The founders of R2integrated are giving up ownership to get bigger.
Chicago-based Baird Capital took a majority stake in the downtown digital marketing firm.
R2integrated CEO Matt Goddard declined to disclose the terms of the deal, but said he and other upper management are no longer the majority shareholders. The investment is designed to fuel new growth, including acquisitions.
“It’s basically a tradeoff of a majority share in the company vs. having a serious partner that can really help us grow the business,” said Goddard, who founded the company with David Taub in 2003.
About 90 employees work out of the company’s offices overlooking Inner Harbor on East Pratt Street. Goddard has maintained that he wants to build a big company that is based in Baltimore, and he continued to do so when discussing the acquisition, saying the company is “here to stay in Baltimore.”
The growth that led up to this deal has brought further geographic expansion. Last year, R2integrated acquired New York-based MakeMeSocial and Silicon Valley-based CatapultWorks. It also has offices in Seattle and St. Louis.
More geographic growth could be coming fueled by capital from this deal, as well as 100-200 more employees, Goddard said.
Along with existing clients like Microsoft, Hershey, Chevron and MasterCard, the firm is looking to focus on the “middle market” of companies that do $1 billion-$5 billion in revenue. R2integrated helps the brands integrate marketing cloud technology and tools that can personalize how customers interact with businesses.
Goddard said the “only” operational change is that Baird Capital’s Owen Sullivan will become the chair of the company’s board. Existing senior management will maintain their day-to-day leadership positions in the deal, and a “considerable equity stake.”