Procurement software start-up think has recruited former Asciano chief financial officer and Commonwealth Bank institutional banking managing director, Peter McGregor, as its chief executive, as it looks to enter a new high-growth phase and win major enterprise clients.
Mr McGregor, who is also on the board of the AFL team the Brisbane Lions, comes to the role having spent 20 years in investment banking, before taking on the leadership roles at Asciano and CBA.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Mr McGregor said he had taken on the role in February and was convinced to join the small company thanks to the passion of Mr Ryan and the power of the platform to solve problems he’d experienced first hand while managing procurement at Asciano.
“I’ve gone from working in the largest organisation in the country to one with only 35 employees when I started,” he said.
“At CBA, no matter who you were, you were a small cog in a large machine. At think, every decision you make has an impact on the business. It’s been incredibly invigorating and it’s got an amazing team of people.”
The $7.5 million raised comes from a range of high-net-worth investors and institutional funds who did not want to benamed. It follows on from a smaller $5 million round in 2016.
Mr Ryan remains the largest shareholder with about 40 per cent of the company.
The think platform has had many iterations over the past 10 years, but has been focused on procurement for only four to five years.
It was born from Mr Ryan’s background at SEEK, with the entrepreneur keen to disrupt procurement in the same way the jobs platform had done with the hiring process.
The software-as-a-service module-based platform provides mid-tier to enterprise-size businesses with an integrated procurement platform that gives them access to think’s catalogue of providers (with 1.2 million stock-keeping units), as well as the company’s own suppliers. It manages the entire procurement process in one place, from browsing to purchasing, processing payments and then reconciling the transaction.
It was developed with the input of think’s cornerstone partner RMIT University and Mr McGregor said it was “designed to feel like Amazon on the front end”.
“The real advantage from a customer perspective is not only the cost and efficiencies gained … but it also gives you full visibility in real time into what’s been procured,” he said.
“The most basic version of the platform is a plug-and-play for the SME-end of the market. The time taken to integrate the platform for enterprise customers depends on the degree of integration with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like SAP and Oracle, but relative to the rollout of a full ERP system, it takes weeks rather than months.”
As well as RMIT, the company counts childcare centre operator Affinity Education as a customer.
Think generates revenue in three ways – through a monthly subscription fee, through a turnover fee based on the value of goods and service procured on the platform and then it earns a margin on products and services purchased from its catalogue.
Mr McGregor claimed it also had a strong pipeline of customers and he believed think would be profitable in 2018, but would not provide earnings projections.
Looking ahead, he flagged the possibility of an ASX listing, but said this was not a current priority.
“First and foremost we’re focused on the core business and converting the current pipeline into revenue. We’re also looking to launch a new mid-market product in the near future,” he said.
“We’re also building out a full suite of payment capabilities and a travel module. Between those, that will be the next six months covered.” ~Financial Review