Charlotte, NC (February 26, 2019) – Ridgemont Equity Partners, a middle market private equity investor, announced the closing of an investment in Backstage, the global platform that enables productions, brands, marketing agencies, and businesses to discover and work with highly skilled creative talent. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Ridgemont is focused on identifying data, information, and marketing services investments with strong growth prospects across many industries,” said Jack Purcell, Partner at Ridgemont. “We are impressed with Backstage’s outstanding leadership team, unparalleled subscriber growth, user engagement, platform traffic, and the vibrant level of activity on each side of its marketplace as content creators of all types engage with creative talent.”
“Backstage has been a trusted brand in the performing arts world since 1960 and we have transformed it from a beloved, traditional trade publication to a modern career platform for performing artists and content producers,” said Josh Ellstein, CEO of Backstage. “Our team built the industry’s most liquid two-sided marketplace that enables our users to get cast through casting directors, top brands, marketing agencies, and independent content producers. Ridgemont’s investment and strategic guidance will enable us to execute our shared vision for the next phase of development for Backstage and continue to meet the evolving needs of our users and the dynamic content industry.”
Mike Felman, CFO of Backstage, added, “We built a platform to deliver efficiency to both sides of the marketplace and to help the large market of talent and creators be successful. This has resulted in significant growth and a compelling value proposition to creative talent and content creators. With three million people visiting the platform every month, 50,000 content creators posting opportunities during the last year, and a rapidly growing subscriber base, we are committed to serving as the preeminent source for information, professional development opportunities, and community engagement for talent and a valuable, efficient, and cost-effective tool for content creators of all types.”
Experienced digital media executive, James Yaffe, and Cannondale Capital Investors, the family office vehicle of Joe and Dan Ripp, participated in the transaction alongside Ridgemont and will serve on the Board. Former Executive Chairman of Backstage, Peter Rappaport, participated in the transaction and will continue to serve Backstage as Strategic Advisor and as a director on the Board. Financing for the transaction was provided by Audax Private Debt. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Barnes & Thornburg LLP provided legal services to Ridgemont. Petsky Prunier Securities served as financial advisor and Blank Rome LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP provided legal services to Backstage.