Outrider Gets Connecticut HQ

Straznitkas Tapped to Lead Tempus-Owned Interactive Rollup
BOSTON–This week BrainBug will change its name to Outrider, one of eight interactive agencies owned by Tempus Group, London, being rolled into a single entity led by Matt Straznitkas.
At simultaneous press conferences during interactive industry shows in New York and San Francisco, Straznitkas will formally introduce Outrider North America. It results primarily from the merger of BrainBug in Farmington, Conn., and a second Outrider-owned interactive shop, Multimedia Marketing Group, Bend, Ore.
Like the Interpublic Group of Cos. which last year rolled up its various Internet holdings into a single entity now called Zentropy Partners, Outrider begins business with 15 offices in 11 countries, some 250 employees and annual revenues of about $8 million. It projects revenues of $14 million for 2001. Outrider’s U.S. clients include Familymeds.com, Art.com, iCollector.com, iWant.com, Warner-Lambert, General Electric and Aetna. Unlike Zentropy, it has no plan for an initial public offering. “We don’t want to be distracted by that,” said Outrider director of marketing Eric Knight.
The rollup amasses critical services in design, technology and strategic development into what Knight and others at Outrider contend is a seamless end-to-end Internet services provider focused on a client’s return on investment.
“The current dot-com push to profitability should put a spotlight on us,” said Bill Hunt, Outrider’s executive vice president of online strategy.
Straznitkas wrote what his shop now refers to as the book on interactive design: Mastering Photoshop 5 for the Web. Prior to publishing that, Straznitkas in 1994 founded BrainBug with Knight, formerly an associate creative director and senior copywriter at Mintz & Hoke in Avon, Conn.
Two years ago, with an eye toward international expansion, they sold a 60-percent stake in BrainBug to Tempus-owned Outrider and over the past 18 months have worked to understand other companies in the network. “We weren’t lashed together. We grew together. That’s important,” said Hunt.
The formal launch of Outrider in the U.S. is the culmination of months worth of “trying to understand how our services could work together to give clients an inte-grated advantage,” according to Straznitkas.
Outrider’s alliance with Cronin & Co. in Glastonbury, Conn., to provide interactive services is not expected to change. K