but evolved our culture. Staying true to our core values, operating principles and standards has helped overcome any challenges. 

We’re intentional about exporting the Tracksuit culture, but with a unique local flavour in each new market. Each new hire spends at least one week in the Auckland HQ within their first month of joining, to understand the way we operate and to meet and connect with others in the team, then new hires take those learnings back into their local offices. I’ve also spent consistent time in each office this year, as have a number of our senior leaders.

Based on what you have learnt in the past year, what are some learnings and advice you would give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Tracking the number of external conversations you and your team are having is a vital metric to track. People are often willing to provide feedback and give advice, so actively seek it out. For example, this could look like conversations with industry experts and your ideal customer profile, asking for feedback and getting advice on what you’re doing.  Have conversations with your customers, conversations with potential investors (if that’s the route you’re going down), and conversations with incredible people that you may want to join your team.

Tracking the number of conversations you’re having is an important way to make sure you are taking the time to get out of the weeds, and continue to find and maintain product market fit to inform your strategy and raise awareness about what you’re building at the same time.

Take time to listen to feedback and evaluate the pros and cons of committing to a decision. However, 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.

Where do you see yourself in one year?

Our vision is for Tracksuit to be used in every strategic growth conversation for the very best consumer brands of today and tomorrow to build incredible businesses. Our goal is to become the common language for marketers and non-marketers to measure, understand and communicate the value of brand globally.

In 2024, we will start scaling our teams in the United States and the United Kingdom to increase momentum in the Northern Hemisphere, with the goal to be working with more than 900 brands.

We will have made major advances with our data and the simplified insights we can support our customers with. With the growth explosion 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.

Favourite song of this year?

Fred Again – Turn On The Lights again.. (feat. Future).

Fred Again’s Album USB from 2022 has been on repeat.

Listen to Matt’s alongside other entrepreneurs favourite songs plus a few added by the Idealog team here.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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