Skip to content
Supercharge Your Pipeline

SmartBug Media® Receives Growth Investment from American Discovery Capital, Forming Strategic Partnership

February 20, 2020

Investment Reinforces HubSpot’s Highest-Rated Agency Partner’s Prominence as Market Leader and Sets Stage for Accelerated Growth

IRVINE, Calif., February 20, 2020—SmartBug Media®—the leading Intelligent Inbound® marketing agency that assists businesses in generating leads, increasing awareness, and building brand loyalty through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation, and public relations—today announced it has received a growth equity investment from American Discovery Capital (ADC), a private equity firm focused on investing in leading family-owned and middle market companies in high-growth sectors. The deal validates SmartBug Media’s remote business model, leading reputation, and strong culture and team capabilities, and positions the company to accelerate its growth and to capitalize on numerous expanded opportunities in the inbound marketing services market.

ADC partners with innovative business owners and entrepreneurs who have built successful, established businesses with strong fundamentals that are well-positioned for future growth. Among middle market companies, where there is a growing reliance on marketing and sales automation, the ADC relationship enables SmartBug® to strengthen its already leading market position. The partnership also enables SmartBug to further capitalize on a market need for companies that offer strong sales, marketing, and technical experience to take advantage of the explosion in cloud-based sales and marketing technologies. 

“SmartBug is a leader in the digital agency space and a global leader in the HubSpot partner community,” said Mike Denbeau, partner at ADC. “The company has a wide range of unique and impressive attributes that made it an attractive investment for us. We are excited to partner with them and accelerate the growth of the SmartBug brand.”

“ADC has an incredibly experienced and forward-looking team that shares our values and vision for SmartBug’s growth,” added Ryan Malone, founder and CEO of SmartBug Media. “We are beyond excited to partner with ADC as we continue our plan to be the dominant market player and to provide our customers with a level of talent and performance not seen in this market.” 

Since its founding in 2008, SmartBug has been a 100 percent remote company—a cutting-edge model that has only recently become more widely adopted due to market success stories. “Our goal was to provide employees with challenging careers along with the flexibility to spend more quality time and make lifelong memories with their families,” said Malone. “We also had a hypothesis that a remote environment could help us hire better people faster, with our customers deriving great benefits from it. These philosophies have enabled us to attract the best talent in the market and build a high-retention hiring culture, proving our remote model successful, as we’ve scaled to 85 employees across 28 states to service more than 100 clients.”

With a long history of market-leading innovation, SmartBug has consistently shown its willingness to break the mold in order to find better solutions to serve the marketing community and enhance the client experience. For example, whereas most agencies rely heavily on interns and outsourcing, SmartBug has chosen to provide veteran marketers and strong in-house talent. Many agencies limit access to the strategists who are key to their success, but SmartBug doubles down on the customer experience, guaranteeing direct access to strategists and encouraging them to be an extension of the client’s team. And whereas many agencies have unpredictable delivery systems, SmartBug’s relentless focus on process development and professional development results in high customer satisfaction and award-winning results for its clients. 

“We eliminated the things customers dislike about agencies so we could produce great work,” said Malone. “We focus relentlessly on process, constantly tweaking and refining our workflow systems to ensure the highest quality outcomes. We know if we build processes that will work for companies five times our size, they will work flawlessly today.” 

SmartBug also laid a strong business foundation early on by partnering with marketing leaders such as HubSpot, knowing that the best technology combined with the best people would be unstoppable. The results of this strategy have been unmatched in the industry, as SmartBug is the highest-rated HubSpot Solutions Partner in the world, boasting 335 five-star reviews to date according to the HubSpot Solutions Directory. Earlier this month, SmartBug was named a HubSpot Elite partner, one of only six companies to earn this distinction worldwide. It was also named the 2018 HubSpot Partner of the Year and was tapped to provide its insight, ideas, and successes to help steer the future of HubSpot’s global partner program and better address the needs of partners across the globe as part of the highly select HubSpot Partner Advisory Council (PAC).

“SmartBug has long been a top HubSpot partner and recently became one of just six companies to reach our highest Elite tier,” said JD Sherman, president and COO at HubSpot. “It’s encouraging to see the market recognize the growth opportunity in a business that delivers world-class inbound marketing and customer experience services built around HubSpot’s methodologies and software. We’re excited to see what SmartBug does next.”

These achievements add to a number of other prestigious accolades earned by SmartBug, which has been recognized with hundreds of awards for client work, including more than 150 MarCom Awards in the past two years alone. In 2019, SmartBug was named to the Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row. The company was also recently named to the inaugural Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies list and has won a number of Comparably and Great Place to Work® awards.

SmartBug’s philosophy has enabled it to fundamentally change the way agencies think about growth and client results. “We believe that when you plan for scale and combine the best people, processes, and technology, your customers will thrive and the market will reward you,” Malone said.

About SmartBug Media

SmartBug Media is a globally recognized Intelligent Inbound marketing agency assisting businesses in growing revenue by generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and building customer loyalty through content marketing, sales enablement, web development, marketing automation, and public relations.

As HubSpot’s 2018 Global Partner of the Year, SmartBug is the highest-rated HubSpot partner in the world. The company has not only been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies three years in a row, but it has also been named to the Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies list, and won a number of Great Place to Work® and Comparably awards. With hundreds of awards for client work—and a team holding a combined 550 marketing certifications—SmartBug is fully dedicated to delivering client success and an unparalleled agency experience. For more information about SmartBug Media, visit

About American Discovery Capital

Based in Los Angeles, Calif., American Discovery Capital (ADC) is a private equity firm investing in leading family-owned and middle market companies operating in high-growth industry sectors, including enterprise software, business and technology services, healthcare services and fintech. ADC targets long-term relationships with entrepreneurs and senior management of companies in search of capital and industry expertise to support organic growth, fund acquisitions, or provide partial liquidity to founders or families in the midst of generational ownership transfers. For additional information about ADC, visit  

For SmartBug Media Inquiries, Contact: 

Jennifer Tolkachev
SmartBug Media 
949-236-6448 x865