Meet the Founder of Maru Group
Hi Ged, thank you so much for joining me. To kick things off, tell me a little bit about Maru Group.
Maru is a global market research company providing clients with tech-enabled consumer insights to help develop their business strategies. We have built a portfolio of leading market research and insights companies, which we brought together to provide cutting-edge research, insight and advisory services to equip our clients with relevant, timely and targeted insights.
Inspiration is always a great indication of why people launch businesses. What inspired you to get started?
I’ve worked in market research for many years and it’s an industry that I am passionate about. Ten years ago it was made very clear to me that the sector was facing a huge challenge. During a client meeting I discovered that companies outside the sector were developing technologies that enabled them to analyse data themselves, resulting in clients being able to bypass market researchers. I realised that the sector needed to step up and invest in innovative technologies that would empower its advisors to provide future proofed services and products to clients.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
Maru has become an incubator for technological innovation within the sector – a foundation and catalyst for growth.
We have acquired four fantastic and very diverse companies since we founded the Group in 2016, but rather than merging them into one unit, we have enabled the companies to flourish independently and retain their own individual cultures and identities. Whilst each firm has its distinct capabilities, our portfolio is united by a common belief in the value of technology-led research and an ability to rapidly aggregate and analyse data, providing clients with meaningful insights in real-time.
How did you raise funding for your business?
We created a strong business plan which clearly laid out our proof of concept before meeting with ten private equity firms to explore options for external funding. We chose Primary Capital due to the strength of its team and their experience in helping to build outstanding growth businesses.
How do you believe the evolution of tech will affect your industry over the next 10 years?
It’s already had a huge impact. As our daily lives become ever more embedded in technology, the amount of data available for analysis and interpretation is only going to increase. Continually developing state-of-the-art technology that can mine this data for relevant information will of course remain crucial, but so too will fostering the human talent within the industry to provide clients with strategic analysis and advice. The two will need to go hand in hand.
What plans do you have for Maru in the future?
Our priority is to continue driving technological innovation within the sector. We aim to do this by supporting the creation of new proprietary tech in our portfolio as well as the expansion of our businesses. We are on the lookout for companies with growth characteristics, talented management teams and highly collaborative cultures, as these entrepreneurial dynamics provide a hot house for creativity and new ideas. By closely fostering these two business strategies, Maru has the potential to become a top global player.
What’s the most important question entrepreneurs should be asking themselves?
Am I giving my team the support and opportunities they need to succeed? Maru gives its portfolio greater access to resources and new geographic markets, but we also know how important it is to engage team members directly and on an individual basis. As Maru Group continues to expand, we continually strive to support our talented team and recognise individuals for their contribution to the Group.
What is your number one tip for businesses looking to scale?
Have a clear idea of what you think growth should look like. Identify the most important indicator that you are looking to achieve – greater market share, a certain financial milestone, number of employees – and use it as a centre point to focus your corporate strategy.
Maru has grown quickly and acquired four portfolio companies. Are you looking to acquire other entrepreneurial businesses?
Absolutely, innovation is at the heart of Maru and there is nowhere better to find fresh and interesting ideas than in ambitious, entrepreneurial companies. Market research is an industry blessed with talent and creativity, there are excellent companies in the market which have huge potential given the right opportunity – Maru is the best platform for such development.
Ged Parton is a veteran in the market intelligence industry, who has most recently held Global CEO roles at Synovate and Ipsos. A highly respected thought leader, Ged regularly publishes thought provoking material and can be seen on stage at events, including chairing the ESOMAR Congress in 2011.
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