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Archrival founders, investors buy back company from Dachis Group

Remember about two-and-a-half years ago when Dachis Group, a venture-backed Austin startup that builds social media marketing tools, snapped up Lincoln, Neb.-based youth branding agency Archrival? Well, the deal has been undone.

Archrival co-founders Clint! Runge and Charlie Hull along with a group of undisclosed, Nebraska-based minority investors have bought back the company, spinning it out of Dachis into an independent, locally-owned entity.

“As of June 1, Archrival has come home, fully back in our hands and we couldn’t be more excited,” Runge said Sunday in an email. He declined to share the terms of the deal.

The reason for the move? Dachis’ wants to evolve its offering in social analytics software and data-driven marketing. Archrival wants to focus on what it does best: youth marketing.

“Dachis Group is a great company but with a different destiny,” Runge (right) said. “Archrival is an agency ready to explode again. A parting of ways just made sense.”

The deal had been in the works for several months. “It was really an idea Dachis Group and myself both realized at the same time,” he said.

The 16-year-old Lincoln-based company is the third Dachis-acquired agency to spin out—XPLANE and Stuzo are the two others in the past year, each citing similar reasons. Since its founding in 2008, Dachis has raised more than $37 million and acquired eight companies (five of which are still intact), according to Cruchbase.

Now with a team of 27 people and a portfolio of recent work that includes Red Bull—Archrival handled the interactive advertising and social components of Red Bull Stratos—NBC Universal and adidas, the youth branding agency is primed to have its best year yet, Runge said. And it’s already adding employees. “We have lots of openings for uber-talented strategists, designers and developers.”

With the purchase, Hull, who last year left Archrival to start music production and marketing group Silver Street, will continue to help guide the business but he won’t be involved day-to-day, Runge said. Runge will continue to serve as managing director.

“Better equipped to grow our company”

When asked about the biggest impact made by Dachis after two and half years under its ownership, here’s what Runge had to say:

We’ve learned a lot from our time with Dachis Group and I don’t regret any of it. We had an opportunity to see how many other firms work at a global level intimately. Think about that! For the first time we got see how other agencies really work, their successes and their struggles. Together we all got a chance to re-evaluate everything and see what works best for us, for our team, for our direction. Thanks to our former partnership, we’re now even better equipped to grow our company while maintaining our culture and high level of creative excellence. Also just personally, having Jeff Dachis as a mentor has been a terrific experience.

So what will be different? In many ways, not much. But at a base level, we’ve made some significant changes that have set the foundation for us to grow into the future.

For more on Archrival, see our posts:


Credits: Clint! Runge photo courtesy Runge

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