Waracle acquires Screenmedia in digital design deal

Dundee-based design and technology services firm Waracle said it agreed a deal to acquire Screenmedia, the Glasgow-based design and software engineering agency, in a move to further develop its digital product development capability.

Over the last 16 years, Waracle has grown from an Abertay University spin-out to a business with revenues of over £20 million. The firm has offices in Dundee, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The acquisition is being made with the support of Waracle’s growth capital investor BGF, for an undisclosed sum.

Waracle has a client base that includes Lloyds Banking Group, Royal London, ScottishPower, Roche and Imperial College London.

The acquisition allows Waracle to branch into new sectors, adding transportation, retail and the third sector to their primary industries of health, energy and financial services.

“The acquisition will pair our 145-strong team – with its expertise in mobile app, digital product development and AI – with Screenmedia’s award-winning team of 60 to take Waracle to 200+ employees,” said Waracle.

“We have decided to make this strategic move to bolster our digital product development and AI offerings, as the market evolves and the technology services industry focuses on artificial intelligence and its impact on software development.”

Waracle CEO Chris Martin said: “We are ready for the new wave of AI-enhanced, intelligent customer experiences.

“This is a strategic business decision to continue our growth. We reviewed what we needed to succeed going forward and this acquisition was a key part of the answer.”

Martin will be CEO of the new combined operation while MD Kenny Shaw will step back from day-to-day operations as Screenmedia become part of Waracle.

“Screenmedia has a successful track record in crafting compelling user experiences across web and mobile, working with the likes of Edrington, BBC, NHS, Channel 4, Next and Honeywell,” said Waracle.

“It also has a Bafta on its boardroom shelf for Best Interactive Media.

“The acquisition, made with the support of our growth capital investor BGF – for an undisclosed sum – allows Waracle to branch out into new sectors, adding transportation, retail and the third sector to our primary industries of health, energy and financial services.”

Shaw said: “Waracle has an impressive track record across regulated industries and our team at Screenmedia have a broad cross-section of sector experience.

“I think our new, combined organisation will make us a formidable force in Scotland’s technology consultancy space.”

Waracle CEO Martin said he was clear that further organic growth alongside strategic acquisitions would ensure Waracle was able to stay ahead of the demands of its clients.

He said: “This is the first step in our ambitious plans to grow by acquiring design and technology services agencies with complementary skillsets.

“We want to continue to employ talented technologists to solve our clients’ digital problems and be able to service changing client needs across the UK by covering a wider range of technologies like service design, artificial intelligence and sensors …

“There are a lot of large, London-based technology consultancies attempting to grow their presence north of the border. We are doing the same in England and we have a strong and growing team there with ambitious plans for further acquisitions.

“We want to capitalise on our reputation as an unrivalled mobile development partner and continue to take those problem-solving abilities across the UK, to make sure that technology challenges are being addressed by talented, local and engaged teams rather than near-shoring or off-shoring solutions.”

Waracle was founded in 2008 by Michael Romilly, David Romilly and Mike Wharton as a spin-out from Abertay University.