Photo: Florian Kähler, Partner and Managing Director of ECM

Intermate Group enters into partnership with ECM

Photo: Florian Kähler, Part­ner and Mana­ging Direc­tor of ECM
9. Febru­ary 2022

Frank­furt am Main/Berlin — German Equity Part­ners V (“GEP V” or the “Fund”), a fund mana­ged by the inde­pen­dent German private equity firm ECM Equity Capi­tal Manage­ment GmbH (“ECM”), has inves­ted in the Berlin-based social media and influen­cer marke­ting specia­list Inter­mate Group, consis­ting of Inter­mate Media GmbH (“Inter­mate”) and TRUEMATES GmbH (“True­ma­tes”), through a part­ner­ship investment.

The fast-growing social media agency Inter­mate and the “social first” produc­tion company True­ma­tes specia­lize in the concep­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of social media and influen­cer campaigns on all social plat­forms as well as the produc­tion of the corre­spon­ding content. The Group is a leader in Germany, parti­cu­larly in campaigns and the deve­lo­p­ment of brand chan­nels for compa­nies on the fast-growing social media plat­form TikTok.

Toge­ther with ECM, the company foun­ders Ales­san­dro De Pasquale, Jörn Mecher, Philip Papen­dieck, Sonja Wolff and Phil­ipp Wolff want to conti­nue the success story of the Inter­mate Group and expand the enorm­ous poten­tial in the fast-growing area of social media and influen­cer marke­ting as well as in social commerce, which is expec­ted to grow about three times as fast as tradi­tio­nal online commerce by 2025. The foun­ders remain substan­ti­ally invol­ved and will conti­nue to lead and deve­lop the Inter­mate Group as mana­ging part­ners. The parties have agreed not to disc­lose further details of the transaction.

Philip Papen­dieck, co-foun­­der, part­ner and CEO of Inter­mateIn order to posi­tion our clients and part­ners as the stron­gest play­ers in their indus­try in the social and influen­cer market, we will conti­nue to invest in our crea­tive and stra­te­gic infra­struc­ture, content studios, recrui­ting and social talent, as well as in our tech­no­logy. In addi­tion, we will expand our own formats Daily Pie and the VERTIES, also under the aspect of social commerce and meta­verse. With ECM, we have found a part­ner who, toge­ther with us, is rapidly expan­ding an agency model of the future, both tech­no­lo­gi­cally and crea­tively. The part­ner­ship now gives us the tail­wind to further main­tain and expand the market posi­tion we have built up within our seven years of existence.”

Florian Kähler, Part­ner and Mana­ging Direc­tor of ECM (photo), added: “The Inter­mate Group has an impres­sive market posi­tion in the rapidly growing market for social media marke­ting in Germany, for which we also see great poten­tial in the coming years. Buil­ding on Intermate’s proprie­tary tech­no­logy, we want to conti­nue the company’s success story toge­ther and expand into new markets and busi­ness areas. I look forward to part­ne­ring with Inter­mate Group’s ambi­tious and dyna­mic manage­ment team.”

Inter­mate connects successful brands with young generations
on social media platforms

Inter­mate was foun­ded in Berlin in 2015, initi­ally under the name Insta Media. In 2016, the company was rena­med Inter­mate. With a rapidly growing team, Inter­mate is one of the leading agen­cies for social media and influen­cer marke­ting in Germany, Austria and Switz­er­land. The company’s strong focus on crea­tors in parti­cu­lar has enab­led it to estab­lish an outstan­ding posi­tion in the social space. For influen­cer selec­tion, campaign plan­ning, and report­ing, Inter­mate uses a complex, proprie­tary tech­no­lo­gi­cal ecosys­tem. Using its unique tech­no­logy plat­form, Inter­mate has signi­fi­cantly acce­le­ra­ted its proces­ses and work­flows in these areas, achie­ving unique and effec­tive social media and influen­cer campaigns for clients.

In recent years, Inter­mate has imple­men­ted a number of successful campaigns for major clients and inter­na­tio­nal brand compa­nies from all indus­tries, inclu­ding Volks­wa­gen, Beiers­dorf and Deich­mann. The produc­tion of elabo­rate formats takes place in the company’s own studio in Berlin Char­lot­ten­burg with the spin-off produc­tion company True­ma­tes, which focu­ses prima­rily on verti­cal video content. In total, the Group curr­ently employs around 110 people in its two produc­tion studios in Berlin and its four office loca­ti­ons in Berlin, Hamburg, Colo­gne and Vienna. The profi­ta­ble company has grown rapidly in recent years, doubling its work­force since 2018 and tripling its reve­nue. Inter­mate and True­ma­tes and its own formats Daily Pie and VERTIES now operate under the new name Inter­mate Group.

