Since its formation in 2009, Manchester-based Apadmi, a leading mobile app developer, has expanded rapidly and is continuing to take on new staff and clients. Howard Simms, co-founder and director of Apadmi, writes for Northern Soul about the company’s origins, recent changes and where the business is heading.

Howard Simms, Director & Co-FounderThe mood at Apadmi has been really upbeat of late – not least because The Guardian launched its Happy for Life app late last year, which we developed for them.

The Happy for Life app suggests users do one of three activities each day to help boost how happy they feel, as well as keeping tabs on their progress. The app forms part of The Guardian’s wider Happy for Life campaign, which is a project between Guardian Labs and the life insurance brand Beagle Street. It looks at what makes the nation happy and the country’s happiness levels as a whole.

It’s been great to see the positive reaction to our app. Our team gets a real kick out of seeing the apps we have developed being used by people across the country. And collaborating with clients from different sectors means that the work is always interesting, as each client comes to us with a brief that requires us to focus on a different target audience or different concerns.

Guardian Happy for Life app

Working with such a diverse range of clients has also meant that we are constantly recruiting, and have been since pretty much day one. Since setting up Apadmi in 2009 with my fellow directors Garry Partington, Nick Black and Adam Fleming, our headcount has grown and grown – we now have 71 members of staff compared to only 25 in 2011, meaning our staff numbers have increased by 184 per cent in the last four years.

Furthermore, because we are continually taking on new clients (Apadmi’s portfolio includes the BBC, BT, Aviva, the British Museum and Skyscanner), our revenues are buoyant. Turnover grew by 90 per cent in 2010/11, 130 per cent in 2011/12, and 8 per cent in 2012/13 when we decided to focus on consolidating our position and reinvesting profits to help with future growth. Due to this, we forecast that turnover will have grown by another 78 per cent in 2013/14. This is testament to the hard work of our staff and also shows that there is an expanding appetite among businesses for high quality mobile solutions.

Guardian Happy for Life appSuch has been our success, we’re now proud to call ourselves a Top 10 Global Developer. We’ve also expanded to become the Apadmi Group, comprising Apadmi and the digital market research company RealityMine, which operates out of Manchester, Los Angeles and New York.

RealityMine, which was named the Rising Star at the 2014 Northern Tech Awards and won the Innovation & Enterprise Award at last year’s Trafford Business Awards, was set up by my Apadmi co-founder Garry Partington and his business partner Rolfe Swinton in 2012. It has since worked with clients across Europe, North America and Asia, serving the world’s leading market research and media brands.

Looking forward, who knows what the future holds? But I’m confident we’ll continue to grow and prosper for years to come.

By Howard Simms, Co-founder and Director of Apadmi


The Happy for Life app is available to download now from the App Store and Google ApadmiPlay. The Guardian’s Happy for Life campaign can be found hereFor more information, please visit or