Unruly acquired by News Corp
16th September 2015, London UK
Unruly, based in London’s Tech City and led by co-founders Scott Button, Sarah Wood, and Matt Cooke, is one of the world’s most innovative ad tech companies, getting videos watched, tracked and shared across the open web, increasing viewer engagement, brand performance and publisher revenues. Its platform has attracted top tier advertisers and brands, including Adidas, Dove, T-Mobile, Evian, Go-Pro and Renault.
Amadeus, along with Endeit Capital and BGF backed the company in January 2012, since then Unruly has seen a period of sustained growth, continuing to launch ground-breaking products, making a number of significant strategic acquisitions and international joint-ventures, expanding to 15 offices across the world and winning numerous awards. Revenues have grown to nearly $50m in its most recent financial year.
Unruly founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Scott Button says: “We have had great support from our three institutional investors and I know that they would have been happy to continue backing our growth, but the opportunities and synergies of being part of a major global media business like News Corp offer us a hugely exciting prospect. We are now looking forward to a completely new phase of development.”
Commenting on the exit, which will produce strong returns for the three investors:
Stephen Welton, CEO of BGF, said: “Unruly is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurs like Scott, Sarah and Matt are given access to flexible funding options, and have the confidence to take calculated risk.
“Over the past four years, growth capital has helped Unruly move into new markets, expand the team, increase revenues and create value for the founders and shareholders. As one of BGF’s first investments and now representing our first full exit, we are truly proud of what the Unruly team has achieved – and we look forward to backing more and more entrepreneurs just like them.”
Amadeus’ Richard Anton commented: “I am proud to have chaired the company through our first year until Mike Kelly joined and to have introduced them to their joint venture partner, Fast-Track, in Asia. We wish them all success under their new owners.”
Martijn Hamann, Partner at Endeit, added: “We have been impressed with Unruly’s founders and their local teams around the world in executing and monetizing the social advertising ecosystem through Unruly’s platform. I am proud to have been able to back and actively support the internationalisation journey of Unruly, especially in Germany with the acquisition of Shareifyoulike, and we wish them a great future as part of News Corp.”
For further information please contact:
Jon Rhodes for BGF, +44 (0)7974 982 334 Jon.email@example.com
Chantal Ligertwood for Amadeus, +44 (0)7976 229 210 firstname.lastname@example.org
Martijn Hamann for Endeit, +31 (0)653 726 743 email@example.com
In March 2015, BGF invested £3.75m of growth capital in British menswear brand Oliver Sweeney.
Led by an obsession for footwear that has fuelled the brand’s expansion, Oliver Sweeney has become a British menswear success story, manufacturing and selling shoes, clothing and accessories that are an ingenious take on traditional craftsmanship. With a passionate team in London and a factory of craftsmen in the Italian Marche, the brand’s signature blend of contemporary design, skilled manufacturing and superlative customer service has resulted in an obsessive customer base of stylish men searching for something different.
The business was founded in 1989 and was bought by its current owners Maurice Helfgott and Amery Capital in 2009. Amery has a focus on investment in retail and consumer related businesses.
The investment will be a significant boost to Oliver Sweeney, and will enable amongst other things a new marketing strategy as well as the introduction of Licensing as a principal channel.
Oliver Sweeney operates six standalone retail stores in the UK (four in central London, and one each in Manchester and Leeds), as well as the growing e-commerce site oliversweeney.com, and employs 60 staff.
CEO Tim Cooper is the brand’s Cobbler-in-Chief, and has been a footwear industry leader for over 30 years. Chairman Maurice Helfgott, who introduced the deal to BGF, is Chairman of Amery Capital, and currently sits on the board of Moss Bros plc and as well as being a former Main Board Director of Marks & Spencer.
As a part of the investment, Investment Director Alistair Brew joined the Oliver Sweeney Board as Non-Executive Director, and Adam Leigh, who successfully led and sold The Communications Agency, joined as Independent Non-Executive Director.
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.”
