High-Lights: Our Tech PR POV

Inner Circle Labs Joins Highwire PR

By Julie Crabill

I founded Inner Circle Labs in 2010 with one goal in mind — to change the way people think about and do PR. Eight years later, I’m pleased to say our team has done just that. We’ve created smart, strategic programs, we’ve been an honest and transparent partner, we’ve achieved amazing success and tackled incredible hurdles together. We’ve launched hundreds of startups, worked with partners through rebrands and countless acquisitions, and been an extension of their team as we’ve grown into a team of our own. We’ve built a reputation I’m so proud of, but I’m even more proud and thrilled to share that Inner Circle Labs has been acquired by Highwire Public Relations – a fast-growing tech PR firm that is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary in 2018. Highwire has offices in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Boston – and with the new infusion of talent from Inner Circle Labs, will be a team nearly 100 people strong.

I met Kathleen Gratehouse and Emily Borders in 2009 – and they’ve been friends, supporters, and mentors to team ICLabs ever since. Like us, Highwire takes a new world stance on the old world business that is public relations. They create integrated communications programs for the most interesting and disruptive technology companies in the world – ranging across enterprise, cloud, security, consumer, digital commerce, digital health, and robotics/ML/AI. They consistently win all of the awards that matter – like being named PRWeek’s Small Agency of the year in 2016 and a top place to work by PR News in both 2014 and 2015. And all of these awards are extremely well deserved. Highwire is the agency I’ve most strived to imitate in the eight years since founding Inner Circle Labs – and I guess they took that imitation as flattery based on today’s news.

When considering a place that would not only allow the killer Inner Circle Labs team to grow but to thrive, I looked for an equally amazing team that they could become part of with an organically similar culture. I also looked for leaders in which I could see philosophical alignment – Kathleen, Emily, and Carol Carrubba were a natural fit. Our mutual fandom of each other’s organizations has made bringing the two teams together feel like stars aligning.

Over the last year, the Inner Circle Labs team and our fascinating set of clients have reached an inflection point – a place where access to greater reach, size, and scope will help everyone involved pour gasoline onto their naturally-occurring fires.

Team members who have experienced rapid career and personal growth will now benefit from a larger organization and team. They’ll be given new ways to learn – and people to learn from – as well as improved tools and training options. And, all of this will be possible without losing the tight knit, entrepreneurial workplace they’ve come to love at Inner Circle Labs.

Clients who have become global brands and seen massive growth will now benefit from new capabilities like content programs and influencer marketing along with teams in New York, Chicago, and Boston. They’ll see an even larger pool of the PR businesses’ best minds focused on critical thinking, creative ideation, and tenacious execution on their behalf. All without losing the core team of people who deeply understand their business that are delivering amazing, impactful work for them every day.

Speaking of clients and passion, as part of this news, I’ll be hanging up my day-to-day PR hat in late January when I transition into a strategic advisor role for Highwire. This will allow me to be part of this journey even as I pursue something that has become a major passion of mine – joining the talented team at Descartes Labs in Santa Fe, New Mexico as their CMO.

This could not have happened without the tenacious, hard-working, kickass team at Inner Circle Labs. What we’ve built together is powerful and the equally fantastic team at Highwire sees the value in it. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into this – the best is yet to come.

In the coming weeks, we’ll quickly become one team – team Highwire. Our shared focus on being curiosity-driven entrepreneurs has made this a natural pairing and will lead to even more success in the years ahead. While Jonathan (ICLabs’ co-founder and COO) and I will move on from the day-to-day, everyone else in the company is joining Highwire and we look forward to a smooth and easy transition for the team and clients alike. Our priority is to continue our shared focus on creating a great place to work where creative and critical thinking along with strategic advice are the cornerstones of every client program. Here’s to the next decade of domination as Team Highwire!