Digital experience agency Unrvld has acquired Belfast-based digital agency Made to Engage. Adding Made to Engage’s 60 specialists brings the group’s headcount to around 250, while making the most of Northern Ireland’s ‘unfettered access’ to the EU.
Unrvld emerged last year from the merger of digital agencies Kagool and Delete and has four offices across the UK, with a European base in Vilnius, Lithuania. The acquisition adds hubs in Belfast, Dublin and Amsterdam.
The deal comes off the back of partnership work between the two organizations since April of last year.
Unrvld’s core expertise is in the growing space around digital experience platforms (DXPs) – integrated technological arrays that promise interoperability and integration.
Made to Engage specialize in ‘composable architectures’, which Unrvld is betting on as the next big thing in the DXP (and broader digital) space.
“The modularity of marketing tech is gathering pace,” says Unrvld boss Dan Berry. “There’s a bit of a product arms race in terms of martech providers providing more flexibility, choice and modularity to their offerings.” Unrvld have existing partnership status with an array of these technologies, including SiteCore and Kentico – Made to Engage add expertise in another: Optimizely. “From a composable viewpoint, that’s two of the magic quadrant leaders in those products that marketers might lead on for everything from content management systems through to customer data platforms”.
These platforms, Berry says, will only gain importance in the cookie-less future, as first-party data gains salience. “Owning and monetizing your data on a customer data platform, often a part of a composable stack, is the way the industry is moving, and quickly. The business is moving quickly along with it.”
Steven Cassin, former managing director at Made to Engage and now partnerships and alliances director at Unrvld, says that composable futures are about making customers’ lives easier. “Organizations shouldn’t have to rebuild everything from the ground up in order to reap the benefits of emerging capabilities,” he says. “Being able to have this open architecture, bringing together the best of each of the platform providers… is about value for our customers”.
Now, Cassin says, “our technological focus can be on how to leverage these things for the maximum benefit of our clients, rather than staying in single lines of traffic with single platforms.”
Where next for the growing Unrvld group? “This is part of a journey,” says Berry. “We see strong organic growth, but we do see targeted acquisition along the way. I’d expect further acquisitions in the next two to three years. We want to be the forefront, leading pure-play CX and DXP player creating customer experience-led digital solutions.”
In terms of his visions for growth, he says: “we want to offer the services and the completeness that the bigger players have, but we want to still be small enough to care.”