Dept has expanded into Australia and bolstered its Asia-Pacific presence by acquiring Melbourne-based Two Bulls, a digital product studio.
Founded in 2009, Two Bulls specialises in solving challenges with digital solutions by using engineering and design. It has worked across multiple industries with clients like Verizon, Hasbro and MailChimp, as well as with other brands in the health, family and public sector. It currently has a team of more than 120 creative engineers.
Vishnu Mohan, partner and chief growth officer at Dept, tells Campaign Asia-Pacific the acquisition is part of its entry strategy for APAC, which focuses on the three key markets of Australia, India and Singapore.
He says Dept prefers to lead with a tech-focused acquisition given its experience in tech-led transformation work across multiple sectors. That is why Two Bulls fits with its strategy.
“The cultural connection is also important. “Love at first sight” is quite a cliche. Still, it was true for Two Bulls - we both knew from the first meeting that we’ve found a partner that speaks the same language, shares our cultural values, and, above all, shares our vision of creating the best digital products and experiences for a better world,” says Mohan.
For Two Bulls, it has always considered itself a team of ‘creative engineers’ and this blend of crafts has been realised at scale within Dept, says James Kane, chief executive officer of Two Bulls. He adds that it’s “thrilling” to be a part of the Dept’s focus on technology and engineering.
Being part of Dept also brings a broader lens to the corporate conversation, adds Kane.
“They are a B-Corp with a sincere commitment to community and the environment. Two Bulls has always focused on projects that create impact, which dovetails perfectly with Dept’s outlook,” Kane explains.
“We want to have fun. From our first call, it was clear that while both organisations strive for excellence and impact, we also want to have fun along the way. That was the kicker. We both want to come to work smiling.”
Two Bulls specialises in digital product development, which to date, Dept has not provided as a service for its clients in the region. Therefore, Dept’s first challenge post-acquisition is to build out these offerings.
Dimi Albers, CEO of Dept, says the agency will leverage its experience and capacity in these areas to craft an offering for clients that fits the Australian market. As Dept already has creative and content talent in Sydney, he explains that combining this with Two Bulls' capabilities will boost its offerings and provide a launchpad for its presence Australia-wide.
“Dept is a B Corporation which means that creating work with a positive impact on the world is an important driver in what we do,” he tells Campaign Asia-Pacific.
“Two Bulls is the first agency to join us that does over 70% of their revenue on impact projects, projects that positively impact society and the environment. With that heritage, we expect them to be leaders within Dept as we strive to build our global share of work on impact projects.”
Mohan and Albers had recently told Campaign that their Asia-Pacific growth plans remain on track, expecting up to 500 employees in this region by year’s end.