Social Chain founders exit the business after six successful years

Steve Bartlett

The founders of Manchester-based social media group Social Chain have left the business.

Steven Bartlett and Dominic McGregor founded the social media and marketing company six years ago.

Today, the business employs around 750 staff in five offices in Manchester, London, Berlin, New York and Munich, with a turnover of £178m.

The business works with brands including Amazon, Coca-Cola and Apple, and has achieved an owned media reach of more than two billion views a month.

At the end of 2019, Social Chain became a publicly listed company on the Xetra electronic exchange and the Düsseldorf stock exchange.

Following its fifth acquisition in recent years in January this year, Steven Bartlett said: “These strategic acquisitions allow us to continue laying the important and necessary foundations in order to deliver our ambitious global vision.

“Today’s announcement is one of many steps we intend on taking to further accelerate our growth in 2020. The industry should brace itself.”

However, yesterday, he tweeted: “PERSONAL NEWS: Today I informed my team, my friends, and my family that after 6 years as CEO of Social Chain, I would be stepping down.”

He went on: “Social Chain was conceived on a small desk in the backroom of the uni I had just dropped out of in Manchester. I was 20, full of wild dreams, and I believed we could take on the world.

“What started as a crazy and sometimes ridiculed idea, in the mind of a few drop-out underdogs, at a time when people didn’t believe in the potential of this new thing called social media, turned into the most unforgettable ride of a lifetime.

“As I write this, at 27, we have more than 700 Social Chainers around the world, a world-beating team, we went public last year, we are the best at what we do, and we’ve just posted record numbers. The company is showing unbelievable momentum and I remain Social Chain’s biggest fan, supporter, and believer.

“I owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to my team, past and present. If it wasn’t for you (and mum and dad), I would be nothing. As a fairly public CEO, I’ve unavoidably taken an unfair amount of credit for what we achieved together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and thank you to all of you that have supported and believed in me.”

Dominic McGregor added: “This business has been my rock, even when I faced difficult times in my personal life. The purpose it gave me, and the people I worked with got me through – they gave me something to fight for and without it, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Writing on LinkedIn, Bartlett said: “Soon it’ll be time to dream again.”

Wanja S. Oberhof, currently Co-CEO of Social Chain AG will retain his position as chief executive.