The Archer Group, the fast-growing Wilmington digital firm founded by Lee Mikles and Patrick Callahan in 2003, has entered a new phase: It is now part of Bounteous, a Chicago-based digital firm with offices in Denver, Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco and Berlin.
“Rest assured, our presence in Wilmington will only grow,” said Archer Group CEO Michael Derins, in an announcement on the company’s website.
Derins, who has served as CEO and managing director of Archer since 2011, will join Bounteous as EVP of business development and will also serve on its board of directors.
“I think we’ve been very good to Delaware, and I think Delaware’s been very good to us,” he said, in an interview with Technical.ly. “We’re very proud to have the organization here. Our desire is to continue to nurture it and grow it, and the collective Bounteous organization is very excited to have a Wilmington location,” with its access to regional talent in Philadelphia and other Mid-Atlantic metros.
“[For Bounteous] to now have another organization represented on the east coast and have access to the talent in this greater area is going to be very, very important for the future of the organization,” he said.
Currently, the company has 94 employees in Wilmington, increasing the number of Bounteous employees to approximately 500.
Among The Archer Group’s well-known projects are the Wawa in-store touchscreens and JCPenney Optical‘s online Virtual Try On feature. In 2018, Archer Group art director Jill de la Fuente spoke at Philly Tech Week’s Introduced by Technical.ly conference about how the company used virtual reality in the design process to create accessibility-compliant, in-store digital setups for Wawa.
As it grew, The Archer Group became aware that continued growth meant joining with a company that offered more than what they had alone.
“We’re so strong in what we do, but we knew in order to get to the next level, in order to make sure the organization was as stable as possible and provided as much growth for all of the employees here, that we needed to become much stronger in our data and technology platform of practices,” Derins said. “We have a strong technology team here, but a real engineering practice is much easier said than done. So we started talking to organizations that were strong in the areas that we weren’t so strong.”
Discussions with Bounteous began about seven months ago.
“From a client perspective, I’m really excited to fuse the power of the two organizations,” he said. “The Archer clients are definitely heavier on the strategy, user experience and design side of the coin. The Bounteous side of the coin is still very much digital customer experience work, but it’s much more from a focus of understanding deep entrenchment in technology and personalization and data science. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun in the upcoming months, figuring out just how to choreograph them.”
The company will stay in its current downtown Wilmington location at 600 N. King St.
“We just moved into this office in 2017, so we have plenty of years left on our lease,” Derins said. “We have just over 27,000 square feet here. We’ll see what the future brings, but we may very well have to add on to that.”
While the location will stay the same, the name will change to Bounteous, something that will become official after a transition period of about three months.
“We will very thoughtfully wind things down and bring them together,” Derins said. “It’s not something where you flip a switch and it happens overnight.”