Shauna Lewis
Sep 18, 2023

Brainlabs eyes global expansion with new private equity investment

The digital agency founded in 2012 has grown by 800% since Livingbridge’s investment in 2019—including launching across Latin America and APAC.

Brainlabs: Stephen Allan (left) and Daniel Gilbert.
Brainlabs: Stephen Allan (left) and Daniel Gilbert.

Brainlabs has secured private equity investment from Falfurrias Capital Partners, which succeeds Livingbridge after a four-year partnership.

The investment will support Brainlabs’ plans for global expansion, the agency having grown by 800% since Livingbridge’s investment in 2019. Staff numbers grew from 250 to 800 and it also launched in Latin America and APAC.

The agency also made several acquisitions, including Amazon agency Molzi, influencer agency Fanbytes and data specialist Nabler.

Speaking to Campaign in June 2022, Dan Gilbert, founder and global chief executive, had been working on the agency’s global expansion plans for a year already. “The past was about capability. The future is about geography,” he said at the time.

Speaking in 2023, Gilbert called the agency the first in a wave of “pioneers” who will set a “new industry standard for media agencies”.

He added: “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 its support over the past four years.”

Brainlabs’ success includes its appointment as media agency for The Estée Lauder Companies UK and Ireland. The independent took over from Omnicom Media Group’s Manning Gottlieb OMD.

The shift away from traditional media agencies towards digital-first shops was also marked by the appointment of Stephen Allan, former global chief executive of WPP’s MediaCom, as executive chairman in 2021. When the agency launched in Latin America, Fernando Silva, also a former MediaCom chief executive, joined the agency to lead it in that region.

Allan said: ”When I came on board, I said that Brainlabs was a leading digital media agency that 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.”

Brainlabs' client portfolio also includes WeTransfer and Adidas.

Geordie Pierson, partner at Falfurrias Capital Partners, called Gilbert and Allan “visionary founders” and added: “There's no limit on what we can accomplish together.”

Campaign UK

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