Shape enters into a new partnership with Waterland for a major global venture

App consultancy Shape aims to become the largest in the world in its field in partnership with Waterland Private Equity, which buys the majority of shares in the company.

Shape was founded in 2010 with an ambition to become the largest and best app supplier in Denmark.

Today is Shape has grown to over 100 employees with a customer portfolio that includes international heavyweights such as IKEA, Red Bull and Credit Suisse as well as a large number of Danish companies such as Fitness World, Bang & Olufsen, OK amba, Solar, Aller Media, Novo Nordisk etc. . At the same time, Shape is one of the country’s leading digital consultancies measured in terms of both annual growth and earnings. Waterland Private Equity buys the majority of shares in Shape with a common goal of creating the largest consultancy in app development on a global scale.

The company was founded in its time by Christian Risom, Nicolas Linde, Ole Gammelgaard Poulsen and Philip Bruce, who also founded and spun off the game company Shape Games, which itself grew to over 120 employees before it was sold. In 2020, the day-to-day responsibility for Shape was handed over to Kristian Duvald Friis, Søren Ulrikkeholm, Allan Aurelius and Villads Riber Mink, while the founders form the consulting house’s board from their joint company Upright Capital.

The ambition with Shape has always been to achieve a unique market position through long customer relationships, work that demonstrably contributes to the customers’ bottom line and a focus on being the best in the market for developing apps. This ambition must now be continued on a global level, and here they have found the obvious partner in Waterland Private Equity. Waterland was founded in 1999, is led in Denmark by Kaspar Kristiansen and has previously invested in well-known agencies such as DEPT, iO and Sideshow.

Shape enters into a partnership with Waterland on a major global ventureWaterland’s approach to acquisitions and business development through the buy-and-build model, as well as their specialization in elevating well-established companies to the global level, sets them apart from other funds. With Waterland’s entry, Shape will form a strong platform for further organic growth and expansion through acquisitions.

Christian Risom, co-founder of Shape, says about Waterland and the upcoming expansion:

“Upright Capital chose Waterland as a partner to create a global product agency powerhouse because their musketeer spirit and ability to make quick decisions gives us flexibility and strength like no other. Shape must go out and form partnerships with the app specialists who have so far preferred to stand on their own two feet rather than accept offers for acquisitions and rollups from generalist agencies. The new ownership group is looking for the elite, not the breadth of the market. We will continue to be known for making the best products in the world in our field.”

The global growth ambitions for the new partnership are large and require significant investment. Over a number of years, the digital consultancy houses have undergone a major consolidation, in which Waterland has participated with several portfolio companies. Consolidation has been limited among companies specializing in app development, but Shape and Waterland will now invest in the area.

For the day-to-day management, development is the natural next step for the company. Kristian Duvald Friis, CEO of Shape, says the following about the new partnership with Waterland Private Equity:

“Waterland has understood our business model and culture. Shape was created to develop premium apps that make our customers winners in the digital world. Together with Waterland, we will strengthen our business and promote our competences to the delight of the customers. We continue to firmly believe that the digital battle must primarily be won on mobile – and we want to create the strongest international platform for that.”

At Waterland, expectations for the investment are also high. The experiences from previous investments in consulting houses and agencies, which have become market leaders through international expansion, will be a decisive factor when the ambitions for Shape are to be realized. Kaspar Kristiansen, Managing Partner for Waterland Nordics, says:

“Shape has created a strong platform and a well-run business by focusing uncompromisingly on competences, quality and customer satisfaction in a market with good development opportunities and growth prospects. We have great faith that the management and employees of Shape, with the right investments, can assert themselves globally and fulfill the growth ambitions in the coming years, and we look forward to contributing to the positive development.”

The change of ownership does not entail any changes in the day-to-day management or the organization, and existing customer relationships are not affected. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

Source: IT-Kanalen by

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