Kiwi tech success story Timely sold for NZD135 million to an international investor. We spoke to Dave Curlewis, Timely’s Head of Platform Engineering, about the road to acquisition and the small part that Parallo were proud to play.
Timely started as an appointment booking engine for beauty businesses and expanded into full, end-to-end business management software. It considers itself part of the beauty industry, not a tech company.
The company’s Head of Platform Engineering, Dave Curlewis, says they first reached out to Parallo in response to a clear-cut issue. They were growing fast and needed additional support to ensure that platform issues were dealt with swiftly.
“We were dealing with a couple of gnarly tech issues, and with no level of premium support, our support tickets were having to wait in the queue. It was painful,” says Dave.
This was a serious business risk for Timely during a phase of fast-paced growth and opportunity. They needed to be sure their platform issues could be solved quickly. Dave says they had two options – pay for premium support or work with a specialist partner to manage and remove platform related distractions. The decision, in the end, was easy.
“As well as that premium-level support, Parallo is so easy to get hold of; they speak the same lingo and could offer a bunch of other stuff as well.”
It wasn’t until Timely and Parallo began working together that Dave realised the true value of that “other stuff”. Dave says he was “pretty impressed” with Parallo’s high-level capability early on.
“I was meeting with the senior architects and security people. Having that experience in the team was extremely valuable for me,” says Dave.
With Parallo supporting his strategic planning and technical decisions, he could more readily focus on product and growth. Other people in Dave’s team also “made good use” of Parallo’s expertise, but when Timely leadership began quietly prepping the company for sale, that support came into its own.
Seemingly overnight, Dave and his team were asked to fast track due diligence and remediation work in the roadmap. And ‘fast track’ is an understatement.
“The timelines were ridiculous,” laughs Dave. “We’d planned to spread it over a year, and we had to fit it into three months.” Parallo, of course, helped.
Having the extra hands-on deck to chew through the work was a big part of the solution, and Dave says the specialist experience on Parallo’s team was crucial.
“Our lead on the project is a jack of a lot of trades, but not a master of networking. We leaned on Parallo a lot for that,” explains Dave. All those efforts paid off, with Timely selling for over 100million.
Post-sale, it’s business as usual at Timely, and Dave’s team still leverages Parallo’s specialist knowledge. “Our people do the day-to-day button-pushing and knob-turning, but the consultancy stuff, where we jump on a call and have a bit of a whiteboard session or throw around a few ideas, that’s where we’ve seen some real value.”
Timely is in the middle of adding to the team and appreciates Parallo’s support there too – it means they can take the time to hire just the right person. “It’s like we have a reserve in the team while we’re looking.”
Parallo really are an extension of the Timely team. “They gel very well with our culture. It’s like I’ve got an extra two or three people on my team, with skills I can easily draw on.”
Dave Curlewis, Timely | Head of Platform Engineering