Growth Catalyst Partners (GCP), a mid-market private equity a private investment firm, and PSP Capital, backed by former US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, have acquired a majority stake in mobile video ad platform Beachfront Media.
The companies declined to disclose the deal terms.
As a result of the transaction, Beachfront co-founder and CEO Frank Sinton will move into the role of president. Bill Jennings, who most recently served as CEO of the ad tech platform PageScience, will become CEO. Rich O’Connor, who left PageScience after its acquisition by Accent Health in 2016, assumes the role of CFO.
The 10-year-old mobile video SSP hadn’t taken any venture funding since its inception and has been profitable for several years, which spurred its decision to go with a private equity firm to fuel expansion, Sinton said.
Beachfront employs 25 people and plans to relocate its headquarters and sales operation to New York from Florida; there will be no layoffs.
The investment will help Beachfront expand its sales and marketing presence in New York, as well as internationally.
“We always had a focus on product and technology, but really hadn’t taken any outside capital to grow the business,” Sinton said. “Over the last four years, we’ve really focused on mobile video, and while consumer usage has shifted, advertising budgets haven’t necessarily kept up, so we continue to see huge opportunity to grow in the mobile video space.”
Unlike other PE buyouts where ad tech assets were rolled into larger stacks, the Beachfront deal was different, said Scott Peters, managing partner for Growth Catalyst Partners. GCP, which specializes in media and marketing, had been in talks with Jennings to collaborate on an investment.
Prior to PageScience, Jennings worked for A+E Networks and helped launch and sell the video ad network Lightningcast to AOL, and he was eager to get back into video. At the time, Jennings was also pursuing investments with GCP. GCP called in its colleagues at PSP to partner to take a majority stake in Beachfront.
“We got excited about because of Beachfront’s laser focus on video, and the dynamics underpinning video consumption specifically in mobile and OTT,” said GCP’s Peters.
Because Beachfront didn’t hail from the cookie-based desktop world, it claims it’s better positioned to meet the demands of converged buying groups – meaning mobile or traditional TV buyers who are increasingly investing in OTT.
With more resources now to double down on tech, Sinton says the company hopes to solve a range of issues associated with retargeting, viewability measurement and frequency capping in OTT.
Beachfront will also leverage its investors’ network of media and marketing contacts to expand its customer list and add new publishers.
Although PSP Capital doesn’t disclose its roster of portfolio companies since it is Pritzker’s own private investment firm, media and marketing is a new area for the firm.
The investment firm is increasingly interested in video technology and sees Beachfront as a linchpin in that category, said Troy Noard, managing director at PSP Capital.
“While our focus will really be on organic growth, if there are acquisitions that make sense to add to the Beachfront platform, we’ll definitely do it,” Noard said. “Unlike others in the ad tech world where there had been tons of capital required to get to scale, Beachfront had been able to scale profitably early on, so it showed us the power of their business model.”