LONDON — The parent company of B2B communications specialist Hard Numbers and youth marketing agency Hype Collective has rebranded as The Family, in the first step of a plan to expand by helping other PR industry peers start their own businesses.

The Family aims to grow in four ways: supporting would-be founders looking to launch their own agencies, including mentoring and financial investment in exchange for equity; investing in micro-agencies with a headcount under five, to help them scale; spinning out part of existing businesses in the group to run as standalone company; and launching new fully-owned agencies.

As well as Hype Collective, launched in 2017, and Hard Numbers, launched in 2020 and shortlisted as one of PRovoke Media’s new EMEA consultancies of the year, The Family’s portfolio will begin to expand within the next three-to-six months.

The initial plans are to launch or invest in a professional services business, a creative services business, and an events business to bring the number of businesses within the group to five by the end of 2022.

There are three principal shareholders in The Family, previously known as The Bermondsey Group: Simon Lucey, Paul Stollery and Darryl Sparey.

Stollery, co-founder and creative director at Hard Numbers and Hype Collective (pictured, centre), told PRovoke Media: “The three of us have a shared purpose in terms of wanting to help other industry colleagues launch their own agencies and realise their dreams and goals, and we realised we already had a fantastic instrument to do that, but it needed its own brand. We are ambitious to expand our portfolio but beyond that, in five years’ time when anyone wants to start a creative agency, we want them to talk to us, whether they need financial investment, or other forms of support.

“When Simon and I first started Hype Collective we would have loved to have taken a few founders out and asked a load of questions. For B2B companies and tech brands there are a myriad of places to go for support and investment, but for some reason there’s nothing like this if you want to start an agency."

Stollery added: “The creative industries are normally a brilliant and supportive place. But when you’re looking to start your own agency, it can be bloody lonely. It’s hard to find good support – both in terms of advice but also investment – unless you know someone who’s done it before. We’ll have an open-door policy for would be founders. Need a mentor? Give us a call. Need financial support? Hit us up. Want to go to the pub and ask us some really basic questions? Absolutely. That’s what family is for.”

Lucey (pictured, left) added: “You hear of agencies launching with big money deals. But for most agency founders, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our funding – and my first pay packet – came off the back of our first project win. Had we lost that pitch, who knows where we would have been today. Our goal with The Family is to offer everything we wish we had when we first setup.”

And Sparey, co-founder and MD of Hard Numbers (pictured, right), said: “We are founders. We understand the challenges that agency founders face. And believe that we can help would-be founders to navigate the challenges of setting up on their own. We offer tools, software, office space, capital and resources to help people who want to launch their own agencies, so that they can focus on making a success of their business.”