Abacus - feature image  - August 2013

August 2013

Leading online service developer set for growth with investment from BGF

BGF has invested £2.25m of growth capital in Abacus e-Media, one of the UK’s leading providers of content management systems and audience development platforms for the media, publishing and public sectors.

BGF’s investment will enable the business to increase its sales and marketing activity, accelerate the development of its software platforms, and expand its offering into adjacent markets including B2C publishing, professional institutions and events.

Abacus’ customers include some of the most influential companies in the media sector with key clients including Centaur Media, Thomson Reuters, UBM, EMAP, Christie’s, Condé Nast and The Law Society. The business offers content management solutions, web design and build through Webvision, and audience development and fulfillment services through ADvance.

Abacus was founded in 1997, and employs 70 people across offices in London and Portsmouth and in 2012 generated revenues of £4.5m. E Consultancy / New Media Age has included Abacus in its chart of Top 100 Digital Agencies for nine consecutive years.

Abacus sells a modular content management system called Webvision that is designed for editors and journalists to manage workflows and publish content intuitively, and without the cost and complexity of bespoke technical development. The software manages multi-channel content delivery over the web, mobile devices, tablets, apps and print.

More recently, Abacus has established an innovative audience development platform called ADvance. ADvance enables publishers and other registration and subscription-based institutions to market, package and fulfill both online and print products quickly and in a coordinated fashion.

This is increasingly important for publishers in a marketplace where the ability to change and monetize online content underpins key elements of their competitive advantage.

In addition to funding, BGF has contributed additional support to the company through the introduction of Nick Caplan as a Non-Executive Director. Nick is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Logica plc, a position he held from 2003 to 2008. Nick is also Chairman of Managed Networks Limited, an IT services provider to the SME market.

Enterprise software for content management and user fulfillment addresses a large and growing market. The global web content management market is approximately $1bn in size and is projected to grow at c.14% from 2009 to 2014, twice as fast as the overall enterprise software market according to research specialists Gartner.

Chris Hodges, investment director at BGF, commented:

“Abacus is an exciting UK software company that has had the confidence and ambition to invest and develop its audience development platform. It has grown strongly and serves a host of impressive clients across the public, media and publishing sectors. Webvision, the company’s core CMS platform, provides a robust platform for investment and growth. I am delighted to be partnering with Steve Feigen to fulfill his ambitions for Abacus.”

Steve Feigen, CEO of Abacus, said:

“What attracted us to BGF was the long term view they take on their investments, and the strong sense that they work to support the vision of the business. Their investment will help us to drive the development of our ADvance and Webvision platforms and to extend our client base much more quickly that we could otherwise have hoped to do. It will also enable us to move more swiftly into other subscription-based markets, the recent adoption of ADvance by Christie’s having provided a clear illustration of strong demand from the wider marketplace. This investment will secure the product roadmap for ADvance while allowing us to strengthen our growing customer services and support operation.”