Northern tech boost as M14 acquires Double

Northern tech boost as M14 acquires Double

John Kershaw, founder of M14 Industries – the white label platform used to power niche dating apps – has announced the acquisition of London-based dating platform Double, which shot to fame in 2015 after a successful Dragon’s Den appearance.

M14 Industries have developed technology that powers dating and social interactions. Their first product, the iconic brand Bristlr – known as the ‘tinder for beards’ – proved their concept worked and the team, based in Manchester, have continued to grow and develop their product.

Double is a dating app which encourages users to find a friend, and look for double dates – making the whole process less intimidating and more sociable. Founded two years ago by Loren Gould, Gary MacDonough and Ben Greenock, the team successfully secured a £75,000 investment from Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins on the BBC show Dragon’s Den in 2015.

Under the terms of this deal, the value of which is undisclosed, the Double founders will exit the business, leaving their long-term plans in the capable hands of John and his expanding M14 team.

"We were in the same space as the guys at Double, so we decided to chat to them," John tells me, and the decision to bring Double into what they increasingly recognise as the ‘M14 family’ felt like a very natural one, allowing the Double founders to exit the business and work on new projects.

Double takes its place in the growing portfolio of M14-powered products – alongside Bristlr, and the newest offerings DatingInk and Spex. As you’d expect, the former is a tattoo-centric offering and the latter is for fans of the spectacle!

And M14 has secured deals with a number of enterprise clients, working with some of the largest brands on the planet, meaning the M14 team is hiring - and expect their team of five to become a team of eight in 2017 with some key positions being filled.

John doesn’t see this being the last acquisition that M14 makes, and he’s proud to run a Northern tech firm, and be former Tech North Northern Star, who is making waves by purchasing firms out of London. All signs, he says, of the burgeoning sector in the North.

But it’s important that the firm’s roots remain firmly in having fun – and so, at last week’s Global Dating Awards, three attendees won the chance to have their very own dating app built, letting them have some fun with the concept. John casually mentions that they can be up and live in less than a week.

"I’m really proud to be part of the Northern tech community; to have bought Double and brought it into the M14 family. I was worried that as we grew the business we’d lose the ridiculousness that first created Bristlr – but we’ve still got it!"