Former Hellocomputer CEO launches new outsourced digital marketing offering


Former Hellocomputer CEO Dave Moffat, who sold the SA digital marketing agency to NYSE listed IPG in 2012 for undisclosed amount, is back with a new startup.

Moffat (pictured above), who left Hellocomputer in 2017, last month launched Fierce.

His startup aims to help international clients to cut their digital marketing costs by helping these clients to outsource work to SA businesses that can provide services such as analytics, strategy, creative production and development. The startup’s website went like on 1 February, he said.

The startup, which will essentially involve Moffat (the founder and at present sole director) acting as a consultant and project manager to international clients.

Former Hellocomputer CEO Dave Moffat’s startup Fierce will link international clients to SA providers that offer digital marketing services

While the startup has yet to start generating a revenue, the first two projects are expected to get on its way next month, he said.

The network will serve international brands, agencies, film production companies and game studios, he told Ventureburn, adding that he had so far identified six SA service providers to work with.

Moffat added that Fierce has share options on the companies in the network. He is expected to take 50% ownership of one of the companies, an analytics company, which he said he is helping another founder to build from scratch.

He said the business is self-funded, as is the investment pool for partner acquisitions.

“The approach will be partnerships and not outright acquisitions so founders remain incentived. Fierce will be a source of revenue and management consultancy to these partners,” he said.

He has started conversations with clients in major advertising networks and added that initial clients have white labeled the work as they don’t wish to disclose that they are outsourcing some of their work. “I’m hopeful that this will change over time as the concept matures,” he said.

US trip cut over coronavirus

Meanwhile, Moffat had to last week cut short by half, a three-week business trip to the US, because of the coronavirus. Fearing that the US or New York State, where he was based, would impose a quarantine, he returned to South Africa last Thursday (12 March).

“When (tech conference) SXSW was cancelled I pulled the trigger to come home,” he added.

Moffat is also an investor in iXperience, an international study abroad programme, which has offices in Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Madrid and Cape Town.

He said with the coronavirus threat he and his partners from the study abroad programme have been forced to shut the firm’s four campuses and scrap the four-week bootcamp the firm offers for students, in favour of a digital offering, which the firm was about to launch this week. “We are all hands on deck,” he added.

At the time of the sale in 2012 Hellocomputer had offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg and had grown to employ 150 people in seven years. IPG (listed on the NYSE) acquired the business and it now forms part of the FCB group of companies (FCB rebranded last year to “Nahana Communications”).

Editor’s note (20 March 2020): We have included that FCB rebranded last year to “Nahana Communications”.

Read more: NYSE-listed company snaps up Cape Town digital agency HelloComputer

Featured image: Fierce founder Dave Moffat (Supplied)



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