Unruly Launches Analytics Dashboard
World’s Largest Video Sharing Database Now Provides Historical and Real-Time Analytics
Video technology company Unruly today launches a real-time analytics dashboard which allows advertisers to gauge the social impact of their current and previous social video strategies versus their competitors. Released in open beta today, Unruly Analytics™ is based on the company’s proprietary technology, which has tracked seven years’ worth of historical video sharing data across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere. The cloud-based dashboard has been beta-tested by some of the world’s biggest advertisers and measures content from 1,300 brands across all verticals.
“Unruly Analytics is super easy to use, has a sleek user interface and offers beautiful data visualization which updates in split seconds,” said Irène Labus, Analytics Director, Havas, who has been beta-testing the product.
“What’s most valuable about the product is that the real-time data tracks such a broad spectrum of branded video content, across paid, owned and earned media.”
The solution is available in two versions. The Benchmark Edition is used to effectively measure a brand’s social video footprint against its competitors while the Campaign Edition provides real-time insight into a specific campaign’s performance and ROI.
Unruly Analytics provides:
- Cloud-Based Access: Login wherever and get real-time insights into video performance to quickly pull reports, measure success and inform future strategies. The data is collected every 60 seconds so you can always have an accurate picture of what’s happening;
- Enterprise-grade software platform: Robust, stable product based on seven years of research and development;
- Data Visualization: Create a variety of simple and elegant visual representations of vast sets of data in seconds. Present them in an wide choice of classic and cutting edge visual analytics – including pie charts, bar graphs, polar charts and even streamgraphs!;
- Historical and Real-Time Analysis: Capture data from specific timeframes e.g. last quarter, last year and past 24 hours;
- Competitive Analysis: Benchmark a brand’s social video performance to outsmart the competition;
- Granular Metrics: Track a broad variety of metrics, including total shares, shares by platform, views, views by platform, comments and likes;
- Easy to use: The solution is easy to use and requires zero training.
“We are seeing an explosion in the social video market and brands are struggling to keep pace with how to measure the medium and report the success and ROI. Four billion items are shared on Facebook every day and 700+ YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute,” said Matthew Cooke, CTO and co-founder of Unruly. “Unruly Analytics bridges the gap between the big data deluge and the ability to pull actionable insight from video content tracking. Brands can now benchmark the success of their individual video campaigns or calculate their total share of voice versus their competitors.”
Unruly has tracked over 329 billion video views and tracks 1.6 million videos at any one time (in real time). Some of the data used in Unruly Analytics also powers the Unruly Viral Video Chart™, which has been trusted since 2006 by advertisers worldwide to track their video content.
Many platforms don’t begin tracking content until users have identified the content and asked for it to be tracked by entering it into the database themselves. Unruly Analytics is already tracking 1,300 global brands and counting. This is the reason why users are able to access historical data and competitive intelligence as soon as they log in to the dashboard, with no set-up required.
Predictions are that global online video advertising spend will rise to $10 billion by 2015, with internet ad spend expected to account for 59 percent of the growth in total ad spend between 2012 and 2015. In such a fast-paced environment, it is critical that brands have access to up-to-the-minute statistics.
Unruly Analytics is the latest in a line of Unruly™ products released in 2013. It completes Unruly’s capability to provide end-to-end campaign support to its clients, from creative solutions and content evaluation, through video distribution, social tracking and now customizable benchmarking.
To register your interest in trialing Unruly Analytics, please click here.
Tech City’s free pop-up university opens
LONDON — 30 January 2013 — Unruly, the award-winning global technology platform for social video advertising, has partnered with City University London to open a free pop-up university designed to inform, inspire and empower the next generation of Tech City entrepreneurs.
Located at the heart of Tech City, City Unrulyversity is provided by leading academics from City University London. The venture will be opened today by Stephen Welton, Chief Executive of the Business Growth Fund and Bruce Daisley, UK Sales Director of Twitter.
City Unrulyversity combines academic rigour and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge with practical relevance from the world of business. The lectures offer advice on everything from creative thinking in agile app development to fast track venturing. It kicks off with a taster session by the University’s Dr Caroline Wiertz (Cass Business School) and Twitter’s Bruce Daisley.
