Battle Bridge Labs wasn’t the first business Travis Phipps sold. But it’s the one that reflects his passion: using pay-per-click advertising (PPC) to help organizations grow.
Phipps spent the first part of his career working in marketing and advertising. He left his role at a startup after he and his wife started CherryLoop.com, an online figure skating store, in 2007.
“We were spending 20 to 30 hours per week at the rink with our daughters, and we were having difficulty finding a good place to buy figure skating apparel and equipment online. With my technology sales and advertising background, and my wife’s retail experience, it seemed like a great opportunity,” Phipps said in an ebook he wrote for e-commerce software company Americommerce.
But despite putting their own savings into the business, successfully building the brand, and having a solid first holiday season, they quickly learned that they could not simply wait for shoppers to come across their site. They had to invest in paid advertising to build name recognition and get repeat customers.
How Travis Phipps’ quest to build his e-commerce site led to a second startup
They spent $10,000 on a Google Adwords experiment with a consultant’s help. The first month of the campaign, they multiplied their revenue by 20.
“Once I realized what our consultant could do with AdWords, I spent the next year studying everything about our internet marketing,” Phipps said. He took courses, attended seminars, and learned from experts. Eventually, Phipps took over CherryLoop’s accounts and managed its PPC advertising.
“I dove headfirst into everything PPC. I loved everything about PPC,” he wrote. Even though he had spent his career in this arena, he said that he had never had the control he felt by managing the company’s PPC ads.
Armed with his new expertise, Phipps launched his PPC consulting business in 2012. And it grew so fast that Phipps and his wife sold CherryLoop.com in 2014 so he could focus on the PPC business instead of managing inventory and filling orders.
That was the beginning of Battle Bridge Labs.
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As his marketing and advertising business grew, Phipps admitted he was nervous about scaling it, which would require hiring. If he brought on staff, he knew those workers would rely on him to make a living.
His first hire was an executive assistant to keep him on track and manage his email inbox, he said on the “In the Trenches” podcast. Having that help freed up some mental energy.
Then, he brought on a partner, Aren Johnstone, who worked for Battle Bridge Labs on the side before Phipps asked him to join as president of the company. “I gave up quite a bit of equity… but it was well worth it because we wouldn’t be where we are today without Aren and the work that he’s done,” Phipps said on the podcast in late 2017.
Phipps said Johnstone (who later left the company) enjoyed managing the staff in Battle Bridge’s Tulsa office, which allowed Phipps to focus on high-level strategy from his base in Los Angeles. As the business grew, Phipps placed much of his effort on building partnerships. “A lot of the partnerships we’ve put in place now are seeds I planted 4 or 5 years ago and they’re just now sprouting,” he said on “In the Trenches.” At the time of that recording, Phipps said Battle Bridge managed around $6 million in monthly ad spend for more than 120 clients.
Fast forward nearly five years: Battle Bridge collaborated with Logiq, a digital marketing, e-commerce and customer acquisition firm based in New York. That collaboration turned into an opportunity for Phipps to sell his business.
In March 2022, Logiq purchased Battle Bridge Labs for $3.25 million. Three million was paid in Logiq stock, with $250,000 paid in cash. At the time of the sale, Battle Bridge Labs expected its 2022 revenue to be $3.8 million, with $1.4 million EBITDA, according to a news release.
Brent Suen, the chair and CEO of Logiq, said in that release that Battle Bridge was on a long list of companies the company considered acquiring to grow its business.
Logiq, a publicly traded company, had acquired three businesses before Battle Bridge Labs. SaaS e-commerce platform Push Interactive was first in 2019, followed in 2020 by Fixel, an audience segmentation tool. In 2021, it purchased Rebel AI, an advertising technology company in Colorado, for $8.1 million — a similar cash-plus-stock deal.
As part of the sale, Phipps and Robb Billy, partner and vice president of financial operations, agreed to stay on for some time after completing the deal. They also agreed to hold onto most of their Logiq stock for several months after the sale.
Phipps did not respond to an interview request for this story.