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 November, the company performed a soft relaunch of LGBT+ news website Gay Star News after previously acquiring the site for £33,000 in September
  • In September, Iconic said it had taken a 24% stake in media investment firm Medium Channel Media Ltd (MCM) in exchange for management and consultancy services and a £150,000 loan for working capital purposes. At the same time, MCM has agreed to buy Tab Media Ltd, which owns UK youth and student news website The Tab. Under the terms of its deal with MCM, Iconic Labs said it will use its expertise to help The Tab sell advertising space more efficiently and to improve the site’s commercial presence and relationships with target brands
  • 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 0.08p as of 1 November 2019, giving it a market cap of around £1.2mln.