Scroll to Discover
back to top
Graphic featuring individual images of Hunt & Hawk co-founders Ryan Devlin and Sonya Vanjicki along with the words 'Meet the Founders' written in bold, white text.

Hunt & Hawk delivers a range of branding, sales, and marketing solutions. The business originated after co-founders Ryan Devlin and Sonya Vanjicki first met in Brisbane.

Everyone loves a good founding story.

Some of the world’s biggest brands are the result of two co-founders coming together at just the right time.

There’d be no Apple without Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, no Microsoft without Bill Gates and his rocky relationship with Paul Allen; even Ben and Jerry’s started when high school friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield decided to launch an ice cream business because it had lower overheads than a bagel shop.

Meanwhile, Hunt & Hawk’s origins began when sales expert Ryan Devlin first met branding and marketing guru Sonya Vanjiciki at Brisbane-based firm Panalitix back in 2014.


“Panalitix at the time was transitioning from a coaching-based business to more of a coaching-with-technology type of business – or essentially a SaaS company for accountants,” Ryan said.


“I came in towards the end of what was their coaching business to sell their software platforms as a Business Development Manager.”

It was here that Hunt & Hawk’s co-founders first encountered each other, with Sonya having started at Panalitix two years before Ryan and ultimately rising to the position of Global Marketing Director.

The pair bonded over similar outlooks on business and a shared sense of humour, with Ryan’s real estate background and proven sales experience helping him to stand out from the crowd in an industry dominated by accountants.

“It was just nice to have someone with a fresh perspective, who was willing to understand sales from a marketing point of view,” Sonya explained.


Hunt & Hawk co-founders Ryan Devlin and Sonya Vanjicki standing side by side against a garden backdrop.

Hunt & Hawk co-founders Ryan and Sonya first met in Brisbane.

When One Door Closes, A New Business Opens

After forming what Sonya describes as an “instant connection” in the lunchroom at Panalitix, Hunt & Hawk’s co-founders ended up working together at the firm for the next four years.

However, a series of internal changes and personnel departures sparked a period of upheaval for the business – one that ultimately saw Sonya seek new pastures.

It was a decision that sparked the genesis of Hunt & Hawk.

“I walked into the office one day and was like: where’s Sonya?” Ryan said. “Some of the guys replied, ‘oh, Sonya no longer works here… she’s finished up with us.’

“I remember walking out at lunchtime and calling her to get the lowdown.

“I tendered my resignation later that day!”

While the pair admit their time at Panalitix came to a somewhat anti-climactic end, they’re quick to credit chief executive Rob Nixon with helping to instill an “entrepreneur mindset” in them both.

The workplace also helped to open doors.

“Once a quarter, you were talking to people outside of your own community and the wider accounting industry – people in the software industry, or running disparate businesses, who were successful in their own right,” Ryan said.


“There were Founders, CEOs, marketing agencies, event planners to name a few – we were constantly surrounded by people who looked at the world differently to the way we did.


“They all had this mentality of: here’s a problem, what’s the solution? How can we deliver this better?”

Along with helping to open doors, the experience of watching those around them succeed in business helped spark the idea of one day founding their own.

Panalitix held events that opened the door to all these amazing international keynote speakers,” Ryan said.

“One day you’re selling accounting software and then next thing you know, we’re on the same stage as industry leaders.”

It was also a formative experience for Hunt & Hawk’s other co-founder.

“We undertook a lot of personal development throughout this time as well,” Sonya added.

“Attending TEDx and the Business Chicks events that would have really inspiring speakers – we actually got to meet Simon Sinek a few times, and Todd Sampson on another occasion.”

From Lunchroom Idea to Launching Hunt & Hawk

Having kicked around the idea to start a business through countless lunchroom chats, the move happened in earnest once Sonya moved on to do her own thing.

She says that having been on the frontline of sales and marketing alongside Ryan – and with plenty of accounting and SaaS contacts needing help with anything from generating leads to full website builds – it made sense to dive head-first into starting their own business in late 2017.


And while the vision of utilising an in-house team of creative experts to fully integrate sales and marketing took shape organically, Hunt & Hawk got off to somewhat humble beginnings.


“Our first few clients were people in our network,” Sonya said.

“They were either former clients or associations we’d made from our time working in the accounting and SaaS industry.”

Having invested their own capital and starting off with a handful of clients, the business grew exponentially over time.

Interestingly enough, Sonya says one of the toughest parts of founding the business was coming up with the name.

“When we started, we just dove straight in,” Sonya explained.

“We set up a website, created a logo, and had our really Unique Selling Point (USP) that revolved around why Ryan and I worked so well together.

“That USP was basically a combination of Ryan having this genuine sales mentality – like a hunter – and me having a bird’s eye view of the marketing landscape and really being able to zero in on that target, like a hawk.”

“So we called ourselves Hunt & Hawk.”

Lessons Learned Along the Way

While it hasn’t always been smooth sailing – not least navigating a global pandemic – Hunt & Hawk has gone from strength to strength since first opening its doors seven years ago.

The two co-founders admit they’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.

After founding with just two employees, the business is now home to an experienced team of sales and branding experts, marketing strategists, graphic designers, and content writers who service a diverse portfolio of clients across the globe.

“We’re at a place now where we’re able to make only senior hires who are proven experts at the top of their game,” Sonya said.


“I think that’s an invaluable lesson for anyone who’s just starting out in business – invest in hiring the most qualified candidates you can find, it will not only get you better results, but save you time and money.”


“Having said that, had we taken more time to create our brand, and set up systems with better expert advice along the way, we’d be much further along.”

As for why new clients should sign up to have their sales and marketing amplified by a team of battle-hardened professionals, Ryan says it all comes back to the experience he’s gleaned working in tandem with Sonya over the past 10 years.

“The experience we’ve gained along the way has really allowed us to broaden our scope and figure out what works and what doesn’t,” Ryan said.

“More importantly, the one thing that really separates Hunt & Hawk from all the other agencies out there is this… no one is bringing together a branding with sales, or a marketing with sales and tech type solution.

“Those are all separate silos in other agencies or internal business teams.

“Whereas at Hunt & Hawk, your sales and marketing are joined at the hip to take you higher.”

Get in touch to find out how we integrate sales and marketing to help build your business from the brand up.

Or for marketing, sales, branding, and tech news and insights, follow Hunt & Hawk on LinkedIn.