Leeds firms Hippo Digital, The Data Shed merge

Leeds-based digital services partner Hippo Digital has acquired Leeds-based data consultancy The Data Shed.

This acquisition takes Hippo Digital’s headcount close to 400 and revenues in excess of £40 million.

The merger will enable it to continue to grow at pace in the NHS and central government, where it has a track record for delivering effective digital services, as well as expand further into the private sector, where it has had recent success.

Hippo Digital said it plans to grow the business to over 500 employees.

Founded in 2016, Hippo Digital is headquartered in Leeds with offices in Manchester, London, Bristol and Birmingham.

In April 2021, Hippo Digital received investment from private equity firm Growth Capital Partners (GCP) to support the next phase of growth.

Founded by Anna Sutton and Ed Thewlis in Leeds in 2013, The Data Shed has grown to 70 employees. Its clients include NHS Digital, Equifax, Emerald Publishing, GAMSTOP and Ecology Building Society.

“Hippo Digital has been on a mission to transform the delivery of digital services across the NHS and central government since being founded in 2016,” said Hippo Digital.

“Both Hippo Digital and The Data Shed have experienced exceptional double-digit growth in the last year, and demand for their services continues to increase.

“The coming together of these two businesses creates a nearly 400-strong team and a new alternative to the traditional, legacy systems integrators and digital transformation organisations that have historically dominated this space.”

Hippo Digital CEO Adam Lewis said: “The Data Shed has an impressive track record of delivering for clients and has established itself as a real leader in the data field.

“This acquisition significantly strengthens our data and engineering capabilities, helps us solve wider problems for clients, and The Data Shed’s private sector experience extends our reach.”

The Data Shed chief commercial officer Ed Thewlis said: “Hippo and The Data Shed are united in the belief of doing what is right for our clients and adding value every step of the way.

“Value and good design are at the heart of every project we complete.

“By bringing the two businesses together, we believe that we have the talent and the experience to disrupt the current market offering, driving meaningful transformation to more clients and ultimately driving better outcomes for citizens and customers everywhere.”

The transaction was supported by Grant Thornton (finance and tax due diligence), Squire Patton Boggs (legal and legal due diligence), Armstrong (customer due diligence), Vista (insurance due diligence) and The Data Shed advisors KPMG and DWF. NatWest provided funding for the transaction, and legal support was provided to NatWest by Addleshaw Goddard.