New Media Business Created, Board Appointments and Proposed Name Change to Iconic Labs Plc
Proactive Investors Stocktube: Published on Mar 18, 2019
WideCells is pleased to announce that it has created a division encompassing a new media and technology business focussed on providing online marketing, content and technology driven products. The Board intends to propose a change of name of the Company to Iconic Labs plc.
To this effect, two new executive directors are joining the Board with immediate effect: John Quinlan as CEO and Liam Harrington as CBO who were instrumental in growing UNILAD into the world’s most viewed and largest social first publisher. The Company has also appointed additional non-executives, to bring important strategic insights, details of which are below.
· New media and technology business focused on providing online marketing, content and technology driven products
· Experienced management with proven track record drawn from key individuals at UNILAD, the world’s largest social media publisher
· Cash flow focussed business model with pre-identified contracts, an identified path to profitability and exceptional growth prospects
· Taking advantage of structural change in the online market through proprietary technology and the team’s exceptional insights and network
· Well positioned and with funding to enable rapid organic growth and active roll-up strategy
· Substantial historic liabilities in the process of being settled and resolved
Executive Chairman, David Sefton, said: “Iconic Labs represents an exceptional opportunity for this Company. The skills and experience of the team in the new media marketing space, as shown through their track record at UNILAD, the world’s largest social first publisher, can deliver an exciting and uniquely positioned business. The growth of this market is accelerating at an unprecedented pace; global mobile ad spend is projected to increase from US$138 billion in 2018 to US$212 billion in 2021. The team has the model to capitalise on this.
“We are also highly focused on shareholder returns and value creation and have worked with the team to develop a robust plan which manages costs, so that they are driven by increases in revenue whilst at the same time maintaining high growth. Both the Board and the team are committed to achieving net positive free cashflow this year. Finally, we will continue to support the development of the stem cell services business from a solid footing and will invest on a scheduled, drip fed basis, against achieving milestones on a new, careful development plan and at the same time resolving substantial historical liabilities built up by Wide Cells. Iconic Labs can also help with the education and information challenges of Wide Cells.”
New Iconic Labs CEO John Quinlan said: “We understand how to build a business and generate revenue in the new media space. We have a unique proposition, in an extraordinarily high growth area. On the back of revenue growth from pre identified contracts in our Agency Consultancy division, we will roll-out a range of services, content and cutting-edge technology that target future generation audiences and establish a leading position in the new media sector. Exciting times are ahead; we’re going to grasp every opportunity to build a business that creates value for our clients, ourselves and our shareholders.”
Iconic Labs is a new media and technology business focussed on providing online marketing, content and technology driven products to allow companies to increase consumer engagement and create iconic brands. Leveraging the team’s unique knowledge and expertise of content and technology gained from their time at UNILAD, which achieved revenues in excess of £10 million per annum, the Company aims to deliver best-in-class consultancy advice, products, content, marketing and distribution for its clients.
Iconic Labs operates in a dramatically growing market which is driven by several key changes within the industry: consumer habits shifting to digital and social from TV and print; increasing numbers of distribution platforms all fighting for premium content to attract audiences; and traditional agencies struggling to adapt to client demands and new technologies. As examples, global mobile ad spend is projected to increase from US$138 billion in 2018 to US$212 billion in 2021, while SVOD services rose from 14% of households in 2014 to 39% in 2018.
The Board has recognised the team’s key differentiators to capitalise on this space which include: its network of developers, influencers and creators within the space who understand what moves the dial to create trends; experience in consumer data interpretation and insights, and critically its understanding of technology and a platform agnostic approach that utilises all tools at its disposal, as well as its ability to identify consumer trends and what makes an app, content or product go viral.
Iconic Labs will roll-out six complementary divisions over a phased period to ensure multiple revenue streams:
· Agency Consultancy – a consultancy business advising companies looking to use social media tools and technology to better engage with consumers and key stakeholders.
· Online Publishing Brands – focused on creating, incubating or acquiring strong, distinct brands known for original content and with multi-platform distribution channels.
· E-Commerce – focused on using existing distribution channels and social media tools to sell a variety of products online.
· Content Licensing – focused on licensing User Generated Content (‘UGC’) created by users who have posted it to social media.
· Content Studio – the establishment of a production studio to create original video formats that are tested on social media and further developed for viewing on TV and Subscription Video on Demand (‘SVOD’) platforms such as Netflix.
· Tech Product Development – focused on developing unique, innovative and forward-thinking products in fast growth sectors.
The initial phase during the first 6-12 months will comprise the launch of the Agency Consultancy division, which the Board believes is quickly scalable and will drive early, high-margin, recurring revenues. As experts at utilising social media platforms and the associated tools, as well as understanding how technology drives and changes a consumer’s behaviour, this division will assist clients (via advertising agencies and directly) with creating and developing brands. This is achieved by establishing marketing and communications strategies that help build audiences and direct revenue generation and social platform monetisation. Simultaneously, the Company will build its distribution and publishing division through organic and inorganic growth, after which it will launch the Content Licensing and E-Commerce divisions followed by the video production division.
The Board believes that most businesses could benefit from Iconic Labs’ knowledge and expertise on social platforms as well as user behaviour to build market penetration. The first target clients will be those who want to attract a future generation and millennial audience as well as those which currently spend significant amounts on ineffective TV advertising, when they should be focused on social media or alternative social platforms. To this end, the team has strong relationships with key publishers and leading brands and anticipates building its client list aggressively.
The team is led by John Quinlan, who is joining the Board as CEO, Liam Harrington as CBO and Sam Asante as COO. They all have wide experience and proven track records in operating in the new media arena, particularly with UNILAD, which they were instrumental in growing into the world’s most viewed and largest social first publisher, with over 40 billion video views and 1 billion engagements in 2017.
To support this team, the Company has assembled a Board with the relevant industry, corporate and financial experience to ensure future growth, including Executive Chairman, David Sefton, and Non-Executive Director, Richard Thompson. Newly appointed Non-Executive Directors include Will Muirhead, Xavier Latil and Rodolphe Cadio.
Will Muirhead is currently Chief Executive of Rocket Sports Internet Limited, an operator of football news websites and social media accounts, Will formed his first business, SportEV, at Edinburgh University in 1999, which developed the technology to power some of the original OTT/SVOD services.
Xavier Latil is the CEO of The Blockchain Group and is a highly experienced executive and entrepreneur with experience in technology, digital communication and e-commerce, communications, marketing and publishing. He also brings considerable experience in managing high growth companies and in particular their international expansion and with his experience and network can significantly help the company and the new management team, in particular with strategic advice.
Rodolphe Cadio is a qualified accountant with considerable board level experience, including currently at Intrasense, Eyelixiby and Clever Cloud. Rodolphe understands the technology and media sectors and will in addition to strategic and sectoral advice, assist the management team in establishing robust and effective financial controls as well as helping to ensure that proper public company financial reporting processes are put in place.
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For further information, please visit the Company’s website www.iconiclabs.co.uk
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