Acquisition creates £4m digital agency

SME funder River Capital backs acquisition of Chester firm by Liverpool digital marketing agency Velstar, creating £4m combined business. Tony McDonough reports

From left, Jim Moore, River Capital, Daniel Shard of Velstar and Graham Withe of We Influence


Liverpool digital marketing agency  agency Velstar has acquired Chester-based marketing firm We Influence in a deal that creates an enlarged £4m-turnover business.

The transaction was backed by Liverpool SME funder River Capital, formerly Alliance Fund Managers. Using the cash from River Capital’s Business Growth Loan Fund to complete the takeover, Velstar said the ambition was now to hit an annual turnover of £6m by 2024.

Formed in 2016, Velstar specialises in e-commerce. Clients include French Connection, AVON, Castore, Kenwood and De’Longhi and Salons Direct

This acquisition, the value of which was not disclosed, creates a unified agency with more than 50 digital specialists. They work across web design and development, PPC, social, SEO and affiliate marketing.

Velstar chief executive Daniel Sheard says this deal marks the first of many, as the company seeks “meaningful acquisitions” and strategic partnerships as part of its wider merger and acquisitions strategy.

“This acquisition strengthens our offering within the Shopify ecosystem by deepening our marketing services to give our clients access to a team of digital growth experts at every stage of their e-commerce journey, all in one place.”

We Influence’s team will make the move to Velstar’s HQ in Liverpool city centre. In March 2022 Velstar relocated from Mann Island to The Tempest in Tithebarn Street where it occupies 4,298 sq ft of office space. 

Daniel Sheard will remain as Velstar’s chief executive. We Influence’s Graham Withe will take the position of managing director, marketing at Velstar.

Graham added: “What Velstar has achieved over the past couple of years has been impressive. Their skills, experience and services perfectly complement our own, and we’re all really excited about becoming part of their talented team.

Following the announcement, the agency is on a recruitment drive. It is looking to hire an account manager and senior project manager. It is also looking to fill a number of marketing roles.

River Capital investment manager, Jim Moore, also said: “This fund was established to help fuel growth and create and safeguard jobs within the North West. The acquisition of We Influence by Velstar indicates their commitment to doing just that.”

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