Welcome to this Stanish inquisition. A podcast where Stan Zylowski, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Movista talks with guests about anything, from family life to personal life, recipes for success or grandma's potato salad. The name is dark, but the content isn't. It's often unexpected, occasionally funny, sometimes irreverent, but always interesting.
Hello and welcome to the most exciting (ever) edition of the Stanish Inquisition. Today we are delighted to be making a big announcement and there's several people on the show today that aren't necessarily, or are not normally here. We're delighted to have them all on board and to sort of help us work through the announcement and to ensure that this comes across in the best possible way, because he is in fact a professional. We have Kevin Coupe with us from Morning Newsbeat. Kevin, good morning.
Good morning. How are you this morning?
Outstanding and fully caffeinated. Hope you are as well.
Glad to be here to be a guest host of this special edition of the Spanish Inquisition. And I am joined by Stan Zylowski, co-founder and CEO of Movista. And April Seggebruch, who is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Movista. As well as with Stefan Midford, who is the president and CEO of Natural Insight. And, well why don't one of you guys take it away and let's start with your announcement. Big deal.
We have reached terms after what seems like only 41 years of negotiations with Stefan and Natural Insight, to do a financial acquisition and a business merger with Natural Insight. So after competing mightily and viciously, really from the beginning of our firms, we decided to take all that energy and put our backs together and go out and take on the world, and we could not be more delighted about this development.
So a question that always comes up when these kinds of deals take place, and I would be remiss if I did not ask the question, is it a merger? Is it an acquisition? Is there a difference?
Well in our opinion, one is a financial discussion and one is a practical description of what's happening in the business. So what, what that means is that the investors and our financial backers are providing benefit to the investors and ownership at NI [Natural Insight], so from that sense it's an acquisition. From a business perspective, it's a merger. I can tell you that one I think is being impacted in the entire parlance of all of the employees. Both of the teams are going to continue to work the way that they have been working. They're going to run in parallel. Now, look, 12 months down the line, 18 months down the line, are we gonna look for ways to coordinate and push things together? I'm certain that we will, but in the short term, this is about taking a bunch of really, really smart people based in Northern Virginia and a bunch of equally smart people and me based here in Arkansas and, and putting all of us to work, to solve this big problem for folks. So it's an interesting question. So short answer, business-wise it's an acquisition, but practically it's a merger. And I recognize that it may not be as clean as people would like, but it's the reality. So that's what we kind of have to deal with. Right?
Yeah. I think from Natural Insight's perspective, Stan's exactly right, right? That there's a financial consideration that says, 'Okay, good, investors in Natural Insight and ownership here have a financial consideration in this as an acquisition. The investors at Movista have an investment in this in helping to grow their business and grow the opportunity. But when you think about the two companies, both companies have had long track records of growth and both companies have succeeded year over year at continuing to move the ball on technology on the innovation in retail. And so all this does is brings that set of intellect and power and people and resources together and spend our time trying to work jointly to have a bigger joint effect than a competing effect that we had before. So I think we align our resources a little bit more strategically now to just accelerate the growth and continue on with the track record that we both set for numerous years.
Are the greatest challenges and or opportunities in a move like this-- are they cultural, are they infrastructural?
I'll say, first off, I'm ecstatic to not continue to have to go after each other anymore. I was getting exhausted. So there's an upside. There's a positive. But no, I think there's a lot of opportunities economically speaking. Yes, of course. There's an equal amount of opportunities from a technology standpoint of taking two market-leading technologies and taking the best of the both, and merging them together. There's also a lot of upside and opportunity from a people/human resource standpoint. There is of course going to be challenges of 'how do you take two ways of working, and blending that to one?' At the same time, if you look at the way that Stefan and Stan and I have attacked this transaction, this opportunity over the last nine months, we've been very, very thoughtful. We've been very, very thoughtful with each other, very, very intent and desired to understand each ways of working. Because we understood that if we didn't get this part of it right, the people part of it right, we wouldn't get the train on the right track from the beginning. So for the last nine months, very thoughtfully, [we've been] working to understand each particular perspective as well as each particular way of working. And what we think we've done is come up with a great plan that allows these two sets of very talented people to come together and to flourish as a single team.
