Meet the People launches with Public Label and Match Retail

Innovatus' new holding company is deploying $150 million over two years to bring more agencies into its integrated model.
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Meet the People’s leadership team, from left to right: Tim Ringel, Natalie Alberta Dusey and Tom Armbruster.

Newly minted holding company Meet the People says its aim is attracting entrepreneurially-minded agencies that are ready to evolve and provide always-on access to an array of services and talents in one fully integrated platform.

At launch, the company includes Toronto’s Public Label (an integrated agency with expertise in experiential and shopper), Match Retail (a sales, merchandising and branded retail agency) and Chicago creative and design shop VSA Partners.

Meet The People’s model is to combine the experience of established agencies across multiple marketing disciplines with data-driven and digitally-enabled capabilities, which means a bespoke model that can support large and medium-sized brands.

Financial support is coming from New York’s Innovatus Capital Partners, which acquired VSA in January and scooped up Public Label and Match Retail in March.

It’s the brainchild of global CEO Tim Ringel (a serial entreprenur and investor whose activities have also had him take on roles in the ad world as CEO of London’s Spring Studios and IPG’s Reprise Digital); global COO Tom Armbruster (previously president of motion capture technology company 209 Group) and global chief of staff and corporate secretary Natalie Alberta Dusey (a corporate law and governance consultant whose roles have also included chief of staff at Spring Studios).

Meet The People is seeking to deploy $150 million over the next 24 months to achieve its aggressive growth goals – to build up a group of 2,000 people – with a focus on acquiring specialty agencies to round out its full-service capabilities.

“Traditional holding company players own sixty percent of the market but they are incredibly siloed and don’t integrate across all relevant services for their clients,” Ringel tells strategy, and Meet the People is claiming its territory by having specialized entrepreneurial agencies under one roof for true integration.

Ringel says Canada is definitely an area of interest for the company’s expansion. He says that, despite meeting its potential, Canada is often treated like a U.S. stepchild, in a similar dynamic to Germany wis-à-vis Austria and Switzerland. What he realized early on when moving to New York was that having independent offices within these so-called “stepchild” markets was extremely powerful, especially when it came to local clients, talent, and acquisition strategies.

Ringel also would not rule out non-Canadian agencies like VSA coming north of the border to serve growth goals or meet future needs.

Operationally, in preparation for the launch, Meet The People separated Canadian offices from the U.S. so they can be independent in their own jurisdiction. Despite now having the ability to come together and work collaboratively for clients when need, each agency will continue to have their own strategy coming from their own leadership teams, Ringel says.