Once Upon A Time seals £2.5m private equity deal

garton and charlton 2Joe Garton and Diane Charlton – the original co-founders of Chemistry Communications, have secured £2.5m worth of private equity backing for their latest venture, content marketing-driven agency Once Upon A Time.
Private equity fund manager and enterprise investment scheme specialist Calculus Capital has invested the money, which will be used to bolster its operating budget and continue to fund expansion.
The move is further evidence that private equity companies are on the hunt for direct, accountable and measureable marketing expertise.
Launched in February last year, when the duo acquired Soho-based B-Group London, the agency offers digital, relationship marketing, advertising, shopper and sports marketing.
It has since added music project management specialist Clear Sound & Vision and sports marketing agency Red Baron Enterprises to the group; clients include Universal Pictures, Disney, Warner Bros, Lindt, Russian Standard Vodka, Hasbro and Pfizer.
Garton said: “Calculus Capital’s investment will accelerate the agency’s growth and be an enabler to broadening our skills and services for our blue chip clients. We will also benefit from the considerable expertise of Calculus in successfully growing small businesses.”
Calculus Capital chairman Susan McDonald added: “Increasingly, consumer goods companies in particular are looking to tell a complete end-to-end story to their customers, through a variety of channels before, during, and after their purchase experience, whether in-store or online.
“Using storytelling as their starting point, Once Upon A Time is pioneering the combination of audiovisual, digital, social, public relations, experiential and customer relationship management approaches in a way that is transformative for their clients.”
Garton and Charlton first started working together in the late Nineties, when Garton merged his agency Manifesto into Charlton’s digital shop, Fusion Interactive, to form The Interactive Agency; two years later it was rebranded Chemistry Communications.
They quit the agency in 2012, 16 months after it was bought by Publicis for £14.5m and folded into Publicis to form Publicis Chemistry.
The deal is the third sizeable investment made by Calculus over the past month. In October, the firm invested £2.5m in IPV, a Cambridge-based media technology business providing multi-media content management systems, and £3m in Mologic, a Bedford-based developer of diagnostic technologies and devices designed to help patients manage their own conditions.

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