In this Theory Meets Practice session, entitled ‘Does chatter matter? Word of mouth influences on consumer behavior’, Caroline and Bruce join forces to show how academic research can inform and guide business practice by discussing a study on Twitter’s impact on consumer word-of-mouth and product adoption. All sessions are interactive and focus on sharing knowledge, challenging assumptions and reflecting on business practice.
“This is just the kind of creative collaboration that makes Tech City a unique place to locate and grow a business. Great things happen when start-ups collide with academia and I’m looking forward to more of this happening within our community. I’m delighted that Unruly and City University London have created this new innovative way of sharing and thinking with the Tech City cluster to help the next wave of entrepreneurs grow and flourish,” says Joanna Shields, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Tech City Investment Organisation.
“BGF is passionate about entrepreneurship which is the lifeblood of our economy. City Unrulyversity is a brilliant and original idea; a great way to reach beyond the traditional boundaries of academia in a practical and exciting way. The UK has so many innovative young people. If we can inspire and guide them, and bring them a fresh way to access the very latest in education, then I believe we will truly empower the next generation of business leaders,” says Stephen Welton, Chief Executive of the Business Growth Fund.
“City Unrulyversity is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between academia and the start-up community and its mission is to inspire and engage the next generation of digital entrepreneurs,” says Sarah Wood, Co-Founder at social video platform Unruly.
“Historically, new forms of educational opportunity have accompanied moments of exceptional creativity and we hope that this groundbreaking pop-up university will help to nurture tech and business creativity with its stimulating, cross-disciplinary programme and help to bridge the digital divide with its open door policy.”
“We are committed to taking an active part in the growth of Tech City and have much to offer,” says Professor Paul Curran, City’s Vice-Chancellor.
“Our graduates are amongst the country’s most employable, our cutting edge research can be applied to digital businesses and we can supply world-leading consultancy, start-up support and specialist facilities.
“We’re pleased to be collaborating with Unruly in City Unrulyversity and we look forward to further collaborations with Tech City businesses.”
Individuals who attend five City Unrulyversity sessions will become eligible to apply to Cass Business School’s entrepreneurship fund, a £10 million venture capital fund providing growth equity to start-up and early stage companies.
To register for the full list of the free courses, please click here: http://www.unrulymedia.com/city-unrulyversity
Broadbandchoices.co.uk appoints new Chairman
broadbandchoices.co.uk, the UK’s leading Ofcom-accredited comparison site for switching broadband, phone and digital TV services and BGF portfolio company, today announced the appointment of Tobin Ireland as Chairman of its Board.
The appointment, which is effective immediately, rounds off an eventful year for the switching site. The business was named one of the UK’s fastest growing companies for the second year running, in this year’s Tech Track 100 Awards and in August it secured funding of £10 million from BGF. The business also launched 3 European sites (Comparaiso.es, Letamis.fr and Schlaubi.de) and on this coming Boxing Day, will begin its first national television advertising campaign as it seeks to build its UK brand awareness in 2013.
Tobin has over 20 years experience in the European TMT sector and has served as the Commercial Director of BSkyB, the Chief Marketing Officer of AOL Europe, and the Global Commercial Development Director of Vodafone. He is also an active investor and advisor to early stage companies in the mobile internet space and has sat on the Boards of Vouchercloud, Amobee, Finsphere, eHarmony and Green Man Gaming.
Michael Phillips, managing director of broadbandchoices.co.uk commented:
“2012 has been a hugely successful year for our business and we are keen to maintain this momentum throughout 2013. Now is the right time to appoint a chairman to help propel us to the next stage in our expansion. The investment from BGF brings exciting challenges with it and a chairman of Tobin’s calibre will provide invaluable board leadership and ensure rigour in our strategy so that we reach our long term goals.
“Tobin was genuinely excited about our proposition and has the right blend of experience in telecoms brand development that we were looking for – his input will help progress our European operations as well as build on our UK presence.”
“broadbandchoices.co.uk is at an exciting turning point in its growth cycle. They have enjoyed phenomenal success over the last seven years and have exploited the current economic gloom to turn it to their advantage. The business is now ready to implement a rigorous strategy to strengthen the portfolio of brands and scale operations. I am delighted to be on board and relishing the opportunity to be a part of this dynamic company’s evolution.”