EY buys local digital product and design consultancy Future Friendly

07 August 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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Australian digital product and design consultancy Future Friendly has been snapped up by professional services firm Ernst & Young, adding a team of 40 professionals in Sydney and Canberra.

Professional services firm Ernst & Young has picked up local digital product and service design player Future Friendly for an undisclosed sum.

The Big Four said that the acquisition will kick-start a strategic design, product development and digital solutions offering in Oceania, backed by a 40-strong team and headed by Future Friendly co-founders Nick Gower and Jon Christensen, who now join EY’s business transformation partnership.

EY buys local digital product and design consultancy Future Friendly

“The addition of the Future Friendly team to our existing business transformation practice enhances our ability to bring our clients the deep industry knowledge and technical experience they need to address their biggest transformation challenges,” stated Grant Peters, EY’s financial services managing partner for Oceania. “The joining together of our two teams will create a compelling and innovative new offering in the market.”

Future Friendly was founded by Gower and Christensen in Sydney close to two decades ago, with the pair since spending time together building a number of other start-ups, including Tractor Design School and The Grand Social, and ongoing work as lead advisors for mental health outfit Ally Health. Since its founding, the company has pulled in more than two dozen Good Design Awards, including Good Design Team of the Year.

“The design of everyday products and services has the power to change lives,” stated Gower. “After 17 years delivering well-being at scale, the next step for the team is a big but natural one. Joining EY will give us access to enormous capabilities in strategic and technology consulting, as well as deep industry insights. This puts us at the heart of the business conversations that will decide the future and help shape our lives for the better.”

According to the Future Friendly website, its multidisciplinary team and digital product and services design studios out of Sydney and Canberra provide human-centred research, prototyping, and design and development services to assist a variety of organisations in taking ambitious new services to market, be it via innovative and customer-centric websites and apps through to entirely new business service propositions.

EY financial services consulting head Anthony Robinson said he was excited by the acquisition; “This is another great example of our ongoing commitment to providing leading innovation, CX and digital design support to our clients, and will significantly enhance our footprint in the region. Our strategic ambition is to grow the practice across Oceania, and the calibre of the Future Friendly team will assist us in achieving this ambition.”

Local M&A boutique SCD Advisory (Strategy Capital Deal Advisory) was an advisor on the sell-side, continuing a recent stellar run in the consulting mergers & acquisitions space since launching a dedicated industry-focused practice in mid-2020. Since then, SCD has notched up local sales to big-name global players including among others Capgemini, (Acclimation), IBM (SxiQ), and a rare purchase from McKinsey & Company (Hypothesis).