Messaging deal

‘Missing link’ firm sold to marketing platform

Hugh Topping: picking up where ticketing systems leave off

Audience messaging firm crowdEngage, founded in Edinburgh by bookseller Hugh Topping, has been acquired by global live entertainment marketing platform Activity Stream for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction represents and expansion of Activity Stream’s cloud-based solutions which help power some of the biggest venues and entertainment businesses in the world.

Mr Topping, who is also director of his family’s business, Topping & Company Booksellers, set up crowdEngage five years ago to help performance arts venues offer an enhanced customer experience by providing audience messaging, mobile ticketing and seamless food and drink ordering.

Mr Topping becomes vice president product development at Activity Stream.

He said: “We built crowdEngage to be the missing link for live entertainment, picking up where ticketing systems leave off and removing friction to ensure event-goers have a great night out while allowing venues to streamline their operations.

“By joining Activity Stream we can now leverage hundreds of data points to personalise communications and drive both customer satisfaction and new revenue opportunities.”

His introduction to ticketing was via the family business when he was seeking to secure ticketing software for events at the company’s bookshops.

Later, as an undergraduate at Aberdeen University, he undertook an internship at a ticketing firm, before going to work full time at the same company when he completed his degree. After several years, he left to realise his ambition of using technology to improve the experience of attending live events, with crowdEngage reducing queuing at venues and allowing visitors to focus on enjoying performances.

Alistair Lang, corporate and commercial partner and head of high growth at Thorntons, steered the deal. He said: “crowdEngage is a great business which is improving events for both people attending them and crucially, for the industry, enabling it to market its services more efficiently.

“It is also evidence of the strength of innovation powering Scotland’s fast-growing technology sector. Edinburgh and Glasgow are now among the top UK tech destinations and we are seeing ongoing interest from international investors in the fantastic businesses we are producing.”

In addition to acquiring crowdEngage, Activity Stream also purchased arts and culture planning solutions firm Yesplan, enabling the cloud-based platform to service all stages of the events lifecycle. Its tools are used by 450 organisations worldwide, and support some of the world’s biggest live events.



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