Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Time Out Acquires Former Would-be Unicorn Yplan for £1.6m

Yplan, an app that allows users to discover live events and book last-minute tickets, was acquired by lifestyle magazine publisher Time Out.

The London-based startup was bought for £1.6 million, which could rise to £2 million depending on some future conditions. Rather than disbursing cash, Time Out carried out the deal by transferring 1,166,644 in ordinary shares.

This is a puny exit for Yplan, which started off on a bullish note in 2012 and went on to rake in over £31 million in funding from high-profile investors like Octopus Ventures and Ashton Kutcher. The company initially managed to strike profitable deals with giants such as Apple’s iTunes, and it even gained an endorsement from British national treasure Stephen Fry, who called Yplan’s app “seriously good” and “damned smart.”

Company founders Rytis Vitkauskas and Victors Jucikas, both Lithuanian nationals, had been quite explicit in the past about their ambitions to grow Yplan into Britain’s next unicorn— that is, a billion-dollar company.

But the success petered out over the years. While the app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times and can be found on one-third of London’s iPhones, the popularity has not begotten any real profit.

yplan-founders

Yplan founders Rytis Vitkauskas and Victors Jucikas had been quite explicit in the past about their ambitions to grow the company into Britain’s next unicorn. (via Yplan)

 

Already in 2014, Yplan had pivoted and laid off staff after closing a £15.3 million Series B Round. In 2015, the company tallied up a £6.2m pre-tax loss despite vast investments in marketing and technology— including new recommendation and customer feedback features relying on machine learning.

Other substantial layoffs happened in early 2016, when 22 people—or 30 percent of Yplan’s global workforce— lost their job.

Now, in the wake of the Time Out deal, the founders commented in a statement that the publisher was “a perfect fit” for Yplan.

“The acquisition is a natural continuation of our vision for YPlan: to enable people to discover and do amazing things, whether in their beloved home cities or while traveling. We’re both very proud to join with our team such an iconic brand and to be part of Time Out’s next chapter,” Vitkauskas and Jucikas said in a press release.

Time Out CEO Julio Bruno said: “Developing e-commerce and monetising our audience is an important element of our ambitious growth strategy. We acquired YPlan because its advanced technology will significantly accelerate this strategy.”

Time Out’s shares gained a 13 percent on the day the deal was disclosed. The group, which is trying to branch out from magazine publishing to e-commerce and food retail, IPO’d on the London Stock Exchange in June 2016; its current market capitalisation is about £183 million.

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