Copley Equity Partners, a Boston- and Denver-based investment firm, is pumping expansion capital into Ardmore-based Gregory FCA, a 77-member, $11.4 million (yearly sales) public relations agency that calls itself the largest such firm in Philadelphia and one of the 50 largest in the U.S.
“The game plan is to double and triple the size of the company,” said Greg Matusky, president and founder at Gregory FCA. The FCA stands for “financial communications agency,” but the firm has expanded since its 1990 founding. It also represents health care, information technology, esports, and other clients, offering what Matusky calls “tech-enabled PR,” including online, data-backed, and social media programs.
Copley invests at least $5 million in each of the companies it backs, said firm cofounder Peter Trovato in an email. Copley Equity Partners is based at the Hale family investment office. Rob Hale owns Granite Telecommunications, which provides data and voice phone services.
The group’s other investments include Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Manhattan, the supply chain firm Hospital Couriers Corp. of Denver, and ClearCost Health of San Francisco, among others.
Copley is a minority shareholder, said Matusky. “But the intent is to grow. We put a couple of million dollars onto our balance sheet to acquire more talent, perhaps other firms, and to add service levels.”
Matusky said he and business partner Joe Anthony retain majority ownership and will still run Gregory FCA, which remains based in Ardmore.
“We see a significant opportunity to expand the platform that Gregory FCA has built,” Copley’s Trovato said in a statement. The firm has a history of “reinvention” as communications tech changed over the last 30 years, he added, noting the O’Dwyer’s advertising newsletter ranks Gregory FCA among the “top 10 financial PR firms,” with clients including Nuveen (bonds), Janney Montgomery Scott (securities), and People’s United Bank of Connecticut.
Gregory FCA was among the leaders in bringing financial companies into social media and other digital direct marketing venues, said cofounder Anthony.
(ADDED 1/14): A onetime Gregory FCA intern says his Philly startup, Flackable, represents another future for the city’s financial P.R. business and its attempts to wean clients from the big New York shops.
Brian Hart, a 2012 Temple grad who interned under Gregory FCA’s Anthony and spent two years at metro New York’s JConnelly (where his clients included Nationwide Financial) before setting up Flackable five years ago, says his group now employs 5 fulltime (and 3 parttime) staff, handling national clients such as USA Financial, TruClarity Management Solutions and Atlas Real Estate, plus locals Concord Financial Group, The Beacon Group of Companies and Creative Capital Wealth Management Group.
This week, Flackable debuts its “All-Access Client Portal” offering “unprecedented campaign access and transparency through real-time, on demand campaign metrics.” Says Hart, “We’re raising the bar and driving big results for registered investment advisors, asset managers and other financial firms across the country without that big New York City price tag.” He says he’s hiring and plans aggressive growth.