David Trewern grew DT to $10 million in annual revenue before he sold it to STW Group for almost 10 times profit after tax, getting maximum value for his business because he started to look at the world through the eyes of his would-be acquirer.
Melbourne-based David Trewern grew DT, a digital advertising agency, to $10 million in annual revenue before he sold it to STW Group in 2007 for almost 10 times profit after tax.
Even more impressive than the multiple, Trewern got all of his cash up front and participated in the future growth of the company for the three years after the sale. Trewern was able to get maximum value for his business and preferred terms because he started to look at the world through the eyes of his would-be acquirer. STW had made a major acquisition in Melbourne and were putting together a 200-person agency with around $30 million in revenue. The only problem was the Melbourne agency didn’t have much of a digital team in 2007, as digital advertising was exploding.
Trewern reasoned that STW could buy his company as an insurance policy of sorts against the bet they were making in Melbourne. In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The definition of accretive and how it can help you boost the value of your business.
- How future-proofing the buyer impacts your value.
- Four things big companies like STW look for in an acquisition.
- How to think like a buyer.
- How to make yourself redundant by using the technique of a master chef.
Can Your Business Survive Without You?
DT used to be call David Trewern Design but Trewern re-branded to make his business appear less dependent on him personally – a key step in improving the value of any company. “You-proofing” your company is something we’ll tackle in Module 7 (Hub & Spoke) of The Value Builder System™ – a 12-step process designed to drive up the value of your company by 71% on average. Get started for free by completing the Value Builder questionnaire now.
Trewern’s Secret Weapon
As you’ll hear on the episode, Trewern’s advisor through his exit was a sage mentor named Geoff Green, the author of The Smart Business Exit. Green is a Melbourne-based Certified Value Builder™ who guided Trewern through his transformation from a graphic designer to the owner of a highly sought after digital agency. If you would like to have your own Green in your corner, complete the Value Builder questionnaire and we’ll connect you to a Certified Value Builder™ in your area. If you’re an advisor and would like to be Certified to deliver our program, request more information.
About David Trewern
David Trewern is an Australian digital marketing and technology pioneer, entrepreneur, innovator and investor.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Design in 1994 David traveled under scholarship to San Francisco, New York and London – visiting the global design and technology pioneers of the World Wide Web.
David founded David Trewern Design (now DT) at the age of 23 with $5,000 capital.
In 1997, David was awarded ‘Interface Designer of the Year’ by the AIMIA and was listed by The Age as one of Australia’s ‘30 rising stars under 30’.
ASX Listed STW Group (now WPP) acquired DT in 2010. Today DT enjoys annual turnover of circa $40m, and is one of Australia’s largest and most awarded digital innovation agencies. The company comprises 200+ employees across Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Auckland. Clients include Tourism Australia, Honda, Bunnings, Optus and many others. In February 2017 it was announced that DT would form the Asia Pacific arm of leading global digital innovation agency network, AKQA.
In the early 2000’s David also co-founded leading brand design company Threefold (now Designworks Melbourne) and spun cloud based hosting company Haylix from DT in 2007. Both businesses were sold to STW (WPP).
In 2010 David moved to Chairman at DT, and began a new role as STW’s first Chief Digital Officer. David developed STW’s digital growth strategy and advised the executive, board and 75 operating companies. David sourced, negotiated and integrated a number of successful technology acquisitions during this period.
As part of this role David established STW’s ‘Digital Academy’ which trained 700 employees in it’s first year, in areas of cutting edge digital marketing.
Seeing a need for radically new education model supporting the digital economy, David founded Republica Education with Ryan Trainor in 2013. David drew upon on his digital agency, people development and brand expertise to co-develop the group into a high quality education provider focused on education for the jobs of the future. David exited the business after a 2 year establishment phase, in November 2015.
David now lives with his family in Byron Bay and works with a number of business, development projects and charitable organisations.
Do You Know An Entrepreneur With A Story To Tell?
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At Built to Sell we’re all about shifting the balance of power from the buyer to the seller. If you support our mission, please write a review on iTunes—and if you have any comments or questions you can find us on Twitter and Facebook. Tune in every Wednesday for another episode of #BuiltToSell Radio with John Warrillow.
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