Group Director of Strategy and Performance at Majestic Wine
Neil has nearly 20 years of experience in consumer internet with experience at large companies such as Amazon and smaller growth companies such as Naked Wines. Neil joined Naked in 2016 as the business 6 months after Majestic Wine purchased the company and his role was to run Strategy where he was responsible for getting the right data architecture in place for Naked’s growth plan. After a MBA at Harvard in 2008, Neil spent 4 years at Amazon running various categories before launching a startup which eventually sold to Google in 2014. Neil also previously worked at Betfair and is now VP of Growth at Moneybox, a UK fintech startup. Read more
Neil, can you start with a short introduction to your background, please?
My name is Neil Campbell and I am currently the VP of Growth, at Moneybox, who are a financial management app, focusing on wealth management, ISAs, lifetime ISAs, etc., for young people. My background, in general, has always been in consumer internet. I started off at OC&C Strategy Consultants and after a stint there and an MBA at Harvard, I worked at Amazon for many years. I ran handheld electronics, in the UK – mobile phones, cameras and satnavs. After that, I did a startup with a bunch of Amazon guys, called Rangespan, which was eventually sold to Google. Then I had a brief stint at Betfair and three years at Naked Wines, before joining Moneybox about a year and a half ago.
Did you join Naked after the Majestic Wine purchase?
Yes; it was probably about six months after the deal had gone through. Rowan was in place as the CEO and he was at that point where he was filling out the management team with various people; some Naked people he had brought over but also some external hires, like myself.
I guess your role was to come in and professionalize the growth plan for Naked?
Yes; I had a whole range of roles at Naked. A lot of the time, I headed up the structure of things that Rowan was thinking of and how we could approach it. I’m quite a data-led person, so a lot of it was, do we have the right kind of data stuff in place. But really, a whole range of things.
Why was Naked growing relatively slowly, under Majestic?
That’s an interesting question and it probably points to the reason that, ultimately, the two were separated, which was just a management time thing. Taking on two very different organizations, with very different cultures and very different approaches to their business and different challenges, is just a bit of a distraction. One of the reasons that the Majestic deal happened when it did was that, essentially, the realization was that Naked Wines USA, as led by the current CEO of the group, Nick Devlin, was just absolutely flying. They realized that was the big opportunity here and, if we’re going to go after that, then you need the focus on it and you need all your resources to be put towards that.
That was really part of the reason that Naked grew slower than it could have done, under the Majestic ownership and has boomed since. Obviously, it has been helped very much by coronavirus, as being a pure, online business. But yes, that is probably one of the reasons.
Obviously, there is the million-dollar question as to what would have happened if we hadn’t had Covid, but would you have expected a product market fit in the US, even without coronavirus, for Naked?
I think the main impact of coronavirus has been to accelerate a bunch of trends that were already happening. Working from home and doing Zoom calls like this was always something that was happening and, for a proportion of the population, it just happened a lot quicker and became a new thing, very quickly. Once we get past the vaccine stage, we’ll be back to a point where it will settle down at a much higher level. I think you have seen the same in internet retailing, in the UK. One of the most advanced markets and it was sitting at about 25% penetration, ex-grocery. The word on the street now is that it has jumped to 40%. It was always increasing, but you’ve just seen that jump come a lot quicker.