I think culturally we were already very aligned and similar in sort of thought process and in some of the ways that we saw the challenges at retail and how we could contribute to retail. That's what's exciting for me as we bring these two teams together is there's just obvious synergies between the opportunities for these teams to work together. And their passion for the technology, for the customers, for the industry, comes out on both companies. And I think that's one of the things that's the most exciting here: this just doubles down on that bet, on moving the industry forward in a thoughtful way.
When you're both talking to existing customers, what's the core message that you would like them to take away? April?
It's a great question and it's an important one to us. There's a couple pieces, all wrapped up in: we're putting together the best people in the industry, the best technologies, to bring you the same level of experience from a support, from a functionality standpoint, from a day-to-day interactions from what you can expect from us. We like to say, 'all you can do is expect more from this merging of Movista and NI. Really quite simply, we sum it up by saying we're better together. That needs to be felt by our customers and that will be felt by our customers.
I think from my customers and all of the customers, and you know, whether it's existing or prospects, innovation in retail technology is something that we're all pressing as hard as we can, to keep up those competitive juices to deliver more value to our customers. And so by combining and merging these two groups of smart people together, we can increase our innovation rate. We can deliver better solutions faster and continue to impact their ability to be successful at retail. And so the more we can do that, the better everybody is.
If you're going in to see a prospective client, what's the key takeaway you want them to take?
When we think about retail and the resources that these two companies bring together, I think the understanding [is] because this is all we do. We don't do systems for healthcare. We don't do systems for teachers. We do retail and everybody in both of these companies is invested in constantly doing that, interacting with all parts of the retail ecosystem. And so for prospective customers, what that brings is a level of expertise and knowledge of the industry, the trends of the industry, the challenges and the strategies that are going to play out in the next 24, 36, 48 months. And how we're going to deliver solutions to help them, not just today with what they're doing today, but how are we going to help them two years, three years from now. And so the joint intellect that we bring to that conversation I think is outstanding.
Last question. What question haven't I asked that you want that you would like to answer?
Well, if anyone's wondering who gets to pick the restaurants when we get together, we've all seated that to Stan. No more restaurant picking unless it's from Mr. Stan.
Well, there's a backstory there. Just, when you want to get these deals done and you want to do them the right way, it starts with the leadership coming together consistently over a significant period of time. And ultimately that meant a lot of, 'Hey, let's meet up in Chicago or let's meet up in DC, or let's meet up here or there, whatever.' And yeah, as the heaviest member of the team, I tend to want to monopolize that, but we've had some fun along the way. Right Stefan? I mean, at some point we had fun.
We've had some fun. I'm going to let Stan pick the restaurants, but I'm going to pick the cities from now on. Because Branson was definitely warmer than that trip to Chicago.
That's fair. I think that's a great compromise. You're a gentleman, very much so.
Well, one thing I definitely want to make sure people know is that we have enjoyed being with you, Kevin, on this, on the podcast. And they may have further questions that we didn't answer even though we felt like we answered everything, and if they do, we want to encourage them to go to retailbettertogether.com. That's retailbettertogether.com, no spaces of course. Where they can find an FAQ section, some letters from Stefan and I, just more information-- pretty much anything and probably more than you would ever want to know about this deal. And then, of course, they can continue to be in contact with their account managers and Stefan, or myself or April, whoever they normally deal with. No one's going away here. So we are plunging into the future. Stefan, thank you for hopping on this call and thank you for your partnership throughout all of this.
This has been great. We're just about to step off on the next exciting phase for both companies and I think it's going to be tremendous.
As do we. So April, thank you for co-piloting today.
It's nice to have you in. All right. Until next time, on the Stanish Inquisition, this is Stan Zylowski at Movista in the Ice House, signing off. Have a great day.