Digital agency CQL gets investment, new leadership

GRAND RAPIDS–The digital commerce agency CQL announced it has taken a strategic investment from the San Francisco private equity firm Superstep Capital. CQL officials said the investment will accelerate CQL’s growth trajectory, expand its capabilities, and pursue a focused acquisition strategy to serve clients as the next great digital commerce agency.

The amount of the investment wasn’t disclosed.

Along with the investment, CQL announced new executive leadership. Dave Barr will lead CQL as its new CEO along with Justin Finnegan who will serve as president and COO. Barr and Finnegan are industry veterans who successfully led and grew the digital agency Lyons Consulting Group and the e-commerce company Gorilla Group, respectively, to become industry leaders that were each acquired by strategic buyers–Capgemini and WPP respectively.

CQL’s founder, Kevin Antel, and its current CEO of 20 years, Mark Lardieri, will remain as investors and advisors to CQL, along with other employee shareholders who will now become employee shareholders of the newly formed CQL entity. All other existing leadership team members will continue to serve CQL. In addition, industry veterans Ray Grady and Rich Lyons will join the board as advisors.

“CQL is currently very well positioned as a platform for growth due to its experienced leadership team covering a large swath of the needs of our clients’ digital commerce investments — strategy, user experience, performance marketing and industry leading technology capabilities aimed at driving revenue growth and profitability for our clients,” Barr said.

“CQL is a leader in helping clients provide best-in-class e-commerce experiences, particularly in categories like apparel and beauty,” Superstep Capital partner Stuart Coleman said. “We’re thrilled to partner with Dave, Justin, and the CQL leadership team to build the next great digital commerce agency.”

CQL’s platform partners include Shopify, Salesforce, and BigCommerce, and its client roster includes PetSmart, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Wolverine Worldwide, 4Patriots, Coldwater Creek, Paula’s Choice, Stride Rite, Escalade Sports, Footwear Unlimited, Haworth, and more. For more information, call 616-365-1000 or visit www.CQLCorp.com.

More about Superstep at www.superstepcapital.com.

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