Software shop DmgCtrl merges with Newtown-based Tonic Design - Philly


Jun. 10, 2014 1:23 pm

Software shop DmgCtrl merges with Newtown-based Tonic Design

Founders from both companies said it was a natural fit. For one, the firms were already working on several projects together.

Tonic Design's new Philadelphia office is at 5th and Spring Garden Streets.

(Photo courtesy of Tonic Design)

DmgCtrl, a four-year-old mobile software shop, has merged with Tonic Design, a four-year-old Newtown, Pa.-based design firm, its founders said.

The merged company is called Tonic Design, with roughly 65 people between two offices in Newtown and Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood. The new company, which makes mobile products for big brands, includes clients such as Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and AstraZeneca.

No money changed hands during the merger, which was completed in March, said Mac Morgan, cofounder of DmgCtrl and now president of Tonic Design. The main cost was lawyer’s fees for drawing up contracts, he said.

mac morgan

Mac Morgan, president of Tonic Design, at the firm’s Callowhill office, with a friend.

The move made sense for a number of reasons, said Morgan, 33, of North Wales, Pa. For one, the two companies were already working on several projects together.

DmgCtrl, which left its N3rd Street office for a larger space at 5th and Spring Garden in late 2012, focused solely on mobile development. They didn’t have a sales or client services team. Every customer they got was through word of mouth (“we were like a speakeasy,” Morgan said), and they’d often get work from local agencies like Razorfish. You might remember their unusually sparse website.


Merging with Tonic Design means gaining access to Tonic’s design team, but also Tonic teams focused on client services and new business. It also means working with big clients that Tonic already had relationships with, like Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s and Urban Outfitters.

The new company can now take software “from design to release,” Morgan said.

chris bye

Chris Bye, CEO of Tonic Design, outside his company’s office in Newtown, Pa.

Tonic Design was founded by Chris Bye and Brian Brossman, both of whom worked at digital agencies like Hatboro-based Refinery, where Morgan met Bye, and King of Prussia-based Cadient Group. Bye, 40, of Newtown, is the CEO of Tonic Design.

Tonic Design’s Philadelphia office, which houses mostly the development team, is a 2,500 square foot space on the third floor of 441 N. 5th St. They share the building with companies like high-end jewelry makers Lagos and nonprofit Community Integrated Services. Its Newtown space is 5,000 square feet. See more photos of the spaces below. All photos courtesy of Tonic Design.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.


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