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3 Family Offices Investing in Marketing & Advertising Companies


As a leader in providing comprehensive family office intelligence, FINTRX continues to see family offices accumulating the assets and skills necessary to allocate capital directly into the private capital markets. By harnessing our family office data and research platform, which provides credible insight into thousands of direct deal transactions made by over 3,090+ family offices worldwide, we explore three family offices investing in marketing and advertising companies.

1. Plough Penny Partners (Traphagen Single Family Office)

Founded in 1985 by Ross Traphagen, a former partner of the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs, Plough Penny Partners (Traphagen Single Family Office) is a New York, NY-based single-family office serving as the investment vehicle for the Traphagen family. Plough Penny Partners is active in both public and private markets and allocates to a wide range of investments, including public equity, private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, real estate, and direct investments. Sectors and industries of interest include technology, media, telecommunications, cannabis, business services, healthcare, investment management, software, internet, advertising, marketing, and more. Regarding private equity and venture capital, Plough Penny Partners typically seek minority transactions. The firm will invest in early and late-stage venture rounds of funding.

Plough Penny Partners has made approximately 20 direct investments since its inception. For instance, in November 2005, the firm made a Series A investment in Critical Media, an all-in-one PR and earned media platform featuring global media monitoring, a media contact database, and robust analytics. In March 2011, Plough Penny made a venture investment in AdChina, an internet advertising platform. AdChina built and operates China's largest independent SSP/DSP/DMP digital advertising technology platform covering both PC internet and mobile internet. The platform comprises software that effectively integrates advertisers with publishers and delivers advertisements across different ads formats and different internet access devices.

In October 2011, Plough Penny Partners made an angel investment in RevTrax, a marketing and advertising company based in New York, NY. The RevTrax Offer Management Platform (OMP) empowers brands to deliver offers across channels and connects insights to decisions that save money, drive value, and transform how leading brands measure and optimize marketing investments. Plough Penny made a follow-on investment in January 2017. 

In June 2013, Plough Penny Partners made a Series B investment in Solve Media, a Philadelphia, PA-based company founded in 2009. Solve Media increases brand message delivery, recall rates, and ROI for advertisers. Solve Media generates new revenue opportunities for publishers and improves the user experience for consumers. With the TYPE-IN platform, Solve Media guarantees campaign performance and brand lift.

Additional past investments of the firm include Heleo, Piano, Health Guru Media Inc., and Zeel, among several others. Plough Penny Partners comprises a small team of investment professionals and conducts all due diligence in-house. The firm will co-invest alongside other LPs and family offices.

2. Cox Enterprises (Cox Single Family Office)

Cox Enterprises (Cox Single Family Office) is an Atlanta, GA-based single-family office serving as the investment vehicle for the Cox Family. The origin of the family's wealth dates back to 1898, when James M. Cox purchased the Dayton Evening News. The company eventually developed into Cox Enterprises, comprising Cox Communications, Cox Media Group, and Cox Automotive. Today, Cox Enterprises employs over 50,000+ people across the globe and brings in approximately $21B in annual revenue.

Cox Enterprises allocates to investment opportunities globally, with a focus on real estate, private equity, venture capital and direct investments. Sectors and industries of interest include technology, robotics, electronics, agriculture, farming, food processing, CleanTech, energy, sustainable products, e-sports, business services, automotive, artificial intelligence, software, marketing, advertising, and healthcare, among others. 

Cox Enterprises is quite active in the venture capital space and will invest in early and late-stage rounds of funding. The group frequently acts as the lead investor and is willing to co-invest. The firm's typical check size ranges significantly. For pre-Series A rounds of funding, Cox typically invests between $1M to $3M. Regarding later funding rounds, the firm will typically invest between $5M and $60M. 

Cox Enterprises has made nearly 30 direct transactions in private companies. In October 2000, the group made a Series A investment in ClickTactics, a trusted Technology Service Partner providing consulting and networking solutions to its clients. Offering a full range of technology solutions, Click Tactics serves the networking needs of businesses across various industries. Whether clients require on-site or cloud-based solutions, data systems, or fully managed services, Click Tactics has the expertise to meet varying industry-specific needs.

