Digital transformation consultancy secures private equity backing

Hippo Digital, a design and delivery consultancy, has received an investment from Growth Capital Partners, a private equity firm which partners with SME fast-growth owner-managed businesses.

Since its inception in April 2016, Leeds-based Hippo Digital has established itself as a supplier of digital leaders, service design teams and delivery expertise in support of large scale digital transformation programmes to public and private sector organisations.

In the current 20/21 financial year Hippo Digital’s workforce has grown from two to almost 200, targeting a turnover of £19m with a client base that includes health and care providers, financial services and government departments.

Its successful acquisition and integration of Converging Data – enhancing its data analytics and cyber capability – has also helped to fuel growth.

Demand for Hippo Digital’s services has increased during the pandemic. The company has provided key services to combat the impact of the virus, and supported digital transformation in the public sector.

Co-founder Robert Coop said: “The work Hippo Digital has done with the health sector during the pandemic has demonstrated the resilience of the business.

“It has been able to contribute to the public sector and its increasing use of digital technology.”

Growth Capital Partners’ (GCP) investment will help the consultancy continue to create hi-tech jobs in Leeds and Coventry and expand into areas including Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle and London.

And this investment should see it grow from 200 to 400 people over the next three years.

Liz Whitefield, director, said: “GCP specialises in supporting high-growth UK businesses and we are really excited to be working with a team of experts who not only have proven expertise in our sector but absolutely get our culture, something all our Hippos align to and which is at the heart of our success.”

Co-founder Adam Lewis added: “We’re delighted to have GCP on board, they have a great track record in the digital transformation space and the investment will support the next phase of our growth plan, including implementing the new Hippo Academy.

“We were focused on finding a partner that can support us and in GCP we have found like-minded people and we’re excited to work with them going forward.”

Alex Thomson, partner at GCP, said: “We are thrilled to have completed an investment to support the exciting growth plans of Hippo Digital.

“Hippo is a specialist digital transformation consultancy with an exceptional track record in designing and delivering digital services that are of critical importance to their clients.

“The business has grown impressively over the past few years and Hippo has a differentiated culture that reflects technical excellence and client centred delivery.

“We look forward to an exciting journey of supporting Adam, Rob, Liz and the rest of the Hippo team as the business continues to innovate, deliver for its clients and grow.”

Clearwater International were the advisers to Hippo Digital, in a deal that was led by partner Richard Goldsack.

Goldsack said: “It has been a pleasure to deliver an exceptional result for the team who have established Hippo as a leading digital transformation consultancy.

“GCP will be an excellent partner for Hippo, and their investment will enable management to continue to invest in people and innovation, capitalising on Hippo’s growth potential.

“I look forward to seeing management and GCP take the business to another level during the next stage of their journey.”

The shareholders and management team of Hippo Digital were also advised by Squire Patton Boggs, with a team which included Paul Mann, David Milne, Mae Salem, Nathan Bentley, Joshua Lodge and Emily Downie.