26 January 2021
Digital marketing veteran Chris Underhill has been appointed as chair of Leeds-based Force24, the award-winning marketing automation platform. The appointment forms part of a strategic plan to grow the business following a £4.8m investment backed by private equity firm YFM Equity Partners (YFM) in November 2020.
Force24 is a SaaS-based marketing automation platform that allows marketers to deliver personalised marketing campaigns with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration. The platform is already trusted by a number of household brands including Michelin, Tarmac and BBC Children in Need, to deliver over 900 million marketing emails so far this year, and the business saw turnover leap by 40% from 2018 to 2019.
Chris brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked in the digital marketing sector for over 20 years. He founded and IPO’d international marketing automation software company smartFOCUS, growing it organically and via acquisitions in the UK, the US and Europe before its sale to a US venture capital firm. Chris is a highly experienced SaaS B2B investor, chairman and non-executive director, who works with investment groups, ambitious founders and leadership teams to grow companies in the martech, adtech, social and AI space.
Mike Clarke, investment partner at YFM and board member of Force24, comments: ““The company has already established itself as a leader in marketing automation in the UK. Having been on the same growth journey with his own category leading marketing automation business, Chris has the skillset and experience needed to support the next stage in Force24’s development.”
Chris comments: “I’m excited to be joining the Force24 business and help to accelerate its growth. Adam Oldfield and the team at Force24 have built a great product and compelling offer. Its unique functionality, service and price combination, that focuses deeply on customer success, really differentiates it in the market.”
“Investing in Force24 was a very easy decision, given huge potential in the B2B space. Force24 provides real value to small and medium sized businesses which have sometimes been overlooked by marketing automation platforms.”
YFM has a national portfolio of software and tech businesses, including data transformation software company Matillion in Manchester; Springboard in Milton Keynes which provides footfall data to the retail industry; and global e-learning platform Elucidat, based in Brighton.