In February 2011, Cox Enterprises made a Series A investment in Dynamic Signal, an employee communication platform committed to creating an inclusive and engaged workforce. From factory workers and field employees to knowledge workers in any time zone, hundreds of companies in various industries depend on Dynamic Signal’s mobile, desktop, and web applications to reach employees and build aligned, productive, and engaged communities. Based in Silicon Valley, Dynamic Signal integrates with leading enterprise systems such as Microsoft’s SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Azure Active Directory, Salesforce, Workday, and Oracle HCM. Cox Enterprises made follow-on investments in the company in July 2012 and September 2015. 

In March 2016, Cox Enterprises made a seed investment in Motiva AI, a San Francisco, CA-based company that powers customer-centric engagement for modern marketers everywhere. Motiva AI uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create adaptive marketing automation, ultimately giving marketing teams better-performing campaigns. Whether B2B or B2C communications, Motiva makes marketing operations more effective for its clients.

In August 2018, Cox Enterprises made an angel investment in Powerspike, a marketing, advertising, and technology company focused on building a streamlined destination for activating sponsorships within gaming communities. Powerspike collaborates with 40,000+ gaming and e-sports influencers to execute premium, authentic influencer marketing campaigns. Their network reaches over 160M+ viewers each month and grew over 1000% in 2020. 

In January 2021, Cox Enterprises made a venture investment in Skyword, a Boston, MA-based marketing and advertising business revolutionizing how brands connect with consumers by simplifying content experiences that build trust and enrich the brand journey at every touchpoint. Skyword's full-service content solution provides the partnership, technology, and expertise brands need to unleash their creative ambitions and achieve success. 

3. Lead Lap Enterprises (David Zucker Family Office)

Founded in 2009 by David Zucker, Lead Lap Enterprises (David Zucker Family Office) is a single-family office and private investment firm based in Northfield, Illinois. Zucker has served as CEO and General Manager of several public and private companies throughout his career. Most notably, Zucker served as the Chairman and CEO of NASCAR holding company Petty Holdings, LLC, and as Executive Vice President and Managing Director at ESPN.

Lead Lap Enterprises typically makes control investments into small and mid-sized companies within the business services, consumer products/services, health services, and the education, marketing, media, advertising, gaming, and online sectors. However, they will not invest in businesses that are focused on manufacturing. Lead Lap will consider making non-control investments in businesses they identify as promising.

Today, Lead Lap Enterprises has approximately $35M in capital from its owners. The firm typically seeks control investments with a targeted transaction size between $2M and $25M. The group looks for companies with EBITDA between $500K and $4M and must show strong growth potential. However, Lead Lap will consider investing in turnarounds or troubled companies on a case-by-case basis. 

Lead Lap Enterprises currently holds several investments in private companies. For instance, in March 2008, the group made a Series A investment in MediaMath, Inc., an independent advertising technology company for brands to buy addressable media. Advertisers use the platform to run omnichannel campaigns across display, mobile, OTT, video, native, DOOH, and audio with flexibility and customization. Clients access their curated ecosystem - SOURCE - to increase working media, reduce the total cost of ownership, and improve cross-device access to consumers. Lead Lap made a follow-on investment in MediaMath in March 2015.

In November 2014, Lead Lap Enterprises gained StoreBoard Media LLC, a New York, NY-based retail media company and owner of North America's largest indoor billboard network. Founded in 2005, the company has exclusive rights to place advertising, or 'StoreBoards', on security pedestals at the entrances of more than 27,000+ stores including Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, Duane Reade, K-Mart, Family Dollar, and other leading retailers. Advertiser clients include leading consumer packaged goods and Fortune 500 companies.

FINTRX provides comprehensive intelligence on thousands of private family offices, each designed to facilitate your prospecting and capital-raising efforts. Explore in-depth profiles on each family - AUM, source of wealth, investment criteria, previous investment history, industries of interest - and other key data points to help elevate your workflow. FINTRX offers an inside look at the alternative investment industry and private capital markets.

With complete coverage of over 3,090+ family offices, 15,800+ family office contacts, and 19,600+ tracked investments, FINTRX ensures direct access to accredited investor intelligence. The FINTRX platform is an essential tool in understanding the family office landscape in the U.S. and abroad, while also empowering users to uncover commonalities with these family offices for effective, personal outreach.

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