Havas Takes Major Stake In Victors & Spoils
Havas today confirmed it has acquired a majority stake in crowdsourcing agency Victors & Spoils, the Boulder, Colo. shop that was founded in 2009 by former Crispin Porter + Bogusky vice presidents Evan Fry and John Winsor and Claudia Batten, a co-founder of gaming platform Massive.
V&S is credited with being one of the first agencies to use “crowdsourcing” as a business model, which links virtually limitless numbers of talent by technology to brainstorm on client ideas.
V&S' client roster includes Chipotle, Coca-Cola, Converse, Crocs, Discovery Channel, Dish, GAP, General Mills, Harley Davidson, Levi’s, Mercedes Benz, Oakley, PayPal, Smartwool, Smashburger, Unilever, Virgin America and WD-40.
One of the first projects under the new ownership is to implement V&S’s proprietary technology to convert Havas’ own global network into 15,000-strong “crowd.” V&S’s own crowd stands at about 6,000.
V&S will be folded into Havas Worldwide, the holding company’s flagship agency, but will retain the V&S branding. Winsor confirmed that plans are in the works to expand V&S to Europe and Asia, starting most likely with offices in London, Paris and Hong Kong.
Winsor, CEO of V&S, is taking on the additional role of chief innovation officer at Havas, reporting to Havas CEO David Jones. In his new role, Winsor will focus on the latest digital technology advancements and opportunities for Havas to embrace them. He’ll also consider applications of new business models and talent. Winsor will remain based in Boulder.
In an interview, Winsor said V&S had not really put out a “For Sale” sign on the agency. Rather, the acquisition came about as the result of a budding friendship with Havas’ Jones. The two first met about a year and a half ago at a TED conference and the dialogue eventually led to acquisition talks. “We were doing fine [and] didn’t really talk to anyone else” about selling the company, Winsor said.
The three founders in V&S have retained a minority stake in the company and there is a mechanism for selling that stake to Havas tied to future performance.
Jon Bond, the co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, left in 2010 to became an investor in V&S and took on an advisory role. Now, Bond is CEO of social media shop Big Fuel, which is controlled by Publicis Groupe. Bond is selling his shares in V&S.