Manchester-based eCommerce agency Space 48 is on track to hit turnover of £9m following a ground-breaking acquisition.

The company has grown to 120 staff after buying York-based Brave the Skies, a provider of eCommerce development and consultancy services, in June.

Founder and managing director Jon Woodall, who launched the business from his kitchen table in 2008, said Space 48 was primed for growth.

“Brave the Skies is a great business with a really good group of people,” he said. “They’re not huge at the moment, about 16 people, but they’re a strong team with a lot of potential.

“With a few tweaks here and there, they’re going to do really well.

“That acquisition was based on technology. Their specialism is Shopify Plus, which is well known in the eCommerce space.

“Having an agency brand that just focuses solely on that is a really sort of strong position for us to take in the market.

“We believe that with Brave the Skies we’ve found an agency that is arguably subscale at the moment, only being 16 people, but I remember when Space 48 was 16 people and now we’re in excess of 100.”

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Space 48’s clients include Richer Sounds and Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate and Woodall said it was important to focus on growth

Woodall said: “If it doesn’t feel like you’re going too fast you’re probably not going fast enough. If you’re growing, it’s got to feel like that.”

He said to achieve sustainable growth you have to take the entire workforce on the journey.

“What can you do in your business to make things more visual, so that anyone in the company, be that someone who’s joined a week ago or someone who’s been in the business for eight to 10 years, can contribute to growth?” he asked.

“You need to tap into the pockets of energy that exist all across the business, to make it grow fast enough and for that to be sustainable.

Don’t do it all yourself

“If you try and think that you can take it all on yourself, the likelihood of it is you’re going to burn out. You need a hell of a lot of energy to be the person who’s prepared to put yourself out there to do that.

“My other tip for growth is you have to obsess over it.”

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The acquisition followed the investment from private equity investor Foresight.

Woodall had bootstrapped the business until Foresight came on board in February 2021.

A family man, with two young children, Woodall admitted protecting their future was very much in his thoughts but he was wasn’t ready to walk away completely.


He recalled: “We engaged with advisors at Mazars and they introduced different people to the process. It was from having those conversations that led me to think ‘well, as nice as it would be to exit the business, is that that really what I want?’

“I see so much more potential in the future growth of Space 48 that I got the opportunity to do release some equity, which was sort of something that I felt I needed to do for the family, but also, it gave the opportunity of bringing in our management and people that had been a big part of the growth of Space 48 into equity as well.

“It was just as much about creating the right environment and the right set of circumstances for them so that we can look at growth and exciting growth over the next few years.”

Following Foresight’s investment, the business has grown revenues by more than 40 per cent. The growth has come from new customers, with an improved outbound sales process, more efficient working practices and closer working relationship with platforms such as BigCommerce.

Woodall said he’s obsessed about the life cycle of the business.

“I’ve obviously seen it from the start having been the person who sat down with the laptop on his old kitchen table all those years ago,” he recalled.

“I look at a business growth as a life cycle and everything in the universe follows a life cycle so I’m constantly thinking where the business is on its life cycle.

Top down, bottom up approach

“A ‘top down, bottom up’ approach to business growth is essential so that you see it from all angles.

“You also have to obsess about the customer. If you really want your business to grow you have to obsess about it all. There’s not a stone that you can leave unturned, you have to have a real attention to detail, in my opinion.”