What's on the horizon for Challenger agencies?

Brainlabs has always spoken very publicly about its funding ambitions so news of their latest investment round this week wasn’t exactly unexpected. 

And well done to them for securing an FT exclusive as a platform to talk about the next stage in their journey accompanied by an impressive headline that the business “has boosted its valuation more than eightfold to $320mn in its latest fundraising”.

You’ve got to admire Dan Gilbert’s stated mission of becoming “the number one media agency in the world,” but to do that you really need scale.

The issue of scale for Brainlabs and other Challenger agencies is something that Waypoint Partner Matt Lacey has given real thought to. He shared his insights recently with Performance Marketing World and you can read that article here.

To drive the scale point home, bear in mind the following. The average Challenger agency size is <1,000 people (Brainlabs is 850), excluding the top end of the cohort with businesses like Stagwell that dwarfs them all at ~$2.7bn revenue and 11,000 people; S4 Capital with ~$1.1bn revenue and 8,000 employees; and Brandtech with ~1bn revenue and 7,000 employees. When you compare those larger Challengers to the likes of WPP and its 100,000 employees globally you quickly get a sense of perspective!

For more data on Challenger agencies, go to Waypoint’s analysis here.

Matt Lacey

Post by Matt Lacey

Partner at Waypoint Partners

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