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Case study

Media technology pioneer transitions from scrappy startup to digital leader grown-up at record speed

Client: Global media company

Our Role: Define and implement sophisticated new business operations and processes to support a public business at a global scale

Industry: Technology, Media and Telecommunications

Services: Finance, Operations

Client Challenge:

Taking a startup’s digital operating model to IPO-ready operations at a global scale

Imagine for a moment that you’re an internet startup, one of the so-called a very short period of time, you’ve transformed global consumer patterns through a unique and innovative business model. Suddenly you wake up and find that you’re no longer small and experimental. You’re operating in over 50 countries worldwide, you have millions of users, and you need access to public capital markets to continue to grow. In practical terms, that means establishing an executive office in a major financial center in your principal market and upgrading unconnected global processes and infrastructure into a single unified system that can support ongoing public financial disclosures. And here’s the catch. Because of the nature of your digital business, there’s no distinction between your front and back office systems-- they’re all one-- and there are over 50 of them. This is going to be seriously complicated.

“We appreciated the client’s trust in us. When they asked ‘how would you do this, if it were your company?’ we understood what was at stake.”

- Romit Dey, PwC Principal


Speed, seamless integration with the client, a holistic approach

Because of the company’s dramatic success, competition was beginning to heat up. Time was of the essence. The public offering needed to happen for the company to maintain momentum and it needed to happen fast. Fortunately, the new Controller had hands-on experience with PwC through prior engagements with other organizations. Together with the Controller and the CFO, we immediately adopted a model of swift, real-time response, emphasizing a cross-functional, holistic approach to each distinct challenge. We relocated key PwC specialists from our strategy, management and technology practices in Silicon Valley to the client’s European headquarters and initiated design of a new, scalable operating model. Once the new processes and controls were mapped, we helped the cross-functional leadership team select a cloud-based ERP system and build an implementation roadmap. Our goal was seamless integration globally across the company’s financial ecosystem.

That was the easy part. Multiple revenue sources along with evolving business models — including programmatic ads, subscriptions, a bundled OEM model, and platform-based marketing, among others— added up to enormous complexity for the design of new processes and enabling technologies. It was critical to have an operational design that would scale with changing business offerings and support automated controls around an enormous volume of contracts.

PwC specialists in go-to-market strategy, business process architecture, standard data models, analytics, and enabling technologies were able to work hand in hand with the leadership team to define and implement sophisticated new business operations and processes to support a public business at a global scale.


A successful transition clears the way for future growth

Is the client happy? You bet. Here’s why:

  • They executed a highly successful capital raise, meeting all internal and external milestones.
  • They established and operationalized a US headquarters and operations hub.
  • The company’s proprietary application platform integrates seamlessly and efficiently with the new financial and operational systems, allowing them to continue to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
  • Robust, scalable, and transparent processes and systems support the evolution of the company’s highly innovative and diverse business models at a global scale.
  • Financial cycle reporting time was reduced from 9-10 months to 10 days.

Speed and scale within a dynamic and exceptionally innovative environment were the defining characteristics of this project. Working closely with global teams and their headquarters, PwC helped our client design and implement a scalable new global operating model in under 12 months.

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Contact us

Romit Dey

Advisory Partner, PwC US