Not all BEE partnerships are made equal but the one between entrepreneur Shaka Sisulu and Retroviral Digital Communications seems like a great match. Sisulu has announced that he has a 51% stake in the digital agency. He has partnered with the agency in his personal capacity.
Though acquiring the 51% stake is new, Sisulu has had a relationship with Retroviral Digital Communications since 2011 through his digital and social agency, Plum.
“Retroviral has established a significant track record for delivering innovative solutions to blue-chip companies and specialises in creating and implementing not only award-winning campaigns but solutions that meet their customers’ business objectives; to enhance sales. With this partnership, (co-founder, CEO and chief creative strategist of Retroviral Digital Communications) Mike Sharman and I are well positioned to further entrench Retroviral’s leadership position”, Sisulu says in a statement to Bizcommunity.
Plum and Retroviral have respectively had success in the new media space. Both are considered to be pioneers of social media influence in South Africa and are two of the most decorated digital PR and amplification agencies on the continent. Retroviral is known as the agency that has topped others on the continent in making a number of brands trend globally. Not to be overshadowed, Plum has engineered the word of mouth that drove South Africa’s most successful digital campaigns over the past three years.
“With me becoming a shareholder of Retroviral, the two businesses will work in tandem. It is our vision to grow our combined revenues from around R30m to over R100m in five years through this alliance,” says Sisulu
Sisulu and Sharman are confident that this transaction will benefit their respective businesses and client bases alike.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts with this relationship,” says Sharman. “By having two best-of-breed strategy, content creation, content dissemination and reporting/insight businesses play alongside one another, we keep our nimble approach intact while continuing to trump the larger agencies on disruptive scalability.”
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Even though Sisulu’s 51% stake moves Retroviral’s empowerment status to BBBEE Level 2, Sharman makes it clear that this collaboration is not just about BEE scoring. “Shaka brings diversity into Retroviral’s ownership structure, but this is no superficial empowerment deal. We are bringing two disruptor agencies closer together in order to continue producing award-winning work. Shaka and I share the same vision and have only the greatest respect for each other,” he says.
Retroviral is in the process of appointing a new board. Sisulu will serve as Executive Chairman and Sharman will continue as company CEO. Sharman also retains 49% ownership of the company.