How the right investment helped two passionate founders upscale their media and events business and stay true to themselves

Our challenge is to broaden our lens while maintaining continuity on the brands that we’ve built. Six months into our relationship with WTWH, that balance of staying true to our roots but having the vision to go broader, still resonates.

George Yedinak, formerly EVP of Aging Media Network

A proposition with potential

Aging Media Network (Aging Media or AMN) is a boutique media company covering targeted media for the senior care industry – combining online publications, webinars, events, and industry reports, as well as providing comprehensive coverage and insights into the senior care and behavioural health sectors. 
The company’s founders, brothers George and John Yedinak, established the company in 2007, inspired by their extensive work in senior care. With expertise in assisted living, affordable senior apartments and low-income housing, they saw the opportunity to capitalise on their experience in the sector to create a niche digital media platform.
“With that demographic, we knew it had the potential to be a self-growing, self-sustaining proposition,” says George Yedinak, formerly EVP. “We began to think about what a business could look like in the next 20 or 30 years.”
By 2011, the brothers had launched AMN, which soon incorporated three online publications. “We were limited on cash, capital, and – if I’m being candid – experience, and we made a lot of mistakes along the way,” explains George. “But over the next few years, we built new brands into the portfolio, and it was fun to see it grow.”

A crunch point

About 15 years after AMN launch, the Yedinak brothers had reached an inflection point, realising it was time for them to upscale and really drive the business forward. However, while George was keen to continue growing the business, John wanted to step back.
It was at this point that George reached out to Collingwood. “I had a bit of a panic, and I knew we had to do something,” he says. “I knew we needed to scale up, but I didn’t even know how we compared to our peers in the market; how we should evaluate or benchmark where we were at.”
AMN initial contact with Collingwood was all remote, beginning on the Media Entrepreneurs Meetup community online. Early conversations were focused on exploring all the options available, from business improvement all the way to a sale.
When Aging Media began formally working with Collingwood, the focus was on helping the business position itself in the marketplace, building interest in it as an integrated marketing, media and events operation. “They really helped us wrestle down our go-to-market strategy – and it got the results,” George says.

International exposure

Collingwood leveraged its network to bring the international investor reach that Aging Media needed to put it in front of the right private equity players and strategic buyers. Ultimately, this led to a partnership with WTWH Media, an integrated B2B company that had recently secured backing from Mountaingate Capital. 
WTWH’s strong presence in the life sciences market aligned perfectly with AMN’s longer-term vision to broaden its scope. “We have focused heavily on the aging markets, and we’ve had great success in those niches,” says George. “But our challenge now is to broaden that lens while maintaining continuity on the brands that we’ve built.”
George feels that despite the breadth of healthcare being ‘somewhat daunting’, the partnership presents a huge opportunity to expand the business but maintain its original principles. “Six months into our relationship with WTWH, that balance of staying true to our roots, but having the vision to go broader, still resonates.”

A deep level of confidence 

For George, Collingwood’s role in facilitating the investment deal with WTWH was invaluable.
“Collingwood helped manage the process so effectively and efficiently while allowing us to continue to run the business successfully – John and I having that level of confidence in them during those advisory conversations was really important.” 
It was also important to both George and his brother that their brand be represented by people who had been in the media business themselves and understood the ‘spirit’ and challenges of the entrepreneurial process. 
“We wanted people who had been ‘in the mud’, who had sold businesses, learned lessons, made mistakes,” says George. “The fact the Collingwood team could provide genuine guidance and counsel really resonated with us, more than anyone else we spoke to.”

George and John have built a brilliant business, in a very high value and high growth market, and they’ve done so by staying true to their core principles of serving their audiences with best-in-class content through a quality-first approach.

Daniel Pitchford, CEO, Collingwood

A magic combination 

For the Collingwood team, the partnership between Aging Media Network and WTWH was a natural pairing. The two brands are very aligned and hugely ambitious with big growth plans in complementary sectors. 
“This is what we mean when we talk about value creation, " says Collingwood CEO Daniel Pitchford. “What can these two companies accomplish together that they couldn't do separately?”
For Daniel, success was a matter of the right partner, the right deal, and a strong valuation. “That for us will always be a slightly magic combination - the two are greater than the sum of their parts.”