WPP Buys Mobile Firm That Built NPR and NatGeo's Cool Apps

Bottle Rocket's 2013 revenue reached $17 million

WPP made its second investment in a mobile company since August, acquiring notable apps maker Bottle Rocket for an undisclosed sum.

The holding company said Bottle Rocket—which has a bevy of big media clients such as NPR, National Geographic, ABC News and NBCUniversal—took in $17 million in revenue for its 2013 fiscal year that ended in September. That sum might appear to some observers to be small potatoes in a multi-billion-dollar advertising marketplace, but many growing mobile app specialty shops fail to get to the $10 million annual revenue mark.

So, Bottle Rocket doesn't lack spark and, based on its clients list, can probably charge a premium for rich media development work for publishers that need scintillating user experiences in order to compete for eyeballs. As one example, National Geographic's app involves a cool library of videos, including clips from its series about storm chasers. 

Five-year-old Bottle Rocket makes apps for iPhone, Android and iPad devices and has won awards over the years for its mobile work. The Dallas-based tech vendor employs 170 people and will keep its brand while becoming part of the WPP portfolio.

The purchase follows WPP Digital's buying a minority stake in Mutual Mobile, an Austin, Texas-based firm that develops mobile products. In recent months, WPP has said it wants up to 45 percent of its revenues to arrive from emerging markets and media.

Adweek Blog Network