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Private equity in action - Case Study


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Country United Kingdom
Region East of England
Investor IQ Capital Partners

When IQ Capital Partners and angel investors provided seed funding to Grapeshot in 2009, the firm spotted the opportunity to invest in ‘Cambridge’s Google’. Since 2006, two entrepreneurs had been developing an unstructured data search platform to help marketers, publishers and media organisations target customers more accurately in any language and in real time, globally. The finding enabled Grapeshot to enter the publishing space, garnering Mail Online, MSN, Trinity Mirror and Reuters as customers by 2011. IQ led three further funding rounds, bringing Albion and Draper Esprit on board to integrate Grapeshot’s product into advertisers, ad exchanges and other key market players. Today, the business works with more than 7,000 brands, has over 900 agency partners, and its context marketing platform processes over 5 trillion page impressions a month. In 2018, Oracle - world’s 3rd largest software company - acquired Grapeshot in a deal worth several hundred million dollars.

John Snyder

CEO and co-founder


“IQ has been a trusted, supportive investor during our rapid growth phase, giving invaluable guidance on product strategy and making key introductions to the US market.” Quotation Marks Graphic
Grapeshot New3

2017 annual turnover growth


countries served in 2018

What did the business need?

  • Capital to develop the tech into a commercial product
  • Investment to scale the business beyond initial sales
  • Strategic input to find product-market fit and accelerate growth plans

How did private equity backing create lasting value?

  • Enabled transition from a start-up to an international scale-up
  • Helped to build the senior team – from the hugely experienced chairman to COO, CTO, CFO and CMO
  • Provided multiple bridge financing rounds to ensure sufficient timeline for fundraising / better terms
  • Worked closely with the chief executive to implement a strategy that led to a successful exit

What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?

  • Built a start-up into a global business operating across 140 countries in over 50 languagesGrew turnover annually in the last three years by more than 150% per annum with a 90%+ gross margin
  • Created more than 100 jobs
  • Developed a company on the path to IPO and highly attractive to strategic buyers
  • Exceptional capital efficiency from a deep-tech business – $20m total investment to generate 20x+ returns

More information


IQ Capital Partners


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