June 22, 2023 – Starfish Partners, an investment and ownership platform for niched professional and mid-to-upper management search specialists, has acquired Global People and NinjaJobs. Financial terms for both deals were not disclosed. Current Starfish Partners organizations include search firms Kaye/Bassman International Corp. (KBIC), Direct Recruiters Inc. (DRI), Integrity Search, Full Spectrum Search Group, Raymond Search Group, the Sanford Rose Associates International (SRAI) network, and consulting and training firm Next Level Exchange (NLE).
Global People is a local employment solutions provider for national and international corporations. Established in 2008, the company implements onsite employment solutions for leading Hi-Tech, IT, Cyber and professional services companies.
Global People’s founder and CEO, Jon Bartos, also serves as chief investment officer for Starfish Partners. “It was only fitting that we acquired the search firm of the individual leading our acquisition effort,” said Jeff Kaye, managing director of Starfish. “We have built an incredible relationship with Jon and his team and share a common vision for the future of our collective. Jon is the best in class in every way. Not only will Jon continue to grow Global People and Starfish Partners, but he will soon also be growing and leading an entirely new franchise network, Dimensional Search, for those wanting to start a new recruiting firm. We could not be more excited to continue our journey with Jon and his team.”
NinjaJobs is a McLean, VA-based firm that works across North America placing talent in the cybersecurity industry. CEO Drew Fearson and the NinjaJobs team will expand Starfish Partners’ reach into the cybersecurity industry by continuing to utilize their technology and job board platform. “We are beyond excited to join the Starfish team,” said Mr. Fearson. “Pairing with them will allow us to accelerate growth, expand our reach, and better serve the cybersecurity community. Their track record of growth and innovation in the recruiting world speaks for itself. We look forward to continuing our mission of being the premier cyber-specific recruitment agency and platform with them by our side.”
“The acquisition of NinjaJobs fulfills one of our key initiatives of expanding into cybersecurity search,” said Dan Charney, managing director of Starfish. “After due diligence, Drew and the Ninja team rose to the top because of the unique way they have segmented the market which allows them to master several niches within the industry as well as their unique technology platform and job board that is specific to cybersecurity. More importantly, Drew and the team embody our core values and are a great cultural fit for the Starfish family. We are extremely excited to support NinjaJobs as they continue to grow.”
Serving the Search Industry
Starfish Partners was launched last year as an ownership/investment platform for the executive search market. The platform, according to its founder, was formed to allow owners to scale and monetize their business value; it will also allow independent search firm owners to participate and share in the equity of an entire family of companies, not just their own. “As the search and staffing industry has evolved, it has consolidated in most areas,” said Mr. Kaye. “We see small staffing firms acquired by regional players acquired by national ones. We see giant holding companies owning a variety of organizations operating under many unique brands. We see mergers on both small and large scales,” he said.
Starfish Partners has acquired Direct Recruiters Inc. (DRI). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Current Starfish Partners organizations include search firms Kaye/Bassman International Corp. (KBIC), Full Spectrum Search Group, the Sanford Rose Associates International (SRAI) network, and Next Level Exchange (NLE).
Dan Charney and Mike Silverstein from DRI and Jeff Kaye, Karen Schmidt, and Nick Turner from KBIC, SRAI, and NLE are the members of the new board. Dan Charney said: “DRI has a long-standing relationship and has benefited from NLE’s leadership, as demonstrated by the fact that we have grown tenfold in less than a decade. We are committed to continuing this trajectory as we seek additional investment and acquisition partners. We are excited to continue to do great work for our clients and help our associates and partners reach their goals.”
“The executive search industry has had a flurry of merger and acquisition activities over the years, but there is one segment of this massive world that has remained relatively untouched: the world of niche professional and mid-upper-level management search specialists,” Mr. Kaye said. “The barriers to entry are low, but the obstacles to growth are significant. There are understandable issues and reasons why investors have avoided this robust section of the market,” he said.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media