Q&A with Andrew Wessels of The Marque
Founder and CEO
The Marque is a managed digital profile service that gives its members the means to control the information found about them in online searches. A Marque profile is concise, elegant, and ranks highly in search results. It marries Profile Owners’ online presence with their offline persona to leave them in control of how they present themselves in the (now unavoidable) digital landscape.
Since its inception in 2015, the Marque has grown to become the de facto source of information about successful people – typically in the second or third stages of their careers, covering their career highlights, board positions philanthropic activities and more in one findable piece.
We now live in a digital age and Google tells people who we are – it you don’t own it, it owns you. Marque profiles are authoritative. They’re expertly curated, complete and elegant, and cede control to the profile owner.
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Tell us about your background and how you got into the industry.
I grew up in South Africa and was lucky enough to enjoy a successful career as a professional cricketer. That gave way to a career with JP Morgan, then a series of successful start ups. It was after I exited my last start up – managed telecom provider, Storm Solutions – that I came across The Marque quite by accident.
I was researching the career evolution of leading business figures and trying to find their online profiles. It was surprisingly hard to do. At first I couldn’t believe that nobody had addressed this market and that’s when The Marque was born.
Who is your target audience?
People who have multiple business interests, typically in the second or third stages of their career. A business person who has, for example, a CEO role, a non-executive directorship, philanthropic interests or various businesses or roles. The sort of person for whom a digital footprint’s unavoidable, but who hasn’t aggregated their information in a way that positions them properly.
What are some of the challenges you face in this market?
Servicing volume! We have massive interest, and we’ve just taken on a new round of staff to help us scale. Our front end is quite labour-intensive and we’re perfectionists – so our Profile Directors take real care in crafting brilliant profiles. Then we look after our clientele – there’s ongoing monitoring, updating their profiles, keeping them updated with the rankings, plus we hold a series of small, discreet events.
How are you different from your key competitors? Who are your key competitors?
I’m delighted to say we’re unique. Our key selling points include not being prey to endless networked approaches, and having a locked down page with 100% secure data. And we vet our clients carefully – if a Marque profile isn’t going to add value to their interests, we decline, because we want our clients to benefit from a collective strength in their profiles.
Unlike some of the more mass market products, we’re 100% advertising free, we’re safe from data harvesting and from unwanted approaches.
How are you changing the landscape in your industry?
Quite simply, we’re filling a gap in the market at a time when that gap is growing exponentially. The need to own your digital profile is now crucial. If you don’t own Google, it owns you. People are really grasping that concept now.
We’ve also developed a rich new seam of clientele – The Marque works brilliantly for Boards. While a board might have high profile members it’s worked hard to cultivate and is justifiably proud of, the board itself is very rarely presented across all its member profiles. We’ve just closed a contract with the Robert F Kennedy Foundation Board and see this as a major new stream of business.
Who is your ideal investor?
We’re in the fortunate position of not having to raise investment. Our clientele frequently approach us to invest, but we’re not looking to raise any more capital right now.
What is your mission?
To expand globally. We love what we do, we have a really strong offering people find compelling and we want to expand this into new regions and countries.
What’s next for you?
New territories are next. We began as UK based, we’ve just opened offices in New York and Hong Kong, and we’re planning on breaking new territories in the coming year.
Andrew Wessels of The Marque
Andrew Wessels is the Founder and CEO of The Marque. A natural communicator and a successful entrepreneur in his own right, he traded a first-class cricket career in his native South Africa for a British-based business trajectory; from J.P Morgan Investment Management to Carphone Warehouse where he helped set up the Wireless Internet Portfolio (later to become Frontiers Capital).
Since then, Andrew has focused his energies on innovative start-ups and helping launch Marquis Jet in Europe following their successful launch in the USA (later sold to Netjets) and Storm Solutions, a telecoms business he successfully exited in 2012.
Whilst pondering his next business move, Andrew spotted a gap in the market that gave rise in 2015 to The Marque; a platform designed to meet the needs of successful individuals wanting to establish a readily searchable and accurate digital profile, without the concern of unsolicited approaches associated with other platforms.
A global innovator in managing online profiles, Andrew is now steering business profiling into its digital future with a profile management business for the 21st Century.
With a strong client base in London, New York and Hong Kong, The Marque has recently expanded into other territories in the US, Europe and the Middle East.