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Brainlabs completes two acquisitions

  • Related sector Services
  • Investment status Realised
  • Related company Brainlabs
We are pleased to announce that our investee company Brainlabs has made two investments into online marketing agency Distilled and US digital marketing specialist Hanapin, underlining its ambitious growth strategy.


Brainlabs is a data-led marketing firm that was set up in 2012 with a mission to help businesses build experimentation-led marketing operations. Through its client-centric model underpinned by a scientific and automation-led approach the business has grown rapidly. We invested in 2019 to further support the business in its ambition to build the biggest and best digital marketing agency.

Founded in 2004, Hanapin is an award-winning digital marketing agency with an unmatched track record of client success. Employing 70 staff across 20 US states, the agency services a diverse client base – including Fortune 500 companies – across a variety of verticals. Brainlabs and Hanapin share a successful testing-led approach and a commitment to providing bespoke solutions to their clients. The deal will enable Brainlabs to expand its service offering and increase their office footprint to span Bloomington, Austin, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and London.

Brainlabs’ acquisition of Distilled will provide its growing client base with specialist SEO services. Founded in 2010, Distilled has over 60 staff spread across offices in London, Seattle and New York. Distilled is renowned for its consultative approach and unparalleled expertise in SEO. The agency is full of thought leaders in their own right, who speak at conferences around the globe, from BrightonSEO to MozCon, and contribute to various notable industry blogs. Distilled has also established its own prominent international conference, SearchLove, which will continue running in San Diego, New York, and London.

Daniel Gilbert, CEO of Brainlabs, said:

“I can’t wait to see what bringing these two fantastic teams together can do for our clients. These are our first steps towards our vision of creating the agency model of the future: no silos, no departments, just brilliant teams centred around clients, allowing us to deliver best-in-class digital marketing.”

Dave Kirby, Livingbridge, said:

“I am delighted to see Brainlabs joining forces with two outstanding, sector-leading agencies in Hanapin and Distilled. Since our investment last year, Brainlabs has experienced rapid growth, representing the demand for this expertise and the quality of their people. These are transformative acquisitions but represent just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting growth journey for Brainlabs.”

Jeff Allen, President of Hanapin, said:

“We’re beyond proud of the healthy, thriving company we’ve built over the past 16 years. Today is the start of an even brighter future. In Brainlabs we’ve found the perfect complement to our business. Our cultures are perfectly aligned. Our vision is client-centric. Merging will provide both companies the opportunity to expand our geography, grow our service lines, and continue to deliver best-in-class services to our clients.”

Will Critchlow, CEO of Distilled, said:

“I’ve admired Brainlabs ever since getting to know Daniel when he spoke at SearchLove years ago. Brainlabs is the perfect partner to help us grow into the next stage and continue improving our effectiveness for our clients, and we expect SearchPilot to thrive with standalone focus.”

Advisors to Brainlabs:

Distilled acquisition:

– Springboard – Advisory
– Eversheds-Sutherland – Legal
– WY Partners – Financial due diligence
– RSM – Tax due diligence
– Fairgrove Partners – Customer referencing

Hanapin acquisition:

– Cooley – Legal
– PwC – Financial due diligence and Tax advice
– Fairgrove Partners – Customer referencing


Working with a roster of leading brands, Brainlabs provides a single solution marketing model bringing together technology, biddable agency services and consultancy.