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Blue Acorn, Charleston tech business sold in 2017, makes an acquisition

Blue Acorn

Blue Acorn iCi was founded in Charleston and keeps an office on Williman Street on the upper peninsula, though it has spread out to add offices in Raleigh, New York, Toronto, Connecticut, Los Angeles and Texas. Provided/Blue Acorn iCi

An e-commerce firm founded in Charleston and acquired two years ago went west for its latest purchase. 

Blue Acorn, a digital strategy and commerce company, announced the buyout of Colorado-based digital marketing business Mediotype on Wednesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Chris Guerra, chief growth officer for Blue Acorn, said one of the chief reasons for the buy is Mediotype's top-of-class development and engineering expertise. Mediotype's management team in Boulder will remain in place and the facility there will expand, according to a written statement. Guerra said the acquisition also gives Blue Acorn a western outpost for the first time. 

It's the latest step in the evolution of Blue Acorn, which began by designing shopping websites for companies, mostly in the Southeast.

"Now, in reality, the Southeast is one small subset of our client base," Guerra said.

Beringer Capital, a private equity firm from Canada, bought a stake in Blue Acorn in 2017 and began listing it among it its portfolio of businesses. 

At the time, Kevin Eichelberger — Blue Acorn's founder and original CEO — wrote in a blog post that building websites alone "isn’t going to be enough to help our clients solve the challenges ahead." Since then, Blue Acorn appears to have been in transition. 

Lately, it's been picking up companies and adding offices across the country to expand its footprint and tackle more of its clients' digital needs. When it bought BrandShop in 2017, for example, it added warehousing and shipping to its repertoire. 

In April, the company merged with Raleigh's iCiDigital, Inc., a deal that tweaked its formal name to Blue Acorn iCi

The combined company employed about 400 workers; the more recent Mediotype acquisition brings the total employees closer to 450. The merger with iCi Digital also made Eichelberger a joint leader.

The company has an office on Williman Street on the upper peninsula, though less than half its total workforce is based in Charleston. Other outposts are in Raleigh, New York, Toronto, Connecticut, Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas.

Blue Acorn counts Charter Communications, Gerber, Panera Bread and Ticketmaster among its clients. 

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In a statement, Brian Martin, vice chairman of Beringer Capital, said Mediotype was courting other possible buyers.

"There were a number of organizations that wanted to partner with Mediotype and we are absolutely thrilled their leadership team selected Blue Acorn iCi," he said.

On defense

Registration is open for one of the largest gatherings of  defense industry technology professionals on the East Coast.

Now in its 13th years, the Charleston Defense Contractors Association's Defense Summit is set for Dec. 11-12 at the Charleston Area Convention Center

Attendance typically includes more than 1,000 industry leaders. The conference gives businesses a chance to meet and learn more about the complex world of defense contracting. 

A Post and Courier review of five years of spending data from the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment shows $13.1 billion worth of Department of Defense contracts were performed or awarded in the Palmetto State.

This year, the theme of the contractor association's event is "Increasing the Speed of Warfighting Innovation." Details can be found at

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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