Uprise Marketing Acquire Web Development and Technology Company, VSIthinking

Digital and creative marketing agency, Uprise Marketing, has acquired web development and technology company, VSIthinking, for an undisclosed sum as it continues its ambitious growth plans.

The acquisition by Treforest-based Uprise Marketing creates a major new digital marketing and web-technology company in South Wales; UpriseVSI, with a combined turnover of £1.2 million, a combined staff of 21 and a client list which includes both major domestic Welsh brands and national blue chip companies. 

Established in 1996 by its current Managing Director, Mark Thomas, Cardiff-Bay-based VSIthinking specialises in providing web development and software solutions for companies across a diverse range of industries.  It has developed a particularly strong reputation within the travel, leisure and sport sectors, where its clients include the likes of Thomas Cook, Neilson Holidays, The Celtic Manor Resort, Erna Low and Fulham Football Club. 

VSIthinking has also developed a range of its own proprietary software products, which include a Content Management System, an e-commerce solution, online event booking software, a CRM system and project management software.  These platforms allow VSIthinking to tailor or develop bespoke software to meet individual client requirements.

The company also has considerable expertise and experience in integrating existing client software systems and was recently appointed by The Celtic Manor Resort to undertake a major integration of its various booking systems to create a bespoke, single view CRM system.  VSIthinking employ a team of 5 staff, all of whom will be retained within the new combined business.

Founded in 2012, Uprise Marketing provides creative and digital marketing services including web design and development, SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and graphic design.  In the last 3 years, the company has grown to a team of 16 people with clients including Microsoft, Paramount Office Interiors, Edwards Coaches, Park Plaza Cardiff, DS Smith, and Castell Howell.

Gareth Rees Jones, Managing Director of Uprise Marketing, said, “The skills and experience within Uprise and VSIthinking complement each other perfectly, allowing us to greatly accelerate our growth as a company.   Combining the creative, design and digital marketing skills within Uprise with the technology, back-end development and integration skills that VSI provide, will allow us to tender for larger, more complex web projects and provide our clients with a full end-to-end creative, web development and digital marketing solution.

“Having worked previously with VSI as a client, I have first-hand experience of the quality of the projects they deliver and the first-class service they provide.  It is testament to Mark and his team that the business has been so successful, largely through referrals and recommendations.  We now have a fantastic opportunity to use our sales and marketing skills to help bring the solutions that UpriseVSI can offer to the attention of more companies both within Wales and beyond.”

Managing Director of VSIthinking, Mark Thomas, commented, “It was obvious from the start that there was great synergy between the two companies and together we are greater than the sum of our parts, which is an exciting prospect. Our 18 years of technology innovation and our highly experienced team will provide both present and future clients of UpriseVSI with a robust, secure and scalable online platform.”

The deal was part-funded by a loan from Finance Wales who have also taken an equity stake in the new business.  Additional funding was provided by the two founders and majority shareholders in Uprise Marketing; Managing Director, Gareth Rees Jones, and Finance Director, Geoff Thomas, who will remain the major shareholders in the new combined UpriseVSI.  Professional advisors on the deal included Geldards and KTS Owens Thomas acting for Uprise Marketing, Blake Morgan and Hugh James acting for VSIthinking and Broomfield Alexander and Hill Dickinson acting on behalf of Finance Wales.

Senior Investment Executives Cenydd Rowlands and Stephen Galvin structured the company’s investment from Finance Wales. Commenting on the deal Mr Rowlands said, “The acquisition of VSIthinking by Uprise Marketing has created a strong agency, offering customers a comprehensive range of digital marketing services.  South Wales has one of the UK’s fastest growing digital sectors and UpriseVSI will only strengthen its growing reputation. 

“Finance Wales is pleased to back Uprise’s ambitious, high-calibre team.  They have a wealth of expertise and our flexible equity and mezzanine funding package has enabled them to fund this exciting acquisition.   We wish them well with their continued expansion and future growth.”