River Capital Supports Velstar Acquisition


Liverpool-based eCommerce agency, Velstar announces it has acquired Chester-based marketing agency, We Influence, to bolster service offering and drive further growth.

The acquisition, which was supported by Liverpool fund manager, River Capital, with a significant investment from its recently announced Business Growth Loan Fund, will blend the technical knowledge and eCommerce expertise of Velstar with We Influence’s creative, growth-focused marketing capabilities, creating a unified agency with over 50 digital specialists, across web design and development, PPC, social, SEO and affiliate marketing.

Founded in 2016, Velstar has been on a strong growth trajectory ever since. Adding We Influence to its portfolio marks the first of many, as the company seeks meaningful acquisitions and strategic partnerships as part of its wider M&A strategy.

We Influence’s team will make the move to Velstar’s HQ in Liverpool city centre, integrating the two businesses’ teams to establish Velstar as the UK’s leading end-to-end eCommerce agency.

Daniel Sheard will remain as Velstar’s CEO, whilst We Influence’s Graham Withe will take the position of Managing Director, Marketing at Velstar.

The combined agencies will have a turnover of £4M, with ambitious plans to reach £6M by 2024. Its client portfolio will include French Connection, AVON, Castore, Kenwood and De’Longhi and Salons Direct.

Following the announcement, the agency is on a major recruitment drive, hiring for an Account Manager and Senior Project Manager, as well as for several marketing roles to keep up with demand and maintain a high standard of delivery across all departments.

River Capital Investment Manager, Jim Moore, said: “We were pleased to support Velstar in its acquisition of We Influence with investment from the recently announced Business Growth Loan Fund. This fund was established to help fuel growth and create and safeguard jobs within the North West and the acquisition of We Influence by Velstar indicates their commitment to doing just that. We now look forward to following the next part of their journey.”

Commenting on the acquisition, the CEO of Velstar, Daniel Sheard, said: “Both Velstar and We Influence have been active in the eCommerce space for years now. We have great admiration for one another’s work, and it was clear we shared similar ambitions, as well as the same people-focused approach. So it was an obvious decision to team up and combine our efforts.

This acquisition, made possible with support from the River Capital Business Growth Loan Fund, strengthens our offering within the Shopify ecosystem by deepening our marketing services to give our clients access to a team of digital growth experts at every stage of their eCommerce journey, all in one place.”

Graham Withe, Managing Director, Marketing, added: “What Velstar has achieved over the past couple of years has been impressive. Their skills, experience and services perfectly complement our own, and we’re all really excited about becoming part of their talented team.

We recognise that online retailers’ growth and success are best achieved with a collaborative approach, leveraging different technologies and services. The acquisition will enable us to provide our clients with a deeper level of technical support, as well as a larger-scale in-house marketing capability. For our team, it will provide them with an opportunity to develop their skill sets further and fully immerse themselves in the eCommerce industry like never before, building relationships with third-party technology providers and industry leaders.

I’m incredibly proud of this move and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Watch this space!”