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Parkin sells to technology investor

A pioneering business website set up by former regional press journalists has been sold to a technology investor for an undisclosed sum.

David Parkin, a former business editor of the Yorkshire Post, set up in Leeds in 2007 and later expanded it to cover the North West and West Midlands.

Now it is set to become a UK-wide operation following a deal which sees Birmingham-based entrepreneur Mark Hales take full control of the business.

David and the other founders have sold their stakes in the business to Mark, who is promising to invest a six-figure sum to take on further staff, introduce new products and expand into new regions.

New owner Mark Hales, left, with founder David Parkin

Mark first invested in the in February 2010 when the business opened its third website in the West Midlands.

A specialist technology investor, his Oxygen Accelerator programme has seen dozens of early stage investments completed.

Said Mark:  “ is already a great premium publishing brand and with the experience I have of developing technology businesses we can take big leaps forward from the foundations the team has put down in its three key UK markets.

“We will invest in a new desktop and mobile site as well as bringing in new products, and we plan to expand our events business significantly, and then plan to take the service to new regions within the year.”

David will continue as a director of the company he set up with PR and media specialist Paul Snape, former lawyer Chris Jones and accountant Colin Glass in 2007.

He said:  “This marks a new stage in the business and will allow us to invest in redeveloping the site and adding new technology.

“There are a lot of people who have contributed to our success, not least the original board and the backers who took a leap of faith in 2007 when we had spent over a year seeking funding from a variety of funds, banks and other sources.

“We are grateful to them for their support and I am excited to see what we can achieve working with Mark Hales as we look to the next stage of expansion, taking the brand we have created together to a national audience.” now employs 12 journalists and sales staff and has more than 115,000 registered users.

It was shortlisted for Digital News Service of the Year in the 2012 National Newspaper Awards alongside The Sunday Times and Huffington Post.