ECM brings entre­pre­neu­rial and stra­te­gic exper­tise, rele­vant network, and deep expe­ri­ence in imple­men­ting growth strategies

The invest­ment company ECM has exten­sive expe­ri­ence in the imple­men­ta­tion of growth and inter­na­tio­na­liza­tion stra­te­gies, which it has alre­ady brought to bear in nume­rous part­ner­ship invest­ments. With ECM’s exper­tise, Inter­mate plans to conti­nue the pace of growth seen in recent years. The part­ners see great poten­tial in parti­cu­lar in the struc­tu­rally growing market for social commerce and in the busi­ness with influen­cer campaigns on the social media plat­form TikTok, which is gaining stron­gly in importance. In the German-spea­king markets, Inter­mate is one of the abso­lute specia­lists for social media and influen­cer marke­ting campaigns on the plat­form, which is parti­cu­larly popu­lar with youn­ger generations.

In the coming years, the Berlin-based company intends to build on its leading market posi­tion in this area toge­ther with ECM and also expand in other Euro­pean count­ries. Ambi­tious growth plans are also being pursued by Inter­mate, with ECM’s support, to expand other chan­nels such as the self-built and opera­ted plat­forms Daily Pie, the number one enter­tain­ment chan­nel on TikTok, and VERTIES, a content crea­tor award on TikTok presen­ted by the agency. Against this back­drop, the part­ners intend to adapt Inter­mate Group’s orga­niza­tio­nal struc­tures to its highly scaled busi­ness and streng­then opera­tio­nal excel­lence. Beyond orga­nic growth, Inter­mate Group plans to evaluate suita­ble add-on acqui­si­ti­ons with ECM’s support.

Great growth poten­tial in social commerce
and with influen­cer campaigns on TikTok.

The growth plans are supported by the expec­ted dyna­mic market growth in the coming years. Digi­tal consul­tancy OMMAX predicts that the German market for influen­cer marke­ting alone will grow from €1.1 billion in 2020 to €2.3 billion in 2024. On average, OMMAX expects the market to grow by around 20 percent annu­ally. The reason for the expec­ted leap in market growth is, in parti­cu­lar, incre­asing social media consump­tion. In 2021, about 90 percent of all smart­phone users were active on social media, each of whom had nearly nine social media accounts on average. The wide­spread use of social media makes it incre­asingly attrac­tive for compa­nies to promote their brands on the various plat­forms with the help of influen­cer campaigns. They enable them to reach youn­ger gene­ra­ti­ons Y and Z in particular.

GEP V was advi­sed on this tran­sac­tion by Milbank (legal and struc­tu­ring), OMMAX (commer­cial), Ebner Stolz (finance & tax), Houli­han Lokey (debt advi­sory) and Willis Towers Watson (insu­rance). Florian Kähler, Tim Krume and Bene­dikt Müller are respon­si­ble for the tran­sac­tion at ECM. Inter­mate was advi­sed on the tran­sac­tion by Lincoln Inter­na­tio­nal (M&A) as well as Hyac­inth and GLNS (legal & struc­tu­ring), KPMG (finance) and the tax firm Brunow (tax).

About ECM Equity Capi­tal Manage­ment GmbH (“ECM”)

ECM is a trus­ted part­ner for medium-sized compa­nies and entre­pre­neurs in German-spea­king Europe. Since 1995, ECM has laun­ched the GEP I‑V equity funds with a total volume of more than €1 billion and is curr­ently inves­t­ing from the fifth fund GEP V (€325 million). The funds invest prima­rily in leading medium-sized compa­nies with attrac­tive growth poten­tial in the course of succes­sion plan­ning, part­ner­ship invest­ments and corpo­rate spin-offs.

About Inter­mate Group (“Inter­mate” and “True­ma­tes”)

With over 110 employees and offices in Berlin, Hamburg, Colo­gne and Vienna, the Inter­mate Group is one of the largest social agen­cies in DACH. With its own produc­tion company True­ma­tes, its own content studios, a holi­stic in-house deve­lo­ped influen­cer tech­no­logy and the influen­cer and social agency Inter­mate, the group has been able to estab­lish a leading posi­tion in the social market with its strong crea­­tor-centric focus.

Through a close connec­tion directly to the plat­forms and by means of its own tech­ni­cal infra­struc­ture, the Inter­mate Group offers the complete value chain on social media from a single source: influen­cer campaigns, crea­­tor-centric social media manage­ment, content produc­tion and perfor­mance ads. Through its own inven­tory and formats, such as the TikTok show Daily Pie with nearly 1,000,000 follo­wers or the VERTIES, the “Oscars” of TikTok crea­tors, Inter­mate Group can demons­tra­bly bring first-hand social exper­tise to clients’ stra­te­gies and concepts. These now include compa­nies and insti­tu­ti­ons such as o2 Tele­fó­nica, Beiers­dorf, Volks­wa­gen, the German Fede­ral Minis­try of Health, ALDI Nord and HUAWEI.

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