Hugs all around: Fast-growing London tech startup bought by U.S. firm

London tech company VidHug is now Memento.

The firm — which helps users collect and showcase video greetings — has been bought and renamed by Massachusetts-based Punchbowl, with the deal becoming official last Thursday.

“It was clear we made a product and an experience that worked for people,” said VidHug founder Zamir Khan, who notes his company’s business had been growing “at a very exponential rate” during the last year.

“The pandemic basically became a massive education and marketing campaign” for online tools like VidHug, Khan said. He and his team of seven are now Punchbowl employees.

Khan’s creation allows users to send requests to a group of people for videos — say, for a birthday greeting — and then arranges them with minimal work, negating the need for advanced editing skills. The technology “makes it really easy for one person to organize that and make it happen,” he said. “My goal was always to democratize that.”

Khan wouldn’t disclose the terms of the deal, nor would he say if other companies had made previous offers.

The deal makes sense from his end, Khan says, because it means more personnel and energy will be focused on refining and spreading the word about how the technology works.

Khan also points out he received “a lot” of support from the RH Accelerator that helps local tech businesses once they have an established product in the market. “They deserve credit,” Khan said.

“(Khan) had a company that was humming along. Because of the pandemic, a service like VidHug became very popular very quickly,” RH Accelerator founder Brian Foster said.

With an operation like the one Khan started, Foster offered everything from mentorship to tech expertise and human resources help.

“It was a very positive transaction,” Foster said of the sale. “It was a tremendous opportunity for Zamir and it was a tremendous outcome.”

Punchbowl is an online party-planning company that is a “leader in that space,” Khan said. Its chief executive, Matt Douglas, reached out to Khan, and after the acquisition, rebranded VidHug as Memento.

Punchbowl recently received an injection of $5 million from SG Credit Partners, a California-based lower middle market lender.

Khan will remain in London. His team works remotely, mostly from within Ontario, although one employee is in British Columbia.

He said the talent his team was part of what made them an attractive acquisition. “They know there’s a lot of good talent in London, in Ontario,” Khan said.

“This is a really good example of what can happen in London,” Foster said.


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