Three Year Journey

It’s been a while since I last posted a blog, and for good reason; I’ve had my head down helping build an agency that’s sought after! On 4/2/2019, we announced the acquisition of BrightWave to Ansira.

I joined the BrightWave family 3 years ago (4/18/2016), and it’s been a surprisingly thrilling ride with an unbelievable team. When I first joined the team we had under 30 employees and now have well over 75+ and growing quickly. We set the standard for what a great Email & eCRM agency needs to look like in order to deliver critical value to clients. We also changed the narrative of what an Email & eCRM agency can do with an idea-centric team who can deliver for the wave of changes we predict in the marketing and consumer landscape. The way our agency thinks, and most importantly, how our people have attacked the marketplace has resulted in us winning. I couldn’t be more proud of what the team has achieved in the past 3 years and what we’ve set up for the next phase and evolution.

So, why sell now, and why join forces with Ansira? To answer that, it’s important to note that this isn’t my first rodeo. BrightWave (BW) is my third (1st was Spunlogic, 2nd Engauge) agency to grow and sell successfully. Each exit is different and unique, and each comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges. In the case of BW, we had not gone-to-market with an investment banker to find a buyer nor were we actively seeking an immediate exit like my other agencies. However, at the pace of our growth, we knew a strategic partner at some point would be beneficial to solve for the rate of growth (working capital), geographical expansion (BW is concentrated in Atlanta), and service offering expansion. As we won larger deals and more complex assignments, we had a perceived limitation of how large of an engagement we could scale into and some clients wanted other service offerings coming from the same agency group (Web, direct, media, loyalty, etc.) which is something we stayed away from as part of our core strategy to build a team that was focused on Email & eCRM that could kick anyone else’s asses with the depth and scale of very specific skilled talent.

We’ve had several companies approach us, but when we looked closely at what Ansira had, we found synergies that would help solve some of the challenges we knew where coming with our growth while still allowing us to continue our world dominating strategy to be the best agency for cross-channel communication solutions. Ansira is backed by one of the largest private equity (PE) firms, Advent International. We were attracted to Advent’s scale, discipline, and approach. They are investing heavily in the Ansira platform and have brought in an amazing roster of senior leaders to propel the business and operations. We get to benefit from the investments in Ansira that flow back to us as well as the financial stability we need as we continue to grow. Ansira in its own right has some incredible assets and scale; they are one of the largest independent agencies in the US with over 900+ people across 13 offices. Combined, we have an incredible amount of scale and sophistication in email and Martech services, especially within Adobe and Salesforce. Lastly, Ansira is the category leader in Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) and has unique tech IP and talent that will be attractive to our client base. For Ansira, they sought to find the best-in-class email agency disrupting the industry and we’ve generated a lot of buzz in the community with our EiQ conference, strategic, creative and innovative thinking that has allowed us to stand out as a channel specific email agency. That’s very attractive to the Ansira client base who want the type of creative and innovative leadership in the channel to transform their email programs.

BrightWave remains its own brand but is now backed by Ansira and Advent. Our strategy 3 years ago to create a defensible and disruptive email & eCRM agency does not change with this acquisition it only helps fuel the BW unit and I hope the next 3+ years pushes us even further with the support of our new family.


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