Ananya Pathak

Meet BORN Group, now a Tech Mahindra company

The New York-based digital transformation and branding consultancy — BORN Group — was earlier this month acquired by Indian IT services firm Tech Mahindra (Tech M). The acquisition of the creative design, content production and commerce solutions company was valued at $95 million, reportedly.

In 2014, Group FMG, a New York-based multi-channel content and commerce solutions company and its sister company, Pod1, rebranded themselves to form BORN. Founded in 1987, Group FMG traditionally focussed on content creation and media production across several channels such as print and digital. The 2001 founded Pod1 traditionally focussed on high-end creative design, content creation and production for the web.

Tech M will buy BORN’s India unit, while Tech Mahindra Pte, the IT firm’s Singapore arm, will takeover other entities.

Vivek Agarwal
Vivek Agarwal

But what intrigues us is, why did Tech Mahindra choose to acquire a creative design and production agency? Vivek Agarwal, global head for enterprise verticals solution and portfolio companies, Tech Mahindra, tells us it is a fully comprehensive offering. He explains, “The group has a strong expertise in e-commerce, creative and content, which is a high growth segment. It helps both B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) businesses operate in the digital world. So, they undertake technology implementation and integrated UX design and design of customer journeys, personas, user personas, etc. Another thing that we are enthused about is the fact that the BORN Group has been going at both B2C and B2B businesses that are looking to pivot to a direct-to-consumer model.”

He further elaborates, “This acquisition enables us to expand our client base and address a much bigger market. We expect to see synergies of taking BORN Group’s capability to our client base across industry segments, as well as the ability to sell into BORN’s existing client base, the conventional Tech Mahindra capabilities.”

He adds, “There is minimal customer overlap and then from a vertical client perspective BORN has a very strong presence in the retail consumer products segment. We expect to generate traction in that direction as well. We look at this acquisition as a strong growth opportunity as well as a significant opportunity for synergy.”

The deal adds approximately $50 million in revenues to Tech Mahindra's financials. In the last two years, BORN recorded revenues of $39 million and $36 million, respectively.

The global agency currently operates in US, Europe and Asia with offices in eight countries — US, India, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Japan, New Zealand and Indonesia. It aims to help a customer experience a brand through all aspects in one integrated experience. The brand calls it the Brand Experience Wheel – which combines many specialisms — from attracting an audience, interacting with them, transacting, and then reacting to their feedback. The agency helps brands find new life in the digital economy and hence the name ‘BORN'.

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Last year, BORN created three new assets that are accelerators which allow clients to create digital experiences. SAP accorded BORN global certification for one of its innovations – an accelerator called EAGLE. It opened four new offices in that year establishing a presence in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Toronto and Japan in addition to growing its existing presence in Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, New York and London. The firm currently employs more than 1,000 people.

BORN has moved from simple point solutions like creative design, to content production to commerce enablement and has extended its offerings in scope and depth, and verticalized solutions to address the requirements of over 40 end markets—manufacturing, transport, luxury, tech, semiconductors, retail, fashion, distribution, CPG, travel, hospitality, insurance, and so on.

The agency belives in the the SOS framework (Storytelling + Omnichannel + Sales). By embracing the core mantra of new world success, BORN helps brands tell their story in a way relevant to their customers, across multiple channels, to achieve their business goals.

The client list of the agency is a mix bag of brands from various categories - Fossil, Red Bull, Funimation, Textron, Maxim Semiconductor, Tag Heuer, DVF, Ferragamo, Bulgari, Sotheby's, Tetley Tea, Lorna Jane, Razer, Glanbia, Medifast, MacKenzie & Childs, The Big Issue, Harley Davidson among others.

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