Brainlabs has secured fresh private equity investment as it eyes a path to becoming ‘the world’s largest independent media agency’.
The UK company, headquartered in London with a base in Manchester, will launch hubs in additional markets across Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America after it was backed by American private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners.
The investment values Brainlabs, founded in 2012 by former Google employee Daniel Gilbert to bring data and intelligence to advertising, at around $320 million, according to the Financial Times.
Today the company employs more than 850 people and counts the likes of Adidas, American Express, Estée Lauder, Mars and WeTransfer among its clients.
Brainlabs sold a minority stake to private equity company Livingbridge in 2019. Since then it has acquired and integrated eight agencies and expanded its international footprint beyond its London HQ.
Founder and global CEO Daniel Gilbert remains at the helm in partnership with Stephen Allan, executive chair and former Worldwide chairman & CEO of MediaCom.
“We’ve come a long way since I started the agency in my parents’ attic just over 10 years ago,” said Gilbert. “From day one, this business has been built on the belief that high performance in media would require a data-driven, tech-enabled methodology, rooted in digital media.
“With digitisation comes measurability and that’s why we created an agency with the culture to create and test, finding both the big game-changing moves and the marginal gains for our clients, using the smartest tech and the sharpest minds.
“I know that at Brainlabs, we have created something groundbreaking. Our success signals a new era, and we will be the first in a wave of challengers who will be pioneers: setting a new industry standard for media agencies.
“Our partnership with the equally forward-thinking Falfurrias Capital Partners validates that. There are so many people I’d like to thank, most of all of our extraordinary Brainlabbers and, of course, Livingbridge for their support over the last four years.”
Brainlabs also welcomes Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of The Ad Council, and Alexander Jutkowitz, executive in residence at FCP, to the board as non-executive directors.
Executive chair Allan added: ”When I came on board, I said that Brainlabs was a leading digital media agency which had proven itself to be a formidable competitor. I could see a very real opportunity for us to scale the business and to act for an increasing number of multinational and global clients, who would be excited by our unique approach to their media investments.
“Today’s announcement further solidifies this ambition. In the two years since I joined, we have welcomed more and more global brands to our client roster, who are seeing phenomenal results from our teams worldwide.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our previous investors Livingbridge for their support in our rapid growth story and look forward to partnering with the team at Falfurrias to take this growth to the next level.”
Geordie Pierson, Falfurrias Capital Partners, said: “We are unbelievably excited to back visionary founders like Steve and Dan. With his experience of building one of the first media independents, and then later leading WPP’s MediaCom, Steve helped shape the current media agency landscape.
“Using a revolutionary approach to data and tech, Dan embodies a new breed of media industry pioneers. There’s no limit on what we can accomplish together.”