‘Tech for good’ developer expands Aussie presence
Wellington-based software development house Ackama has bought Common Code, a Melbourne software company, in a $2.7 million acquisition comprising a mix of cash and shares.
The deal will lift Ackama’s revenue to over $12 million, 75% generated through exports, with staff levels increasing 90% across Australia and New Zealand. Both companies pitch themselves as “socially-driven companies” which is reflected in the high proportion of public interest and not-for-profit projects they have worked on.
Clients across the two companies include: The Good Sports programme for the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, The Victorian Women’s Trust, Victoria’s State Library, Victoria’s Public Sector Commission, New-Zealand’s sign language directory, Mentorloop, Ethical Jobs and Good On You, and the Australian and New Zealand Government.
“The merger means a step up in capability across product management, UX and development practices and means we can offer our clients more at the top end of tech development and bring best practices to every facet of what we do, while staying agile, relevant and value-focused,” says Breccan McLeod-Lundy, CEO and co-founder of Ackama.
McLeod-Lundy founded the company in 2010 as Rabid Technologies when he was an independent contractor and web developer. He was joined by Josh Forde, whom he met via Wellington’s Enspiral network. A major early customer was the crowdfunding platform PledgeMe.
In 2018, Rabid rebranded as Ackama and expanded through the acquisition of Melbourne-based web development agency Squareweave founded by Will Dayble and Luke Giuliani, as well as the digital team of Plot Media and an artificial intelligence and chatbot company, Prefer.
“All four founders believe that technology can make the world a better place as systems built on the back of technology impact huge numbers of people. This is the principle on which the company still operates – focusing on impact and working for long-term outcomes,” Ackama explains on its website.
New Zealand has a growing cluster of ‘technology for good’ tech companies, which are defined as tech start-ups that are “intentional about the use of tech in tackling the world’s pressing social and environmental challenges”.
Wellington-based CoGo, which makes carbon-tracking apps and tools to allow people to monitor and reduce their carbon footprint, started life as the charity Conscious Consumers, which compared the sustainability credentials of Cuba Street cafes. It became CoGo in 2016, did an initial capital raise of $8 million and earlier this year embarked on a series A fundraising round aiming to raise up to US$30 million.
McLeod-Lundy says Ackama has “aggressive growth and hiring plans” and expects to double staff over the next year.
Common Code was founded in 2010 in Melbourne by developer Daryl Anthony, and has since grown to a 25 people tech consultancy, specialising in e-commerce, user interface and user experience design, development of python open-source programming expertise, training and consulting for social good initiatives.
The Common Code brand will continue to operate for the foreseeable future, and there are no immediate plans to change the teams’ structures. Both management teams remain in place.
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