LaunchSquad: Agency Business Report 2015

LaunchSquad increased its revenue by 24% in 2014, its fifth consecutive year of growth at 20% or more.

Jason Mandell
Jason Mandell

Principal: Jason Mandell, cofounder and partner
Ownership: Independent
Offices: San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Detroit
Revenue: $14,062,803
Headcount: 106

LaunchSquad increased its revenue by 24% in 2014, its fifth consecutive year of growth at 20% or more, says cofounder and partner Jason Mandell.

"We did not quite meet our goals that we had set at the beginning of the year, but we were close," he says. New business accounted for 33% of growth and US profit margin was 12.4%.

"Because of the business we are in with startups and tech companies, it is a healthy market and we are able to take advantage of that," Mandell explains.

Accounts won last year included Jet.com, Opower, and Twice. LaunchSquad also began representing Facebook in New York. And in early 2015, the agency won business with StubHub following a competitive review.

Besides working with giants such as AOL and Clear Channel, the firm has a large client base of startups, which can have its downside, Mandell adds.

"We have a higher client churn than the average firm because we live in the world of startups," he says.

An example of that was LaunchSquad’s split late in 2014 from TV-over-Internet startup Aereo, which filed for bankruptcy and let go employees after losing a Supreme Court copyright battle with television networks.

"That happens a lot, but not always in a high-profile way," Mandell says of the Aereo loss. "If the case went the other way, it could have become one of the most successful clients in our history."

The agency also parted ways with two San Francisco clients – data protection company Acronis and Web and mobile software company Asana.

Mandell says he doesn’t consider LaunchSquad a tech agency anymore. Many clients are not traditional technology companies, but are part of the "innovation economy," he says.

For example, LaunchSquad works with five inventive companies in the fashion industry, including American Giant, named one of Fast Company’s 2015 Most Innovative Companies for efforts to reshape the apparel supply chain, and True & Co, an e-commerce lingerie startup.

Creative services in demand
Since launching a video service in 2008, LaunchSquad’s content marketing and creative services group now makes up about 20% of the firm’s staff and client base, Mandell explains.

The agency plans also to continue investing in this unit and wants to expand in areas such as design and analytics.

"When we started the agency, we were a media relations firm," Mandell adds. "Now we have all kinds of people in our company – screenwriters, journalists, designers, producers, and people focused on social media and analytics. When I got into the business, you pitched reporters. Now a lot of us are the reporters."

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