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Challenger bank buys digital gaming specialist

Challenger bank Atom buys gaming expertise business Grasp to develop its online customer interfaces

Digital-only Atom Bank has acquired UK gaming development company Grasp to focus on its online interface with customers.

Grasp already works with brands such as MTV and F1 and the acquisition is aimed at creating engaging user interfaces for customers.

Atom is digital-only and delivers its products and services through an app for mobile devices and desktop computers. The app uses the capabilities of the Unity gaming platform and incorporates a 3D interactive experience. 

Edward Twiddy,’s chief innovations officer at Atom  said the companies first made contact about two years ago. “Our first conversations were about what gaming and the north-east development industry could offer." This is when Atom was just an idea. "Now, on the cusp of going live and after several months of testing, we are bringing some of the best in digital design and development into the heart of the family."

"Grasp's work is our shop window."

As part of the deal, Grasp's owner, Brian Jobling, becomes Business development director at Atom. He said: “An amazing development environment has already been created at Atom and it’s great to be part of a business with such enthusiasm and drive." He said Atom is rapidly expanding its development team.

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Atom Bank was the brainchild of founder Anthony Thomson. In 2009 he set up Metro Bank, the first banking organisation to open in the UK since the end of the 19th century.

“Biometric security and end-to-end in-app account opening are just some of the features being developed to deliver a branch-free, paper-free and stress-free bank,” said an Atom when it received its banking licence in June 2015.

The acquisition fits Atom’s strategy to own the IT that differentiates it from other banks, such as its customer-facing elements. In 2015 IT head Stewart Bromley told Computer Weekly that the bank will use off-the-shelf technology where there is little differentiation for flexibility, and to lower capital and operating costs. But he added: “When it comes to the customer-facing elements – such as the app – we believe this is differentiated significantly. Hence, we own and develop these components ourselves.”

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