Number of locations
Jim Weiss, Chairman & CEO|
Jennifer Gottlieb, President
|Revenue||$144 million (2017)|
Number of employees
W2O Group is a holding company based in San Francisco, California, USA that operates three marketing and communications firms: WCG, Twist Mktg and Brewlife. W2O started as a one-person firm in 2001. It was called WeissComm Partners and founded by Jim Weiss. The firm was restructured and renamed WCG in 2009. In 2012, WCG became a company of the W2O holding group.
W2O Group was founded as WeissComm Partners in 2001 by Jim Weiss as a one-person marketing consulting firm, with clients primarily in the healthcare industry. His firm grew quickly until 2008. According to Weiss, less favorable conditions in the healthcare industry led to a series of layoffs.
In response, the following year Weiss acquired creative services firm ODA and social media marketing firm, Common Sense Media Group, in order to diversify his interests and reduce reliance on the healthcare industry. That same year, Weiss re-formed the company under the acronym WCG, consolidating the two acquisitions under a new corporate umbrella. The acquired companies and the firm's revenues continued growing. By 2011 it had annual revenues of $48 million.
In 2012, WCG was re-structured again under a new holding company called W2O Group, which was made up of three companies: WCG, W2O Ventures, and Twist Mktg. The fourth company in the holding group, Brewlife, was formed the following year to focus on startup companies. The holding group had $75 million in annual revenues by 2013 and $82.6 million in 2014. In 2014 and 2015, W2O opened new offices in Chicago, Silicon Valley, Seattle, San Diego, Boston and Switzerland.
In May 2016, a private-equity firm called Mountaingate Capital made an investment in W2O Group, which funded a series of acquisitions. Seven months after acquiring Fox Communications, W2O Group laid off founder Lynn Fox, who sued alleging gender discrimination.
|2009||Common Sense Media Group||Social media marketing firm|||
|2012||Ravel||Data analytics; based in Austin|||
|2012||VM Foundry||Web and mobile development; based in Austin|||
|2015||ARC2 Communications & Media||Boutique public relations firm; based in Los Angeles|||
|2015||Vintank||Social media and CRM software company|||
|2016||Pure Communications||Marketing consultancy|||
|2016||Marketeching Solutions||Social listening|||
|2017||Sentient Interactive||digital media and analytics|||
Operations and services
W2O Group is a holding company whose subsidiaries provide services like public relations, social media marketing, analytics, app development and recruitment for clinical trials, primarily to the healthcare, consumer and technology segments. The holding company operates through three subsidiaries: WCG, Twist Mktg and Brewlife. WCG is the public relations arm. As of 2012, it was responsible for about 80 percent of the company's revenue. Twist is a 50-person division that initially served largely as a conflict and analytics division, serving Pfizer and Galderma out of New York City. The Brewlife division serves the company's startup and emerging technology clientele.
W2O Group is the fourth largest PR firm by revenue in O'Dwyer's annual rankings of U.S. agencies. More than 90 percent of its revenues are from U.S.-based clients. It's also ranked as the 8th largest PR firm in the technology segment, 9th in entertainment, 13th in food and beverage, and 2nd in healthcare. Healthcare tends to be its fastest growing practice area and was the firm's focus early on, though more recently the analytics practice has taken a larger role. According to PR Week, W2O's most-used services include "PR, analytics, and its CCX creative unit." It also started a multicultural practice in early 2015.
The majority of W2O's clients are biotech and medical device companies, such as Medtronic and Acclarent. Much of its new business in 2015 was related to treatments for rare diseases and cardiovascular problems. One of W2O's software services is MDigitalLife, which stores data on the online activity of doctors and patients. It is used by pharmaceutical companies to understand sentiment in the healthcare field.
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- The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in May 2017: Case Info & Dismissal
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