• Online marketing business

  • Headed by former UNILAD bosses

  • Looking to expand brand portfolio

What Iconic Labs does

Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) is a media and technology business focused on online marketing, content and technology products.

The company is headed by chief executive John Quinlan and chief business officer Liam Harrington, the founders of social first publishing site UNILAD, currently one of the biggest news and entertainment sites in the world, with around 42mln followers on its Facebook page.

Iconic’s current focus is on expanding its own content platform as well as a portfolio of digital brands and products through both acquisitions and organic growth.

Inflexion points

In September, Iconic said it had acquired website Gay Star News (GSN), one of the world’s leading sources of news for the LGBTI+ community, as part of an acquisition of Nuuco Media, a company created by Iconic director David Sefton to buy GSN out of voluntary liquidation

In mid-August, Quinlan said the company’s legacy issues including £600,000 of debts, were now “under control”

On 6 August, the company said it had acquired social media agency, Social Alchemist Limited, through a mixture of shares and cash

Executive Interview – CEO John Quinlan

Blue Sky

The attractiveness of social first publishing isn’t lost on advertisers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional platforms to target the rapidly expanding social media user base.

Given that around 2.8bn people use social media, that is a massive audience to service.

However, with such a huge web of platforms, all with their own content types and algorithms, most advertisers are likely to need specialists who can help navigate the digital landscape.

That’s where firms like Iconic Labs come in, with Quinlan saying one of the company’s unique selling points is their top team’s experience of not just helping others operate in the space but working in it themselves while at UNILAD.

“Our key skill is using social media tools for what they’re meant for, discovering new things and building brands.”

With digital advertising spend expected to increase to US$335bn in 2020 from US$270bn in 2018, expertise in social first seems set to become even more sought after.

Iconic Labs shares were trading at 0.12p as of 9 September, giving it a market cap of around £2mln.