Mountaingate Capital Platform Elite SEM Completes First Add-On Acquisition

November 2017


DENVER, November 9, 2017 – Award-winning digital marketing agency Elite SEM Inc., announced that it has acquired OrionCKB, a social advertising agency in Boston that focuses on customer acquisition and lead generation from Paid Social channels. Together, Elite and Orion are now a Search and Social powerhouse that will deliver data-driven performance marketing services to clients across ecommerce and lead generation verticals.

OrionCKB was founded in 2013 and provides advertising strategy, optimization, and analysis that maximizes ROI from social advertising channels for brands such as Bombas, M.Gemi, Publishers Clearing House, and Thumbtack. Orion was one of the first agencies to focus exclusively on direct response advertising on Facebook; many of the company’s founding members were early employees of or consultants to Nanigans, the industry leader in performance advertising software. In February, Elite SEM announced their partnership with Mountaingate Capital to accelerate growth and expand and strengthen their core performance marketing services. This union strengthens Elite’s Paid Social services and deepens their partnerships with Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Future acquisitions are planned in other compatible media and marketing disciplines dependent on growth opportunities, client needs, and overall industry trends.

Founded in 2004, Elite SEM has focused on performance-driven digital marketing including Paid Search, SEO, Shopping & Feed, Display Advertising, Paid Social, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), and Analytics. The company has grown steadily since its inception and now manages over $750M in media spend. Elite’s unique business model ties account performance to account managers and rewards teams for continuous performance and client satisfaction with a share of company profits.

“We are proud that we’re able to bring Orion into the fold of our fast-growing business while both companies stay true to their core purpose and values,” said Ben Kirshner, Founder and CEO of Elite SEM. He continued, “I’m thrilled to have uncovered a partnership where both parties value the spirit of intrapreneurship and meritocracy. For clients and partners, this expansion brings even more passionate, dedicated talent to the table. Our team’s collective expertise, successes, and client experiences will foster new ideas and opportunities, driving further success for all clients under the Elite umbrella.”

Scott Briggs, founder of OrionCKB, will now assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer of Elite SEM. The acquisition will better serve the needs of OrionCKB’s client roster as well: “While we’re excited to bring our expertise to Elite SEM, our clients now benefit from Elite’s capabilities in Paid Search, Shopping, SEO, Display, CRO and Analytics,” he said. “Their team knows how to read the data across disciplines because they have expert talent fully ingrained in each channel, with Integrated Media specialists that bring it all together. This is a huge win for our Paid Social clients who need all of their other advertising channels to fall in line accordingly against their larger business goals.”

Colton King, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Mountaingate Capital, agrees that the partnership between Elite SEM and OrionCKB creates a powerful match: “Both Elite SEM and OrionCKB were founded on principles that attract and develop the best talent in the industry and that deliver superior performance-driven digital marketing results for their clients,” he said. “The strategic and cultural compatibility of these companies is extremely compelling and is one of the many reasons why, after rigorous evaluation of the marketplace, we believed OrionCKB was the ideal next move for Elite as we continue to expand our Paid Social offerings. We are thrilled to welcome Scott Briggs and his impressive team into the Elite SEM partnership.”

Elite SEM is an award-winning digital marketing agency. Founded on search, focused on holistic performance-driven digital marketing, Elite’s expertise spans Paid Search, SEO, Shopping & Feed, Display Advertising, Paid Social, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), and Analytics. Elite brings a unique business model to the market that ties account performance to account managers, and rewards teams for continuous performance and satisfied clients with a share of company profits. Boasting unprecedented 94+% employee and client retention rates, Elite’s commitment to people and performance has cemented their position as one of the top digital marketing agencies in North America. For more information on Elite, please visit

Mountaingate Capital is a private equity firm based in Denver that specializes in building and empowering lower middle market companies with strong growth potential and engaged leadership teams. The firm was launched by a team of partners with deep investment expertise in four distinct market sectors: marketing services, business/industrial services, specialty distribution and specialty manufacturing, including medical devices. Mountaingate’s focus on organic growth coupled with its proven customer-centric buy-and-build approach for add-on acquisitions and shared equity ownership with management creates more value for the end customer, while forging stronger, more collaborative, and more successful investment partnerships with management teams. In 2017, Mountaingate announced the close of its first fund with $395 million in capital commitments. Mountaingate targets investments in new platform companies typically with $5 million to $25 million of EBITDA. For more information on Mountaingate, please visit


For more information please contact:
Colton King, Managing Director
Phone: 303.390.5001