In just seven years, Frank Recruitment Group (FRG) had grown from its roots in Newcastle to become a global player in Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce recruitment. Livingbridge recognised FRG’s strong potential for global growth and the founders’ achievements in building the business so far and invested in 2013. We helped with senior level hires, including the introduction of a successor CEO. During our investment the group opened new offices in the UK, US and Australia and launched two new brands. In 2016 we negotiated the sale of Frank Recruitment Group to US private equity firm TPG.
Finding a niche
They say that true entrepreneurs can spot an opportunity a mile away. That was definitely the case for Sean Wadsworth, CEO and co-founder of the Frank Recruitment Group. Not only did he spot the potential in applying a niche focus to IT recruitment, he also recognised that a unique business model would differentiate even further.
So, together with Nigel O’Donoghue, an experienced finance and operations director with blue chip experience, Sean established FRG in 2006. They initially specialised in Microsoft Dynamics recruitment and their policy, unlike other recruitment companies, was not to poach consultants from other companies but to hire graduates and invest in training them.
By 2013 their business had grown dramatically and they had offices in London, New York, Singapore, Melbourne and San Francisco. FRG were keen to invest and diversify even further, as well as realise some of the value they had established. But they needed the right partner to take their business forward.
Recruiting a sympathetic partner
FRG’s ethos of nurturing home-grown talent had served them well, so it was vital that their investment partner understood and supported it. They knew Livingbridge were impressed with how they had grown the business so far and that the desire was not to disrupt, but to help Frank to develop and progress.
The most significant opportunity was further expansion into the US. We worked with the founders to make sure the company’s management structure was robust enough to support this, guiding on the necessary senior hires and promotions. We also introduced a successor CEO to Sean, who had indicated a desire to explore new challenges, and worked closely with Nigel to help embed the company’s unique culture and hardwire its processes.
Since our investment in 2013, FRG has opened further offices in the UK, US and Australia, and launched two additional high growth brands in Churchill Frank and Washington Frank – specialising in SAS and ERP, and following the niche IT model established by FRG.
At exit Frank Recruitment Group employed more than 700 staff around the world and is widely acknowledged as the leading player in cloud based CRM/ERP.
“Livingbridge’s unique blend of skills and belief in our strategy of rewarding our future business leaders meant they were ideally positioned to support us as we expanded into new territories and markets."
Sean Wadsworth, CEO and Co-Founder
Nigel Frank founded in Newcastle upon Tyne
Second office opens in London
Brand Mason Frank is launched
Washington Frank is founded
Global headcount reaches 600
Churchill Frank is launched
Successful sale to a US private equity firm