A new era

By June 2016, it had become clear that the merger or sale we had hoped for would not happen. Why would it? Financially we were going backwards, the year ahead was expected to be even worse and the family culture we had worked so hard to build had seen better days. We knew that the train we were driving was about to hit the wall, and that we as the co‐drivers had to make a decision. Do we turn right, left or do nothing at all and plough straight into it? We were in a precarious position and a decision had to be made.

Q: What do we do next?

A: We jump back in and get our hands dirty, fully determined to bring the business back to where it rightfully belonged: at the top of the e‐commerce tree.

Nati Harpatz, why don't you take it from here and tell them the story?

Transforming the Catch culture

Photograph of Nati, Gabby and Hezi: Getting shit done.

Nati, Gabby and Hezi: Getting shit done

Back on track

Now that we were back on board and steering, it was time to set the sails and the coordinates that would take us to the next destination. Getting Tiger Global and the other investors on board was critical to us moving back into the business again. They owned 40 per cent of the group, they were our partners and we could only do it with their approval. But what would they say? What if they said no?

We needn't have worried. Tiger Global, Lee Fixel and our other investors were fully supportive of the plan. We'd been in constant communication with them throughout 2016 and they were aware of the financial and cultural issues we were facing. Compared to their investments in behemoths like, Alibaba and Facebook we were a tiny blip on their horizon, but they were super accommodating and supportive of our desire to take the reins back and become a ‘family’ company again.

We reached an agreement on a price that, as they say, ‘both parties were a little bit unhappy with’, and got back to business.

The buy‐back deal surprised many of our close friends and colleagues. They asked, ‘Why would the founders take a large sum of money out of their own pocket to buy back a business they were themselves struggling to grow?’ It was a good question but, as ever, we relied on our instincts and pushed on. You'll never see us gambling at the casino but this was without doubt the riskiest and the biggest bet we had ever made. We may have looked confident, but we felt anything but. When our colleagues questioned our decision, we said, ‘Talk to us in three years, and you'll discover if we're really smart or really stupid’.

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