Panoramic invests in young British tech

  • Growth capital will help British Ad Tech company expand their team and internationalise
  • Sixth investment by Panoramic’s Enterprise Capital Fund I

Panoramic Growth Equity (“Panoramic”), the leading equity investor in fast growing, entrepreneurial companies, today announced that it has invested £1.2m of growth capital in digital marketing business, Captify Media Limited (“Captify”). Captify is the leading European specialist in Search Retargeting, the most innovative and fastest growing sector within the ad tech industry. Panoramic will take a minority stake in the business and partner, Malcolm Kpedekpo, will join the board.

This is the sixth investment for Panoramic’s Enterprise Capital Fund I, which held its final close in September 2010 and was oversubscribed at £34m. It follows Panoramic’s April investment of £1.8m in Andante Travels; and its January exit from renewable energy distribution business, Solfex Energy Systems, which was sold to Travis Perkins Plc and generated an IRR of 62% for the fund in a period of 16 months from initial investment.

This is also Panoramic’s second investment in the digital media sector. In March 2012, it invested £1m in award winning digital communications business, Dog Digital.

Captify was set up in July 2011 by young entrepreneurs Dominic Joseph (28) and Adam Ludwin (25). Both came from marketing and online media planning backgrounds and recognised the potential of a fast growing area of digital marketing known as search retargeting.

Captify has experienced 280% YOY growth, and generated multi –million pound revenues in their first two years since inception.

Panoramic’s investment will support the business’s expansion plans both in the UK and internationally. In the immediate term, management intend to double the size of their UK sales, operations and analysis teams. Over the next twelve months, they plan to launch in strategic, high potential digital markets internationally, and continue with technology product development.

Although search retargeting is developing rapidly in the US, it is still emerging in Europe; and Captify is currently the only business in Europe to specialise in it.   Captify’s key customers are media buyers that manage marketing budgets for large corporates; and brands such as Warner Brothers, SKY, BMW, Hilton and American Express.

Captify’s search retargeting technology enables advertisers to obtain new customers online, targeting users with banner advertising based on the search terms that those users have recently submitted on major search engines. This is a step beyond site retargeting where consumers are required to visit a website before being identified as a potentially addressable customer. Captify’s proprietary technology allows them to determine the value of a customer from a range of over 150 characteristics, analysing a user’s purchase intent to significantly increase targeting precision and subsequently generating a higher return on investment for advertisers.

Captify is included in the Accelerate 250, which is selected by Lord Young and Sir Terry Leahy; and was named as a SMARTA winner in 2012 as one of “the most original, exciting, resourceful and disruptive business in the UK”.

The company has a team of c. 30 based in London’s Covent Garden. The founders have assembled a board of industry heavyweights consisting of Vincent Potier (advisor to leading media planning agencies & member of the IAB behavioural council) and Sean King (CEO of Seven Publishing).

Co-founder and CEO Dom Joseph commented:

“We have come a long way since establishing Captify. In less than 2 years, we have managed to work with over 150 leading brands, built a fantastic team of almost 30 and experienced rapid growth. Captify has always been a profitable business and so have been able to self-fund to date. However, we have now reached a critical point where we feel ready to take the next step. This means accelerating growth in the UK and establishing our presence overseas. We need capital to fund this but perhaps more importantly, we wanted to find an investor that can support and reinforce our rapid growth.

“Panoramic was one of a number of investors that we received offers from and they stood out as the right partners to help us achieve our ambitions for the business. Not only are they business owners themselves, they have an established track record of growing smaller businesses into bigger, more profitable enterprises. Of particular relevance is the support that they have given Dog Digital in establishing a Singapore presence and we felt that we could learn a lot from their experience.”

Co-founder Adam Ludwin added:

“Our space is exploding. The market is more evolved in the US, but the UK and Europe are catching up fast. As the leading Search Retargeting specialists in Europe we are at the forefront of technology innovation, and it’s an exciting challenge as a young British business to be entering the international playing field.”

Malcolm Kpedekpo, partner at Panoramic Growth Equity, commented:

“ Dom and Adam are a fantastic example of UK entrepreneurism and precisely why we choose to invest in businesses like Captify. They have tapped into a huge growth market and built up a well respected business in a short time frame – a great achievement for any entrepreneur, but all the more impressive given that they are still both in their twenties.

“Collectively the Captify team has deep technological expertise. We bring to the table experience of having worked with over thirty small businesses with revenues of £1m-£10m, and specifically of helping them internationalise. As business owners ourselves, we also understand the issues that businesses face and have tailored our approach to their needs. We look forward to seeing Captify go from strength to strength.”

Advisers to the transaction were:

David Kirchin/David Anderson – HBJ Gateley (PGE Lawyers)

Rory Paterson – Ampelm (PGE Commercial diligence)

Amanda Merion/James Kesner – KSW 1 (PGE Financial diligence)

Ed Baden-Powell – Simkins (Captify lawyers)

Lee Cory – Jago Capital (Captify Corporate Finance advisors)