News & Views

Waypoint Hot Seat: Newly appointed Director, Matt Lacey talks tech, rockstar ambitions & Wolfdogs

by Jenna Offerdahl
1st May 2018
Waypoint Hot Seat: Newly appointed Director, Matt Lacey talks tech, rockstar ambitions & Wolfdogs, post image

Waypoint is a relatively new business, but in under two years, the growth of both our clients and ourselves as a business has been remarkable.

Someone who has been with the company since the beginning is Matt Lacey, always dedicated to his role and a constant in the development of Waypoint, his efforts have been merited with the promotion to ‘Director’.

We caught up with Matt on a busy Wednesday afternoon to congratulate him on the new role and find out what is going on…

1) Matt, thank you for taking the time to speak to me today and congratulations on your new role! To get us started, please tell us a little bit about what you do at Waypoint Partners and an interesting thing about yourself.

I oversee the day-to-day of our corporate finance deal flow, managing a large part of the Waypoint team to ensure operational excellence and high-quality delivery. I work with clients to understand their long-term ambitions and develop clear growth plans and strategies for their management teams to deliver on these, in whatever timeframe required. Being solution agnostic, we can truly explore all potential routes for our clients and zero in on the optimal one – whether that’s purely organic growth or involves a fundraise / acquisition along the way. I spend a lot of my time speaking with market participants, so I have a good view on key forward-facing market trends and specific M&A strategies across the industry, and what a good exit looks like for a client business in the current setting.

In my spare time I have taken on the task of taming my very own dire wolf (our wolfdog office companion, Vulric), who offers the team regular entertainment as he drags me across the office in pursuit of tasty treats…! Thankfully I am much better versed in corporate finance than in dog training.

2) You have recently been promoted, congratulations, what was your route to this position, was finance always your calling?

My career plan was clear since I was a young child – I wanted to be a Rockstar bass player. Yet after being robbed of first place at a high school talent show, I shifted my focus to the next best thing…corporate finance and advisory. I studied Economics and Management at university, then joined a mid-market investment bank with a focus on media and TV. Within 2 years I had worked across 8 completed transactions from start to finish and joined efforts to expand into the US – spending just over a year in Los Angeles before returning to the London office; taking me to a total of 16 deals with a combined value in excess of £500m. The opportunity to join Waypoint Partners at its infancy was irresistible – the unique proposition combining growth advisory with corporate finance, added an entrepreneurial and values-driven culture, made Waypoint an inspiring, authentic and, most importantly, fun company to be part of.

3) How have you seen the industry change the past 5-10 years?

The great thing about specialising in a sector is gaining an intimate understanding of what’s going on and why seeing how the industry embraces change and the relative success of the different strategies that its players adopt. Perhaps not a surprising response, but technological advancement and the rate of change has had a significant effect on the industry – consumer behaviour has shifted dramatically in terms of how people interact with and perceive brands, and how / why and where they consume content. This led to a vast increase in the number of platforms that are available for companies to engage on. In adapting to these changes, organisations have looked to their various advisors/service providers to be more “joined up” – increasingly demanding a join-up between advice and application, data and systems integration. In the M&A market, this has resulted in the convergence of many industries – marketing services, management consulting, IT systems / consulting, data businesses, publishers, ad-tech, and mar-tech. A complex consumer and technology landscape has made effective engagement harder than ever, which has led to an emphasis on acquiring data-driven and consultative skillsets. The focus is shifting to complementary technologies being applied alongside traditional people-based business models. While there is some speculation around AI and its potential to replace the old models entirely, I think we are some way off the iRobot model….for me the cyborg model is most likely, where technologies enhance human capabilities: improving the effectiveness and efficiency of data-driven strategies and decision making.

4) It seems to be a very exciting time for Waypoint Partners right now, tell us a bit about what is going on.

It’s a really exciting time for Waypoint, for two key reasons: we are driving more impact than ever before, and we are just beginning writing our own story in the market.

On the impact side – we often work with innovators, market disruptors, and future industry leaders. We help entrepreneurs unlock the value of their ideas, which may ultimately impact the way things are done across various industries. We work with businesses at all stages of their growth curve – from a handful of entrepreneurs with a good idea through to businesses operating in multiple countries. We’ve helped overcome challenges and complexities faced at each stage – being impactful and truly part of the story for each of our clients is what we all have a genuine passion for.

As for writing our own story – Waypoint Partners is on its own exciting growth journey, now with a team of sixteen advising a diverse and global client base (UK, Europe, US and China). We have some really interesting projects on at the moment, covering early stage fundraises, growth advisory, leadership mentoring, “adventure” fundraises, buy-side strategy and sale-side mandates. We continue to innovate ourselves, improving our own “product” with a focus on how we can grow to add more value to our clients. There are a lot of great developments underway which will be announced over the coming year, so watch this space!

5) Lastly, if you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would that be?

Seek out challenging situations and embrace them fearlessly. Society places too much value on academic intellect as a core driving force for success, but this neglects practical application. You won’t always get the result you are expecting first time around – but you will learn how to think more creatively. Embracing complex challenges will push you out of your comfort zone, but it’s here that you will really learn and develop, personally and professionally. A key attribute we believe in and hire against at Waypoint is curiosity – never blindly accepting the status quo, a desire to continually learn, understand, question and improve.

I know the question asked for one, but I’m going to end on one more – contribute beyond yourself. There are many simple ways to create positive impact on society and I think it’s important to keep this front of mind, alongside self-development. This is a core belief at Waypoint and we continue to look at ways to contribute back to society.

You can join Matt on the 17th May for our ‘Raising your first million’ event. To secure your place sign up here.

Follow Matt on LinkedIn

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