Digital consultancy Public Digital joins Hakuhodo's kyu Collective

27 October 2020 3 min. read

Public Digital has sold a 25% equity stake in the firm to Hakuhodo, enabling the London-based digital transformation consultancy to join the kyu Collective. 

Founded in 2015, Public Digital initially focused exclusively on transforming digital delivery for the UK government. The firm’s success in the public sector has seen its offerings expand internationally, as well as to the private sector. “We now work for governments and large organisations around the world to help them adapt to the digital era,” said Ben Terrett, CEO at Public Digital.

Pubic organisations the consultancy serves outside the UK include the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Government of Argentina, with HSBC one of corporates that makes use of the firm’s services. “Our strength lies in the planning and implementation of agile service and product development, taking organisations from zero to digitization rapidly,” said Terrett, a designer by background. 

Digital consultancy Public Digital joins Hakuhodo's kyu Collective

While many of its peers have taken a hit during the Covid-19-induced downturn, Public Digital has in fact seen its order book grow. Much of this was corona-related work, with more than 30 entities including governments, local authorities and health centers tapping the firm to provide digital support and development services. 

The firm’s growing profile was one of the main reason for Hakuhodo – one of the globe’s ten largest advertising and public relations companies with 150 offices in 20+ countries – to invest in Public Digital. 

As per a press statement from the Japanese company, “The investment in Public Digital is undertaken toward strengthening response capabilities for borderless corporate activities by recruiting specialised and innovative companies into the Group and establishing a leading position in the broader digital domain, two of the fundamentals of our five-year growth strategy.”

kyu Collective

Public Digital will become part of the kyu Collective, which since its establishment in 2014 has welcomed nine firms, including design firms and consulting companies in the United States and Canada. 

The kyu Collective

Terrett: “We have never, until now, been inspired to more formally partner with someone. Joining the Collective offers us a fantastic opportunity to work in more places, with different people, on new challenges that will allow us to have even more impact. It includes IDEO, SY Partners and Atölye – 3 companies we have been working with for quite some time. We’re excited about doing more with them, and collaborating with others we’ll be meeting soon.”

Michael Birkin, CEO of the kyu Collective said: “Since its founding, kyu has very selectively sought one-of-a-kind firms to add to our creative collective. We are delighted with the joining of Public Digital.” The bolt-on comes three months after the collective added communications and journalism group Godfrey Dadich Partners to its network.

The current 25% stake sees Public Digital’s founders keep a majority stake in the firm, however, the Japanese have agreed the option to increase their stake to a majority interest in the future. As part of the collaboration, Farah Ramzan Golant, kyu’s CEO of EMEA, has joined the Board of Public Digital.