This post was originally made on the Assanka blog. Assanka was acquired by the Financial Times in January 2012, and became what is now FT Labs. Learn more.
Following public reports based on recent Financial Times internal memos, we’re excited to be able to confirm that the FT has acquired Assanka.
When we set up Assanka way back in 2003, we had a hundred quid and wanted to do cool stuff with web technologies. In the nearly nine years since then, we have taken on a huge variety of challenges, for an equally diverse range of clients, many of whom have become firm friends along the way. We’ve tinkered, experimented, hacked, built things that couldn’t be built, done things that couldn’t be done, broken stuff, fixed it again, and made it better the second time.
And we’ve grown too, with thirteen people now making up the exceptional group of engineers who call Assanka home (not forgetting Shadow the dog, of course). Together we built the UK’s first map based property search, and in doing so almost got our client sued by the British Government. We introduced Londoners to live blogging in 2008 for the mayoral election coverage in thelondonpaper, and for readers of the FT our tools power virtually all the social media, interactive data and charting, live chat and blogging features you’ll find through FT.com.
We also picked up three Webby Awards, as well as accolades from the Association of Online Publishers and Editor and Publisher Magazine.
Since our first involvement with the FT over five years ago, we’ve always been impressed with the organisation’s willingness to take risks – with new business models, new technologies, untested suppliers – and then measure, evaluate, learn and improve. There is no pressure to go with the flow, instead, conventional or currently fashionable ideas are challenged and questioned. The culture inspires people to innovate, both in terms of content and delivery, and the pairing of some of the world’s finest writers with an open minded approach to getting that content to readers makes for an excitingly potent combination.
It seemed natural for the FT to make the leap to advanced web technologies and HTML5 for publishing on mobile devices in a way that matches the effortless usability of native apps, and we were proud to be able to make that happen. The launch of the touch optimised FT Web App for smartphones and tablets actually changed many people’s views of what web apps were capable of, and we hope might have inspired more people to tread the same path.
Now, we want to do more, and with many exciting goals on the horizon, we were delighted to accept the FT’s offer to give us a new home. We’ll also shortly be unveiling a new identity and a new site which we hope will become a useful resource and a destination for developers who want to engage with the FT.
Assanka has always produced very bespoke solutions for individual clients, and we’re working with those clients and a number of carefully selected partners to ensure they continue to get a great service from a new supplier. We’d like to express our deepest appreciation to them and the many others who have made Assanka what we are today.