Courage is the latest agency to launch backed by NFA

Founded by former senior staff from Rethink, the agency is built around direct communication with clients and the bravery to do "amazing things."

The senior staff from Rethink who left the agency last month have lifted the curtain on their new venture: Courage, an independent that is joining the growing collective of agencies under the No Fixed Address umbrella.

Led by co-founders and CCOs Dhaval Bhatt and Joel Holtby alongside president and partner Niki Sahni, the Toronto-based agency has already picked up assignments for yet-to-be-announced global brands and is currently in the pitch process with “world renowned brands.”

Beyond just being a name, Bhatt says “courage” also sums up the agency’s business model: it aims to hire people who show courage, partner with clients who want courage, and do work that takes courage to pull off.

“We believe courage can make you do amazing things,” he says. “And now more than ever, brands need to be amazing if they’re going to break through and carve out market share.”

Adds Holtby: “We love Courage as a name because it offers instant clarity to anyone who hears it on who we are and what we’re about to do. Right off the hop, it creates a shorthand that lets us get to breakthrough work faster and in a more fun way.”

From a business perspective, Sahni says clients are increasingly “looking for agency partners that aren’t restricted by layers and silos.” Beyond just the structure of an agency, that extends to its ability to communicate openly and honestly. She says Courage is an opportunity to reframe how agencies interact with clients, with a focus on direct communication across everything it does.

Courage is backed by Dave Lafond and Serge Rancourt, co-founders of No Fixed Address. While the new agency will be fully independent and owner-operated, it will be part of the No Fixed Address collective, which in recent years has also added multicultural agency Ethnicity Matters and helped Greg Hahn launch Mischief.

“The No Fixed Address model is built to be people-first,” Lafond says. “We are a home for the most incredible talent who desire the freedom and flexibility to forge an exciting future for creativity. When they dream it, we build it.”

Revenue for No Fixed Address across North America grew by 100% in 2021, driven largely by the growth of Mischief, as well as NFA Health.

Between them, Bhatt and Holtby have worked on top awarded campaigns for the likes of IKEA, Kraft Heinz, Molson Canadian, Honey Nut Cheerios and Scotiabank. During her time at Rethink, Sahni led the agency’s Molson Coors account and participated in its winning Scotiabank pitch.