INTERVIEW: Christo Davel and Carlton Hood speak about 22seven & Old Mutual deal

Last night saw the announcement that Old Mutual Plc had purchased South African tech startup 22seven, “as part of its strategy to develop digital support for its customers.”

HumanIPO further reported last night that Old Mutual and 22seven believed because of their “closely aligned vision” it was easier to conclude the deal.

This sentiment was further repeated by Carlton Hood, Marketing Director at Old Mutual, when in a chat with HumanIPO he said that the 22seven proposition fits in with their strategy of being “a trusted advisor to customers”, as already tech startups customers trust it with their financial information.

Hood said: “The idea is to build long term relationships with customers”

But where and when did the relationship between 22seven and Old Mutual begin that resulted in the deal?

Hood explains: “It was about 6 months ago when Christo was looking for funders, investors and more importantly corporate partners that could leverage the 22seven customer base.

“We used to work together in 1998. So when Christo contacted Old Mutual six months ago I came down to meet him in Cape Town. As Old Mutual we liked the 22seven team, and we liked the product.”

Hood adds: “But I told Christo that the only way this is going to work is if it’s a purchase and not investment or just partnership.”

For Davel, it was about finding the right partner. He explained to HumanIPO that he always “dreamt of having a large enough customer base in order to be able to venture overseas”, and as such the deal made sense as Old Mutual will provide them with this.

The alignment between the two companies is based on “doing more with your money”, with 22seven the tool that helps customers manage their money online and Old Mutual the trusted advisor.

Hood was quick to emphasise that, first and foremost, Old Mutual want customers to see them in this advisory role, and only after this is established will the selling enter the equation, with a long-term relationship with a customer built on trust.

On the technology aspect of 22seven, Davel revealed that their iPhone App is in the testing phase and that they are aware that mobile Web is key. They will be building apps for the prominent mobile platforms.

Hood added that for Old Mutual 22seven is a different proposition to the Nedbank App suite.

“They are separate products, but there’s a lot of synergy in the back end,” he said.

Plans are already underway to expand and roll out 22seven to the rest of Africa thanks to the footprint that Old Mutual enjoys on the continent.

Posted in: FeaturedStartups

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