The Reference acquires New York-based digital agency Karbyn

The Reference acquires New York-based digital agency Karbyn

- Commercial information -

The Reference acquires New York-based digital-first agency Karbyn.
This acquisition is the next logical step for the Belgian agency, after opening an office in Manhattan last year. Not only does this significantly increase its footprint in the North American market, it also gives clear evidence of its ambitions to further grow and be a true global digital partner. Both companies, together now 150 people strong, share technological solutions like the Sitecore©  Experience PlatformTM and a pragmatic and customer centric go to market approach.

Both agencies have an impressive record of accomplishment in diverse areas within digital transformation, such as strategy and branding, mobile and web development, marketing automation for SMB’s and Fortune 500 companies. The Karbyn experts now join forces with their The Reference counterparts in Ghent, Antwerp and New York. They all create digital value at the intersection of marketing and technology.

Anja Cappelle, CEO of The Reference:
‘We are very enthusiastic to welcome our new friends at Karbyn. They add top-notch expertise in our digital transformation offering, and serves top clients such as ASCAP, Dealertrack and many more. Today 8% of our revenue comes out of the North American market and thanks to this merger this should increase to 24% in 2018.’

Olivier Deneef, CCO of The Reference US adds:
‘Together, we will serve our existing US clients even better. This merger gives us the benefit of scale, and makes us an even stronger contender in the US market. No doubt we’re in a very good position to add exciting new accounts.’

Jim de la Bastide (CEO) and Joe Donofrio (COO) of Karbyn:
‘The Reference is a top full-service digital agency that rapidly earned its stripes in the North American market. Karbyn’s solutions have always been innovative and future proof, and together we will be able to offer an even wider range of services to our customers, maintaining the same level of quality. We’re very excited about the future!’

Olivier Deneef will join the management team of the US entity as CCO, together with Jim de la Bastide (CEO) and Joe Donofrio (COO), who will report directly to Anja Cappelle (CEO).

As The Reference joined the Emakina Group in 2007, the leading independent European agency group takes full ownership of Karbyn through its subsidiary The Reference. This means the newborn US entity has access to the expertise of over 800 Emakina experts, while Emakina Group creates new support opportunities for its international clients.

This acquisition is subject to the approval of the Emakina Group board, with the final value of the transaction to be based on operational results recorded by Karbyn until 2022.

It's more than digital, it's your business.

Established in 1993, The Reference is the first Belgian web agency and a true European digital pioneer. The multichannel agency turns objectives into success stories and assists its clients in strategic transformation projects.
150 experts in Antwerp, Ghent and New York combine marketing and technologies like Sitecore, Umbraco and Selligent. They seamlessly integrate brand design, e-commerce, marketing automation, search engine marketing, social media, analytics, mobile & tablet, and custom applications. The Reference joined Emakina Group in 2007, strengthening its international reach.

The Reference works for clients like EDF Luminus, Ikea, National Lottery, Bekaert, DELA, Thomas Cook, Makro Cash & Carry Belgium, Gates Europe, Swiss Education Group, Fluxys, Colruyt, Axa, Ansell, Shurgard Europe, Carglass, Melexis, …


Anja Cappelle     Chief Executive Officer                    
[email protected]

Bart Roofthooft  Marketing and Integration Director   
[email protected]

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Luc Malcorps Director of Media Relations, Emakina Group
Bart Roofthooft Marketing & Integration Director, The Reference
Luc Malcorps Director of Media Relations, Emakina Group
Bart Roofthooft Marketing & Integration Director, The Reference
About Emakina Group SA

Emakina Group, an EPAM Systems, Inc. company (NYSE: EPAM), is one of the leading digital groups of independent digital agencies, with 26 offices in 18 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Learn more at and follow us on Twitter @EmakinaGroup.

About EPAM Systems

Since 1993, EPAM Systems, Inc. (NYSE: EPAM) has leveraged its advanced software engineering heritage to become the foremost global digital transformation services provider – leading the industry in digital and physical product development and digital platform engineering services. Through its innovative strategy; integrated advisory, consulting and design capabilities; and unique ‘Engineering DNA,’ EPAM’s globally deployed hybrid teams help make the future real for clients and communities around the world by powering better enterprise, education and health platforms that connect people, optimize experiences, and improve people’s lives.

Selected by Newsweek as a 2021 Most Loved Workplace, EPAM’s global multi-disciplinary teams serve customers in more than 40 countries across five continents. As a recognized leader, EPAM is listed among the top 15 companies in Information Technology Services on the Fortune 1000 and ranked as the top IT services company on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list for the last three consecutive years. EPAM is also listed among Ad Age’s top 25 World’s Largest Agency Companies and in 2020, Consulting Magazine named EPAM Continuum a top 20 Fastest-Growing Firm.

Learn more at and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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