Late April we announced that Waterland Private Equity had acquired a majority stake in Shape, as we set out to forge the leading digital product agency worldwide. Today we are excited to announce that Bontouch has become our founding partner on that journey.
This alliance represents the coming together of two Scandinavian industry powerhouses, leveraging their respective strengths to enhance and augment their mobile-focused approach to digital product innovation. Shape and Bontouch aim to spearhead a new type of agency constellation that is rooted in the Nordics but one that will have global implications.
Founded in 2010 by Pontus Axelsson and Martin Forsling, Bontouch has grown to become the leading iOS and Android product agency in Sweden with close to 300 people across offices in Stockholm, New York, London, Åre, Östersund, and Kalmar. In 2022, operational management of Bontouch was handed over to Mayako Fagerfjäll. Over the years they have built award-winning mobile apps, websites and voice apps with renowned brands such as Post-it®, Swedish Railways (SJ), PostNord, and Swish among others.
Shape was established in 2010 and has a client roster that includes international heavyweights such as IKEA, Red Bull, and Credit Suisse, as well as a host of renowned Danish companies like Fitness World, Bang & Olufsen, OK a.m.b.a., Solar, Aller Media, and Novo Nordisk. The company was founded by Christian Risom, Nicolas Linde, Ole Gammelgaard Poulsen, and Philip Bruce and is managed by Kristian Duvald Friis, Søren Ulrikkeholm, Allan Aurelius, and Villads Riber Mink.
"This is a monumental milestone on our journey. The similarities between our two companies are clear as day and we share a common bond from being part of the app industry since the very beginning. This strategic move not only strengthens our position in the market but it also forges a powerful alliance that will redefine the Nordic mobile app landscape. Our collaboration will enable us to harness our collective strengths, and deliver even greater mobile apps that surpass industry standards. This partnership marks an exciting start to what we started late April alongside Waterland Private Equity, and we are eager to embark on this transformative partnership, shaping the future of mobile app development, " says Kristian Duvald Friis, Managing Director at Shape.
Shape and Bontouch will work together on existing and future projects where clients and employees alike can benefit from the combined expertise of this new constellation. Mayako Fagerfjäll, CEO of Bontouch on the new partnership, "We have always believed that our novel software startup as-a-service model not only leads to superior outcomes, but is universal and globally applicable. We believe that Bontouch has found a common app soulmate in Shape. Their product quality, their internal culture and way of engaging clients are very similar to ours at Bontouch. We want to demonstrate that our common approach to product development works equally well on the global stage.”
The new partnership will continue to grow organically while pursuing international expansion through acquisitions of digital product agencies that have achieved a leading position in their respective markets by delivering best-in-class mobile apps, with Waterland Private Equity serving as the ideal partner. Founded in the Netherlands in 1999, the European private equity investor has perhaps the longest and most distinguished history of successful international agency expansions in all of Europe.
Expectations at Waterland are also high. Kaspar Kristiansen, Managing Partner for Waterland Nordics, says, “Bontouch and Shape are both leaders in a premium market segment that they helped create. Together they constitute the perfect platform for further growth and expansion. We have great confidence in the management and employees, and look forward to contributing with our rich expertise in building global market leaders.”
The partnership with Bontouch will not entail any changes to the day-to-day management or organisation of the company, nor will existing customer relationships be affected. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the partnership.