Spotlight On: Connor Archbold, co-founder of Tracksuit
Connor Archbold is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Tracksuit, a New Zealand-founded brand-tracking startup with fast-growing Global traction. Tracksuit is challenging traditional research companies by offering an affordable, accessible, and elegantly designed brand insights tool.
Our investment notes from February of this year hailed Tracksuit as one of New Zealand's most exciting early-stage growth stories. We did this for the simple reason that we believe brand matters. A program that enables businesses to measure it—especially in such a compelling way—is a no-brainer.
Since those notes, Tracksuit has experienced significant growth. Expanding from a New Zealand-based team of 22 to a team of over 50 with offices in Auckland, Sydney, the UK and NYC in just six months.
To say that Tracksuit is a rocketship would be an understatement. We recently sat down with Connor to dig deep into his multifaceted career journey. His experience spans corporate attorney and COO roles; he even ran a surf retreat in Nicaragua. We chat about how Tracksuit is breaking through the clutter and offering a streamlined, budget-friendly solution that makes understanding real-time brand metrics easy and enjoyable.
Suppose you're intrigued by the idea of marketers regaining their rightful seat at the decision-making table? Contemplating how to build your company's brand? then this interview is for you.
Blackbird: You've had a fascinating career. Could you tell us a bit about your background and journey from being a corporate attorney to meeting your co-founder and starting Tracksuit?
Connor Archbold: Fascinating and a little bit meandering at times!
I started my career as a corporate lawyer in New Zealand. After a few years, I desperately wanted to get into startups, so I helped raise a fund and launch Auckland’s first accelerator programme, Lightning Lab. I then joined Mish Guru, which scaled globally, and I eventually became the COO based out of NYC. Mish is also where I met Matt, Tracksuit’s Co-Founder, who was Head of APAC. After Mish, I worked as a fractional operator for a few awesome companies (👋 noissue and Outfit). Somewhere in there, my (now) wife Kath and I lived in Nicaragua for a year and ran a surf and yoga retreat!
When Covid hit, our first daughter was on the way, so Kath and I moved back to New Zealand, and I started working with venture studio Previously Unavailable. We became obsessed with the growth ceiling that modern consumer brands hit there. We (alongside our partners TRA) hypothesised that if brands paid attention to top-of-funnel data and revenue and conversion data, they’d be able to burst through the ceiling because they’d invest in and build future demand. That was the genesis of Tracksuit!
Blackbird: Historically, brand tracking has been limited to expensive consultancies or complex global research agencies. What sets Tracksuit apart, and how have you created a more straightforward and affordable option?
CA: We've created beautiful, radically affordable, always-on-brand tracking by automating and simplifying an old-school market research service globally.
Rather than brands receiving a quarterly or annual 150-page research report, we’ve put all of this juicy brand research into a beautiful and user-friendly dashboard that updates with data in real-time. This means marketing teams, their stakeholders and agency partners can all access key brand metrics (like their awareness funnel and brand sentiment) and monitor them in a modern, digital way.
Blackbird: Your website mentions envisioning a world where marketers gain more prominence and spend less time justifying their actions to sceptical stakeholders. Can you tell us a bit more about what that means in practice?
CA: Marketers are constantly fighting for their seat at the table and having to prove that what they’re doing is working. It’s often difficult for them to maintain their marketing budgets or advocate for more investment because brand building is ambiguous and hard to measure. Tracksuit helps marketing teams demonstrate the impact of their work by providing real insights from real consumers in datasets that are easy for all stakeholders to understand.
Blackbird: From bootstrapped beginnings to attracting investors and now launching a NYC office, how have you navigated the challenges of rapid growth while staying true to the brand's core values?
- We’re really clear on what our north star is and our guiding values, and we use that to inform all the decisions we make on a global scale.
- We’ve created a high-care and high-performance culture by building a team in each market that is kind, thoughtful, empathetic, wildly ambitious, and competitive. We want to do the best work of our lives, and we deeply believe that we’ll do that while maintaining healthy work/life relationships.
- Continuing Tracksuit rituals as we scale and embed them in each market. We do weekly coffees and share our peaks and pits (highs and lows), every new starter in Sydney spends a week at Auckland HQ to get to know the team and be immersed in the culture, and we’re flying all of the team back to New Zealand for the Christmas party this year to have quality time with everyone.
- Practically, we deeply believe in spending time with each other. So, the entire senior leadership team is leaning into travel and helping establish our incredible culture in our new offices.
Blackbird: Lastly, what do you find most exciting about the future of Tracksuit?
CA: The team! It all comes down to this incredible team we’re lucky to be creating. I’m so excited for us all to grow together and for thousands of people to have done the best work of their lives (and enjoyed doing it) while building Tracksuit!
Your spotlight on:
A book that is worth reading or a film you loved:
I read for fun mainly. Sorry if you’re expecting a startup growth manual… A book I’ve reread recently and gifted often is John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley in Search of America.
A podcast you never miss or your favourite music album:
Frank Ocean: Channel Orange is The album I LOVE listening to from start to finish (which is rare these days).
The last great article you read:
Give away your legos (I share this article with someone from the team weekly)
Someone to follow on social media:
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