In our regular Start Me Up feature we rarely feature new agency-side ventures.

However, with Acquire we’re making an exception and that’s because the affiliate management company’s co-founder is Tom Wright, 2013 winner of The Digitals Rising Star award.

We caught up with the co-founders to ask what it’s like to start your own affiliate business.

In one sentence, what is your product/service?

Acquire is a boutique affiliate management business.

What problem(s) does it solve?

The affiliate marketing industry is experiencing exponential year-on-year growth, with more and more publishers, technologies and opportunities entering the arena every week.

For any business trading online, affiliate marketing’s increasing complexity commands greater attention, understanding and application if they are to maximise their return from this lucrative channel. 

Acquire has been set up as a boutique affiliate management business to lend unwavering focus to the affiliate channel on behalf of an advertiser.

The infrastructure of affiliate marketing is largely automated through the affiliate network, which has resulted in a noticeable complacency among existing agencies to rely on this automation as the complete service, becoming reactive instead of proactive and being just another questionable layer in the supply chain.

Just because this format exists does not mean it’s good enough. So when we started to conceptualise Acquire, not only were we faced with modernising the way affiliate programs are managed to benefit from the industry’s growth, we were also faced with reaffirming the value of the affiliate management agency within the performance marketing stack. 

For us it was a clear decision to make Acquire a boutique style business. In order to deliver on what we defined as the blueprints of superb service, we would need to ensure every client we worked with received the time required to deliver that service. This is why we will only be working with between four to six clients (depending on size) whilst it’s just Tom and I.

If and when we want to grow, we’ll look first to bring on board a specialist, who in turn brings extra capacity. We are positioned as a premium business following on from our mission to deliver outstanding work and a service head and shoulders above our competitors.

We don’t want our clients to be just another name on a long list that feel overpromised and under delivered. We believe the agency came into existence to harbour specialists, experience, relationships and knowledge – with this comes a responsibility to keep everyone on their toes and feeling challenged. We believe a boutique format honours this responsibility and allows for great work to flourish.

Tom Wright and Tom Holland, founders of Acquire.

What are your immediate goals?

Business wise, we’re currently focusing on establishing relationships with our first clients who will form our founding client base. Service wise, we’re knitting together all available opportunities from publishers, tech partners and networks to spot gaps and allow us to assist in the development of the landscape. 

What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech or your team?

I think the hardest part was being brave enough to remain true to our original vision and challenge the existing agency model that has a functioning track record. We’ve made it to launch day true to our original mission statement, with everything materialising in alignment to our vision.

As a service-based business, it will be immediately noticeable if we don’t follow through on our promises, this commitment to quality will ensure a high standard of service. 

How will the company make money?

We charge our clients a fixed monthly management fee with a commission tied to the performance of the program. 

Who is in your team?

For now it’s the tale of two Toms. Tom Wright, a previous director at GDM Digital, and Tom Holland, previous publisher manager at Affiliate Window. 

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?

One year: We’d like to have our first account director and potentially an additional specialist working on four to six accounts. Three years: we aim to have our peak structure of one AD, three specialists, Tom and myself working on between eight to 12 accounts.

By our fifth year we’ll look to expand our services to cater for our clients’ international efforts. The digital landscape, let alone the affiliate space, moves rapidly, so it’s hard to see where the industry will be, let alone Acquire.

I think the key thing to remember is that we’re building the business to adapt and unfold as the industry does, keeping our service current and valuable.

Other than your own, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?

I love Elf Yourself. Shamelessly.