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Business Observer Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2021 5 months ago

Area tech firm, after acquisition, maintains billion-dollar goals

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Revcontent also plans to move into a new office later this year.

One of the largest-ever homegrown Sarasota tech firms, Revcontent, has a new owner — but the local CEO maintains ambitious growth plans.

Revcontent, which specializes in native advertising, or paid marketing content on websites, was acquired in early June when Star Mountain Capital Partners and Capital Dynamics acquired a majority stake in it. Financial terms of the deal for Revcontent, which had $183.8 million in revenue when it made the Inc. 500 in 2017, weren’t disclosed. Revcontent was also named a GrowFL company to watch in 2020, when, company officials say, it paid out more than $500 million to online publishers.

Even at that size, giant by Sarasota tech company standards, Revcontent CEO Richard Marques believes the firm has a lot more room to grow. “We want to be a $1 billion business,” Marques tells Coffee Talk. “Sometimes the only way you can do that is with outside players. (Star Mountain and Capital Dynamics) have a ton of experience in our industry, which is hard to come by.”

Marques says Revcontent worked with investment bankers in 2018 to strategize on a growth path: raise capital or find a buyer. It chose the acquisition path, Marques says, with the idea to find a partner — not merely an exit strategy. He believes Revcontent found that, saying the firm’s new majority owners will be consultative, and are “not going to be pulling all the levers and telling us what to do.”

The acquisition offers Revcontent the financial support to increase its reach in the native marketing space, a $40 billion sector, according to a statement. “We believe Revcontent has a unique position within the native advertising market and will benefit from advertisers' increasing focus on contextual advertising, given a number of the changes occurring to restrict consumer privacy,” Star Mountain Managing Director Bruce Eatroff says in the statement. New York-based Star Mountain manages some $2 billion in assets across a variety of industries.

Revcontent has about 80 employees and will be moving soon to a new office on Fruitville Road, between downtown Sarasota and the Rosemary District. Sarasota entrepreneur and commercial real estate investor John Lemp, who founded Revcontent in 2013, owns the firm’s new building, 1515 Fruitville Road. Revcontent was originally a subsidiary of another firm Lemp founded, Perform[cb], which was named Clickbooth until early 2020. Lemp no longer has active leadership roles in either firm.    

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