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We've been investing in strategy and user experience for a while now. First we invested in talented people, then in advancing our process and software, and in early 2020 we opened a UX lab! 

But we wanted to show we were serious about strategy by investing in expert people and maturing our service offering.

Enter Stardotstar. A strategy and experience agency that reflects our values in people, quality process, and creativity. 

Stardotstar website home page


Stardotstar, headed by Gez O’Brien, was founded in 2000 in Manchester. They had developed a reputation for succeeding on a diverse range of projects, connected only by the innovative application of technology and strategic insight. The team have worked with clients including First4Adoption, Channel 4, CBBC, Monster, The Open University and Department of Transport; winning a notable number of awards, including five BIMAs.

The Stardotstar acquisition, completed June 2020, is our second specialist acquisition, Lancaster-based ecommerce and hosting specialists, Nublue in early 2019.

At CTI, we've offered digital strategy services since 2010 to clients and on a tendered basis, and began offering the strategy and UX services publicly from 2017. Headed by Matt Smith, our strategy and experience team have opened a UX lab and worked with clients including International Animal Rescue, Durham University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of West London, Manchester Central, and luxury commerce brand Little Greene.

As part of our CTI group strategy, Gez O’Brien and Matt Smith have taken strategy and creative, and strategy and experience director roles respectively, in heading the Stardotstar brand.

Nick Rhind, CEO of CTI Digital, said:
“CTI Digital has been an evolving body since we began in 2003. The development of our strategy and experience team has been client lead, meaning we have built a service that works for real organisations and understands their pains when it comes to digital. We have invested heavily in building our digital strategy service alongside our strong development credentials, hiring aggressively and opening a state of the art UX lab.”

“Knowing Gez was approachable on a sale, we discussed the direction the CTI Group is heading in. His ethos and brand heritage fit comfortably with CTI and Nublue, and Gez was pleased to embark on an acquisition with CTI Digital. It’s taken a few months to get the deal done, but I look forward to the expertise Stardotstar will bring to and across the group.”

Gez O’Brien, MD of Stardotstar, said:
“I’ve known CTI for some years, but it was only after working with them on several projects, that the conversation around an acquisition came up. Having worked with them for some time, I could see Stardotstar fit in the bigger CTI picture, and I’m inspired to help make that vision a reality. Stardotstar will be able to focus on its core strengths of discovery and creativity but have the CTI Group behind it on build and delivery. We’re bringing together the best strategy with the best in robust and scalable build. I can’t wait to see what we do together.”

Stardotstar will be joining us in our Manchester HQ (When we decide it's right to go back in).

Visit Stardotstar's new website here.

And click here to learn more about the CTI Group brands.

Any questions, contact us on our contact page.

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