Wileyfox CEO and CMO step down to found GrowthHacker incubator

Wileyfox CEO and CMO step down to found GrowthHacker incubator

Nick Muir and Victoria Denman have stepped down from their respective roles as CEO and CMO of UK manufacturer Wileyfox, in order to start Growth Hackers, an incubator service for start-ups within the mobile device and software space. Mobile understands that Michael Coombes has taken up the reigns as Wileyfox CEO.


The ex CEO Nick Muir described the changes stating, ‘Absorbing the Kazam organisation was unexpected last year. They were both run at an investment level by a group called Meridian Capital. We’ve always been very consciously standalone propositions, however the Kazam proposition didn’t resonate so it seemed to make sense at the time to merge them together. That’s why you’ll find ex Kazam staff popping up at WileyFox. With the WileyFox brand, destiny is now in their hands, they’ve got a great product, a great consumer proposition and I’m looking forward to see what they do with it. They can shape their own future now from a position of strength.’


Speaking to Mobile, Nick Muir described the reasoning for the new venture stating, ‘We’re putting together Growth Hackers basically because too many good ideas fail, and having seen Wileyfox grow from inception to now, there’s a great deal we can offer other emerging organisations, be they handset manufacturers, device manufactures or app developers. We can do the same thing for everybody and we’re starting to build up a small group of people from the industry who are very good at what they do with strong pedigrees.’


Growth Hackers is funded by both private and angel investment. When asked who the other industry figures would be, Muir stated, ‘I can’t say who they are yet because some of them are in other jobs, but watch this space.’


Wileyfox broke the now growth potential in the UK trope by streamlining devices, both in terms of removing bloat ware and implementing leaner supply side economics, with Argos, Amazon and Tesco becoming their main channels in the UK. However, Muir stated that the industry moves so quickly and there are new opportunities in creating hardware and software which meets these changes. He gave the following example, ‘If you give people the opportunity to create on a platform that takes previous principles to the next level, that’s how the mobile industry will innovate.’ Elaborating he later added, ‘Traditional manufacturers are held back from innovating with software because they have too many interests elsewhere, for instance it’s difficult to introduce a new video service if your main carrier has a massive deal with Netflix. Independent manufacturers don’t have that problem and it’s up to them to curate and showcase what a device can do.’


Muir stated the business is ‘booked up’ for the next couple of months but couldn’t name the clients or projects apart from the curiously named ‘StinkyWeasel’


Alongside WileyFox, Muir has a long history in tech including roles at Packard Bell, Toshiba and more recently, UK GM of Motorola Mobility. Describing the influence of the Moto G launch approach on later roles, the Growth Hackers co-founder stated ‘The G was an interesting thing, nobody said it would work, the Moto G. Looking back on it, it started as a Europe only product and turned global. The idea of reinventing yourself around that and its benefits and problems, part of the problem with reinventing yourself is that nobody is prepared to have that conversation with the supply chain, for example when you speak to carriers or retailers and say ‘this is a different thing, to what you have known, it’s a low cost, low margin handset designed for maximum consumer experience.’ That consumer experience is key and therefore it needs to be sold managed and promoted in a very different way. Traditionally the mobile sales process goes ‘how much is the product? Brilliant we’ll take this many, but we’ll only take them if you give us £1m. That was not so with the G, as that idea began to take root in the industry my brain started to function in a different way, saying yes it’s good, but it should be better, hence the decision to leave and work with Wileyfox.’


He continued, ‘it’s about embracing Just in Time delivery, matching supply to demand and making sure you don’t get hit with charges you didn’t anticipate or that you don’t have to go with proposition eroding promotions. It’s crucial at that low to mid-end of the market because there just isn’t that margin buffer on the product.’


Asked if the Growth Hackers service is just a new consultancy group, Muir responded, ‘It’s more of a growth engine or an incubator. Rather than just providing marketing or supply chain consultancy, it’s there to provide quality ratification, inspiration and go to market drive. That’s at the center for us. Not only have we created, we’ve delivered and done what was needed from a commercial perspective, so we can bring this start up mentality to large corporates while being unencumbered by internal politics, or we can deliver the start-up to corporate growth to another start up. That’s the plan at the moment.’


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