Fresh Ventures acquired by IE

Words by John Chambers

I am more than delighted and humbled to let you know that my boutique consulting firm Fresh Ventures Advisory has been acquired by IE Digital, and I have joined them as Managing Partner for Growth and Consulting. I will work alongside the irrepressible Dean Flynn as Managing Partner for Delivery, as founder Rhys Hayes moves to a group role with a key focus on scaling Foyer, one of IE’s own ventures.

That was quick?

I established Fresh Ventures in November 2017 to provide executive advisory to companies seeking to establish sustainable innovation systems with a focus on delivering significant new business growth. This also allowed me to lead the startup Tappl in parallel, allowing me to further develop my own entrepreneurial skills and passion for the Future of Work.

The Fresh Ventures Growth System was built out of many successes and scars in leading products, innovation and growth businesses at Telstra. It has been refined through ongoing customer engagements with customers like NAB, Scentre Group, Reece and RACV. I am also grateful to Matt Kerr for his amazing work and support, and key global practitioner superstars like Siobhan McFeeneyDan TomaRachael Neumann and Andrew Walduck for our collaboration.

Why all this talk about Growth? Well it remains the missing puzzle piece. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by Australian corporates in the last decade on some form on “innovation” or "digitisation" – labs, accelerators, acquisitions, ventures – and there is very little new revenue to show. While corporates can use some of the methods of startups – design thinking, lean startup, persistent development teams, growth marketing etc – ultimately they are not startups and unless you can align the growth strategy, governance and execution - all these interesting techniques and IT systems will be wasted. Experienced practitioners who can help you execute from the boardroom to the brand book to the bugs in your code are required – enter IE.

Why IE?

IE Digital are one of Australia’s largest digital consultancies, established by the wonderful Rhys Hayes in 2002. It has grown through the pains of the dotcom era, the marketing agency boom, to find strong growth in recent years delivering digital capabilities and products for some of Australia’s most significant companies (creating Movember side by side with its founders just one of many legacies). In recent years it added the Silicon Block training capability (certified Agile, Design Thinking, Product Owner and Lean Startup) as well as Silicon Block Presents – Melbourne’s largest regular innovation gathering.

Fresh Ventures always sought to find the best digital creators and delivery engines to support our customers, and in IE we have found a perfect fit. In fact Rhys found us and knew there was magic to be made – and only took 6 months to convince me! I knew as soon as I walked in that I loved “the smell of the place” – IE is definitely Fontainebleau! (Telstra joke).

I am deeply convinced that over the next 10 years corporates will move beyond their current challenges of overcoming complexity and building digital capability to turn back with stronger commitment towards growth and value creation. Digital entrepreneurialism and venture building are the critical capabilities of away-from-core growth, and at IE we now have the critical elements of growth and innovation strategy advisory, growth governance and delivery system design, digital product and venture co-creation, as well as augmented digital and agile capabilities as required. At IE we are entrepreneurs and practitioners – our decades of experience means we help you get the results you desperately need.

Friends, I couldn’t be happier. As IE is increasingly a venture studio, my other ventures Tappl and Moorup Tech get to come along for the journey (and be better for the association). And best of all we are hiring – over 15 roles currently available as we continue to scale. Keep an eye out for those and get in touch!