Riviera Partners Acquires Arete Partners, Creates Riviera Ventures

A steady wave of mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations has swept across the executive search sector for more than a year now. This latest acquisition focused on executive recruiting for Seed-to-B stage VC-backed startups. Let’s go inside the latest deal!

March 11, 2021 – Acquisitions and consolidations continue to make news in the recruiting industry, with a number of notable purchases in recent months. Riviera Partners, a recruitment provider specializing in C-level engineering, product and design leader placements, has acquired Arete Partners. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Arete Partners team will form the foundation of Riviera Ventures and build upon its focus on Seed-to-B stage VC-backed startups. Eóin O’ Toole, co-founder and CEO of Arete Partners, will lead the new Riviera Ventures unit. Over the course of the past six years, Arete Partners has placed executive talent for Seed-to-B stage companies with “an understanding that the earliest leadership hires are of critical importance if startups are to reach their full potential,” Riviera Partners said in a statement.

“The focus and specialization our companies share makes us highly compatible and will help us meet the existing and increasing demand for tech leadership recruiting,” said Will Hunsinger, CEO of Riviera Partners. “With this acquisition and Arete’s expertise, we significantly enhance our market coverage of earlier-stage companies while bringing our proprietary service-meets-tech offering to our combined clientele.” Riviera Partners is “synonymous with startup recruiting, a position earned through a relentless focus on quality and specialization,” said Mr. O’Toole. “The Arete team has become the leader in identifying emerging executive talent at a startup’s earliest stages,” he said. “I am both excited and confident that the combined entity – leveraging Riviera Partners’ proprietary ML-enabled platform – will deliver even greater value creation for our VC partners, clients, and candidates.”

Riviera Partners started 20 years ago with a vision to connect technology talent with leading emerging businesses. The company now specializes in placing technology leaders in start-ups and enterprises in the U.S. Over the years, the firm leveraged its specialization in executive technology recruiting by building a proprietary platform that uses machine learning to score, predict and match the best candidate for a company’s specific needs and stage. “Data-driven search has become something of a Holy Grail for executive search firms, with a number of solutions that have gone live or are now in the development cycle,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO and co-founder of Hunt Scanlon Media. The next phase of Riviera’s growth will now come with the acquisition of Arete Partners, he said.

Related: SeekOut Secures $65 Million in Funding

Riviera Partners is a global recruiting firm specializing in the technology industry. The firm provides clients with optimal placements by combining recruiter interactions and experience with data-driven findings about candidates. The firm has recruited for key executive roles at Pinterest, Postmates, Tinder, Twilio, Uber, Asana, Dropbox, GitHub, DoorDash, Hulu, and partnered with venture-backed concerns, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, Benchmark, Accel, Menlo Ventures, KPCB, Greylock and General Catalyst.

Related: The Christopher Group Launches Consulting Services Division, Adds Leaders | Hunt Scanlon Media

Through machine learning algorithms, Riviera Partners identifies specialized, highly qualified candidates that fit an organization’s needs from 600,000 professionals across tech geographies. Riviera can often provide a short list of candidates in 30 days and has a track record of over 95 percent success rate. “Speed and efficiency are what clients now want, and demand, of their talent providers,” said Mr. Scanlon, “especially in the PE and VC world where time is short and value creation has to happen at lightning speed.” Leadership talent, he said, is more often that not the key lever driving it all.

Related: Riviera Partners Adds Business Development and Executive Recruiting Leaders

Recent Growth

To help fuel the firm’s growth, Riviera Partners recently added two new members to its team. Jack Gage, previously with GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group), becomes vice president of channel strategy and business development, and Bobby Gormsen, who had been with Frame.io, is the firm’s new director, executive recruiting. Mr. Gage joins Riviera Partners with over a decade of experience delivering strategy, knowledge and talent solutions to the world’s top institutional investors across public and private markets.

Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters
These have been sobering days for executive recruiting firms around the globe. Most of them, regardless of size, location, or specialization were caught flat-footed by one of the most sweeping economic crises to ever hit the sector this past year. As a result, the nation’s top search consultants have been resetting expectations and, in the process, setting a new course for 2021.

Professional services firms – and executive recruiting outfits in particular – have a long history of finding their way through tough times. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Many search firms have used this time to dust off their own continuity and succession plans, or to reconsider that merger or acquisition which was something of a nuisance when times were flush. Others have taken a hard look at their capitalization strategies. This crisis, like no other, has driven many of the most well-known and respected brands in the recruiting business to reassess everything about their businesses, top to bottom.

Behind the scenes, this has been an active period for executive recruitment firms. To meet their advisory needs, Hunt Scanlon Media last year launched a new set of solutions to assist search firms and talent solutions providers seeking mergers, acquisitions, or funding connections. Founders Scott A. Scanlon and Christopher W. Hunt sit down to discuss Hunt Scanlon Ventures and the state of the executive search industry.

“Jack brings a proven track record of establishing strategic partnerships in the private equity and venture capital investment community to our team,” said Mr. Hunsinger. “His experience forging relationships with channel partners will create long-term value for Riviera, our clients, and their portfolio companies by delivering the best technical talent to the best companies.”

Related: Improving the Selection of Leaders for PE Portfolio Companies

Mr. Gormsen will focus on the East Coast and New York markets. He brings with him 15 years of technology recruiting and leadership experience out of both the Silicon Valley and New York City markets. “Bobby’s expertise in recruiting comes at the perfect time to meet increasing demand for technology talent in key East Coast markets like New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.,” said Mr. Hunsinger. “He knows how to build teams in technology-driven companies and functions, and we are all thrilled to have him bring this experience to bear for our clients.”

Related: Hobbs & Towne Expands PE and Venture Capital Advisory Team

Recent M&A activity

Acquisitions have kept the recruitment industry in a state of flux. Here’s a sampling of recent acquisitions taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Sarasota, FL-based Corsica Partners acquired Benz International Group. Founding partner Chris Benz was named managing director and search-for-search professionals practice lead. “We are delighted to have Chris and the Benz International team join our Corsica family,” said managing partner and CEO Dan Veitkus. “As a full-service, talent acquisition and advisory firm, we are uniquely qualified and deeply committed to extend versatile options to our private equity, venture and family office backed companies,” he said. “We understand there are times when the preferred solution for our clients may be to scale up their internal recruiting capabilities by adding exceptional recruiters to their team and by leveraging our RPO capabilities. Our investment in the search-for-search professionals practice underscores our commitment to deliver agile solutions that provide our clients with optionality and flexible choices.”

ZRG has made a major move into the sports, entertainment & media sectors by acquiring Turnkey Search. Renamed TurnkeyZRG, all Turnkey staff and assets merge into ZRG and the firm will continue to be led by Len Perna, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Turnkey. Turnkey will now adopt ZRG’s tech-enabled, data-driven approach to the search process which it says will give the newly merged firm a competitive edge in the hunt for sports, media, and entertainment talent. Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG, called the deal a “blockbuster acquisition.” Hunt Scanlon Ventures facilitated the introduction and transaction between ZRG and Turnkey, both perennial leaders in Hunt Scanlon’s rankings of executive search firms. “Len Perna built Turnkey into the most formidable sports recruiting brand in the nation,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media.

Caldwell has signed an agreement to acquire IQTalent Partners. Founded in 2009, IQTalent Partners provides talent acquisition solutions to 300 corporations from Fortune 500s to startups across a wide range of industries and functions throughout North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and South America. The firm recently launched IQTalent Xchange, a market concept using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) combined with human expertise to create a passive candidate marketplace. The proprietary platform includes more than 300 million global professionals, offering its customers unprecedented access to the most qualified candidates.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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