Outrider crosses the pond to establish U.S. presence

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A british interactive agency formally launches May 9 in the U.S. as part of an ambitious plan to assemble a global i-shop.

Outrider opens with North American headquarters in Farmington, Conn., and branches in Chicago, New York and Bend, Ore.

The agency (www.outrider.com) is wholly owned by Tempus Group (www.tempusgroup.com), a U.K. marketing services holding company that owns European media buying service CIA.

Tempus-created Outrider, with global headquarters in London, opened its first office last fall as a spinoff of CIA and set up a Paris branch earlier this year. Outrider also has made investments in growing Asian agency Web Connection (twc-asia.com), Hong Kong, and in agencies in Germany and Spain.

The U.S. operation merges interactive ventures started in 1994: BrainBug, a Farmington, Conn., Web developer: and Multimedia Marketing Group, an Internet marketing agency with headquarters in Bend, Ore., and branches in Chicago and New York. Outrider bought both in 1999.


BrainBug and Multimedia Marketing Group have worked with clients including Volvo Cars of North America, for a project for its "Sweden Rules" campaign; The Hartford Courant, for site design and branding; dot-coms family-meds.com and Art.com; and Warner-Lambert Co. and the Hartford Financial Services Group for business-to-business projects.

Outrider has done work in Europe for Audi, General Motors Corp. and Scandinavian Airlines System.

Outrider, with 100 U.S. employees, expects U.S. revenue this year of $10 million and billings of about $60 million, said Matt Straznitskas, 33, CEO of Outrider North America and founder of BrainBug. Outrider's British arm will have similar revenue and billings, he said. Outrider employs about 150 people in the U.K. and Paris.


During the next five years, Mr. Straznitskas said, Outrider hopes to expand its North American base to 300 to 500 people.

"We're ultimately a midsize, full-service interactive agency," he said. "We're not public, (and) we're very focused on building the businesses" for clients."

Mr. Straznitskas said Outrider wants to expand its client roster with "largish companies" looking for a midsize interactive agency whose senior management will work directly on their accounts. In addition to Web development and branding, Outrider offers other specialized services.

Bucking the trend of other i-shops, Tempus has gone on record saying it has no plans to spin off the interactive agency in a public stock offering, Mr. Straznitskas said.

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