SOMOHot on the heels of Just Eat and Huawei, mobile marketing firm Somo recently announced plans to open their second UK R&D lab in Bristol.

Joining the likes of digital firms Nudge and The Agency in the city, the move brings another global prospect to the South West region, boosting Bristol/Bath’s status as one of the world’s most significant tech centres.

Formed in London in 2009 by a core of highly-experienced marketers and developers, Somo has quickly positioned itself as a world leader in new media marketing, expanding operations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and Singapore; growing their headcount by over 100% in the past year.

Somo Promo

The agency works to integrate custom mobile tech with traditional advertising channels, offering a service list that covers everything from app development to content strategy. The agency’s cross-platform approach works; Somo’s portfolio includes campaigns for Audi, De Beers, Virgin and BP, and the company recently won the ‘Most Innovative Agency in Mobile’ prize at the Mobile Innovation Awards.

Part of the firm’s strength is its close working relationship with sister company, Lithient, which creates big data analytical solutions for client-specific and cross-purpose marketing platforms like App Tracker. Software development is at the heart of Somo’s work and this is where Bristol will play its role, hosting a new research and development hub to complement the firm’s innovation labs in London and New York.


Welcome: CTO Dave Evans will manage a development team here in Bristol

A new 60-person team will work to refine existing software and design new licensed mobile platforms. Leading the team will be CTO Dave Evans, the veteran developer behind Symphony Teleca, SurfKitchen and O2, where Evans worked as VP of product platform and architecture.

We asked him what he hopes the hub will achieve: “Somo works with world leading brands to create innovate and creative connected world solutions. The R&D Lab will be a key element in providing these solutions, along with building Somo’s own products in the areas of Event Management, Ad Technology and other enterprise solutions.”

Go South West

The decision to expand to the South West took Somo only six weeks, from scouting a location to holding workshops for local developers at the city’s Engine Shed. As Evans explains: “We were looking for an area with a long tradition of innovation and engineering, combined with strong feeder universities, ensuring that Somo could build a world class R&D unit, providing innovative and creative connected world solution for our clients.”

“We were looking for an area with a long tradition of innovation and engineering, combined with strong feeder universities, ensuring that Somo could build a world class R&D unit”

This means the development is also in keeping with the company’s desire to find and use the best emerging tech talent. Somo plans to create a graduate and apprenticeship programme to attract leavers from the “first-class” Universities of Bristol and Bath.

CEO Nick Hynes studied for an MBA at Bath early in his career, before becoming British Airways’ youngest senior manager, converting Air Miles from paper to digital data and launching The Search Works, then Europe’s largest online search firm. Marketplace developments of a similar scale are already happening at Somo, meaning Bristol is now poised to play an important part in the future of mobile marketing.

For those of you who want in, hiring for Somo’s Bristol lab is now open. Details of the front and back-end developer positions available are over at the firm’s careers page. Somo also welcomes speculative applications. For more information on the agency’s work and expert insights into the changing world of mobile marketing, head to their blog, here.