Tech entrepreneurs sell mobile app design business Grapple for £40m
Thursday 05 September 2013
Two London tech entrepreneurs are enjoying a windfall after selling
their mobile app design business, Grapple, for almost £40 million just three
years after setting it up.
Former advertising executive Alistair Crane, 27, and serial investor Jamie True, 36, will collect the lion’s share of the £39.4 million from the sale to AIM-listed mobile payments firm Monitise.
True is the largest shareholder in Grapple with around 37%, according to Companies House, making his stake worth around £15 million.
Crane has a double-digit stake and is likely to collect well over £5 million.Grapple, which featured in the Evening Standard’s Growth Capital column last year, makes apps for blue-chip clients including BSkyB, Procter & Gamble and Whitbread.
Crane said Grapple’s success came from a twin focus on making sure its apps “look bloody brilliant” and “driving as much commercial revenues as possible” for clients.“We have a particular focus on making it as easy as possible for consumers — that is human beings — to make transactions.”
Grapple has turned down several bids “from day one”, but Crane said the attraction of selling to Monitise, a £800 million company, was its financial backing and global footprint.
Annual results for Monitise, which processes mobile payments for banks and credit card companies, today showed its revenues doubling to £72.8 million. “This is not cutting edge, this is mainstream now,” said chief executive Alastair Lukies.
Pre-tax losses tripled to £51 million after an acquisition spree, but “month-on-month profitability is within touch” and it has £85 million cash.
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