Building Blocks Joins New Digital Group, Dept

Building Blocks has become the first transatlantic agency to join Dept- a new, international group of leading digital agencies.

Joining four leading Dutch firms, Building Blocks will operate side-by-side with its sister agencies, whilst retaining its own identity.

With Building Blocks joining the group, Dept will grow to over 350 employees with a joint revenue in excess of €45 million, and offices in the UK, US, Spain, and the Netherlands. Dept’s aim is to double its turnover to €100 million over the next five years.

Building Blocks joins sister agencies TamTam (a top three digital agency in the Netherlands), Expand Online (a specialist SEO agency), a friend of mine (a leading social agency in the Netherlands), and Second Degree (the first specialist LinkedIn marketing agency in Europe).


Andy Iddon (Co-Founder Building Blocks), Jonathan Whiteside (Co-Founder Building Blocks), Paul Manuel (Co-Founder Dept) and Jasper van de Luijtgaarden (CEO Building Blocks)

Spearheaded by Paul and Bart Manuel, co-founders of Dutch agency TamTam, and following investment from private equity firm Waterland, Dept will continue with its buy and build strategy to realise its international ambitions.

"Currently in the Dept network there are five companies," Paul Manuel explains. "All of them are winners. They are healthy companies with strong growth numbers, good margins, and very large customers. We all share the dream of building an international company, and we all see that there is a big opportunity to help our clients even better when we combine our strengths."


Building Blocks, which has offices in Manchester (UK), Boston (US) and Zaragoza (Spain), has already embarked on an ambitious expansion strategy, fuelled by autonomous growth. In 2010, it expanded into North America and, more recently, into mainland Europe where it opened its first Spanish office. The opportunity to join the Dept group is a natural progression in the evolution of the company. 

Building Blocks has just closed its most successful business year since it was founded in 2007 by Jonathan Whiteside and Andy Iddon, winning new business with global enterprises including Imperial Brands, Guardian Industries and Kaspersky Labs, and increasing its revenue by 25%.

Jasper van de Luijtgaarden, CEO at Building Blocks, said, “Building Blocks' core focus has always been on providing services to large, complex organisations with a transtlantic footprint. With Dept now as our parent company, Building Blocks can accelerate that focus, expand its international footprint and provide additional services to its clients.

Building Blocks' new sister agencies provide services which are complimentary to Building Blocks' core portfolio. Andy Iddon, Co-Founder of Building Blocks, explains, "The Dept network consists of leading, specialist agencies. For the first time, we will be able to offer our clients key digital marketing services to compliment the solutions which we implement, such as SEO, analytics and social media campaigns. "

When talking about the good culture fit of the network, Jonthan Whiteside, Co-Founder of Building Blocks, said, "By joining Dept, our employees will get to work on even bigger projects for even more prestigous clients, with strong career progression opportunities, all within the same atmosphere and culture which has proved so successful for Building Blocks over the past nine years."

We are excited to welcome the Building Blocks team into the Dept family,” said Paul Manuel, founder of Dept. “From the first moment, it felt like a perfect match. We share our culture, our entrepreneurial drive, and the will to always keep improving our work. Building Blocks being part of our network adds to our growing international footprint, and enables us to create even more game-changing digital services for organisations around the world. We can’t wait to work together!

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