Irish-founded Swrve acquired by US-based MessageGears

Atlanta-based company hopes to use Dublin as a hub for European expansion

Irish-founded mobile marketing company Swrve has been acquired by US-based MessageGears for an undisclosed sum. MessageGears wants to use Dublin as a hub for European expansion.

The deal will see Swrve become part of the MessageGears company group, but staff are staying on under the new ownership and the business will continue to use the Swrve brand for the foreseeable future. Founded by Hugh Reynolds and Steve Collins in 2010, Swrve employs about 40 people as a remote workforce, and has customer that include Emirates, Ryanair and Telefónica.

The company’s technology platform enables brands to deliver contextually rich and relevant in-app mobile interactions.

Swrve raised more than $80 million (€74 million) from equity backers from its foundation until 2020, with investors including Atlantic Bridge and Summit Bridge Capital.


However, the company has struggled in recent years, with losses mounting. The most recent set of accounts for the company filed with the Companies Registration Office showed Swrve lost just over $1 million in the year to May 31st, 2021. That followed a loss of $2.5 million in the previous year and the company was predicting a cash deficit in the year to June 30th, 2023. Swrve‘s revenues were just under $8 million in those accounts.

MessageGears works with large brands, offering a customer engagement platform to brands that allows them to retain security over their data. Its business has previously been focused on the US. The Atlanta-based company counts Expedia, Indeed, OpenTable, Party City, Rakuten and T-Mobile among its customers.

“MessageGears has historically been focused in the United States. It’s an extremely big market and we made the decision to focus here and not extend ourselves as we were growing rapidly until we got a little bigger. [The year] 2023 was the year where we were planning and expecting to start to invest in international growth and marketing,” MessageGears chief executive Roger Barnette said. He said MessageGears would invest in developing Swrve further, including expanding its staff and offices.

“We are excited about using Dublin as a hub for European expansion,” he said. “We have a good centre of gravity there with our new Swrve employees and look forward to hiring. Swrve’s technical team is centred in Dublin, so we look forward to using that as a help to hire more engineers.”

He said the companies had complementary businesses and discussions with Swrve began on a potential partnership several months ago.

“MessageGears’ background is in primarily email and SMS with limited capabilities in mobile marketing; Swrve is a best of breed solution in mobile marketing, primarily mobile push and in-app messaging and embedded content. They have a similar customer base,” he said.

“We started talking to them because our product feature sets were so complementary. We started to see how culturally aligned our businesses and our employees were in terms of having built and grown our businesses that we started exploring a more strategic partnership and out of that came this acquisition.”

The acquisition of Swrve follows a $62 million injection of growth capital into MessageGears, and Mr Barnette did not rule out further purchases.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist