Howard Simms has left fast growing digital product consultancy Apadmi after 14 years.

Simms co-founded the Manchester-based business in 2009 with three friends – Garry Partington, Adam Fleming and Nick Black – but coincided his exit with Apadmi receiving a significant minority investment from private equity investor CBPE.

Simms took the decision to return to his passion of meeting and advising entrepreneurs.

He told BusinessCloud: “Garry, Adam, Nick and I are closer friends now than we’ve ever been.

“When we did the deal with CBPE we all hugged each other because we’re still best pals.

“It’s very unique that the people who created the business are closer now than they were when they created the business.

“There’s no criticism of Apadmi but the deal created an opportunity for me to do the things that I love doing.

“I like meeting entrepreneurs and helping them on their journey through tech.”

Apadmi backed by private equity investor CBPE

Simms, who is currently discussing non-executive director and consultancy roles, reflected on how far Apadmi had come since they launched the business in 2009 after being made redundant from their previous jobs.

“We had to put in our own savings to pay the bills and we didn’t take a salary for about nine months,” he recalled.

“Meanwhile we had mortgages to pay, second children being born and no income into the household.

“You put your heart and soul into it and you endeavour to do the best job you can. You learn as fast as possible and you’re juggling every job to make it succeed.

“It’s exhausting, stressful, but fortunately there were four of you sharing the load, all with complimentary skills and respect for each other.

“I’ve learned an exceptional amount about business, people, technology, investment, and myself and seen something start with four guys in a room to 285 people in a well-respected, centre of excellence, housing the most talented genuinely ‘good’ people and trusted by the biggest brands!”

The investment from CBPE will support Apadmi’s continued global growth plans.

Apadmi acquired Dutch firm The Mobile Company in 2022, making it the largest team of independent mobile specialists across the Netherlands, UK and Europe.

Specialists in mobile, Apadmi’s clients include the BBC, NHS, Dominos, Co-op, Charles Stanley and Sykes Cottages.

Apadmi goes Dutch with acquisition of mobile firm

Apadmi has doubled in size in the last three years, offering a full range of digital product services including strategy, design, mobile development, back and front end development, as well as ongoing support, maintenance and optimisation.

Apadmi’s other three co-founders – Garry Partington, Adam Fleming and Nick Black – are remaining in the business.