SAN FRANCISCO – Tech boutique Borders + Gratehouse has rebranded as Highwire PR, dropping the founders’ surnames in favor of a concept moniker intended to evoke its “risk and reward” culture.
None of the agency’s three principals -- Emily Borders, Kathleen Gratehouse and Carol Carrubba --- are departing the firm. Rather the change is intended to reflect its market positioning and clarify its offerings.
“People would be confused about whether we are a bookstore or a law firm,” Borders told the Holmes Report. The agency’s core practice areas are enterprise and consumer technologies, including cloud infrastructure, big data and app development.
The name change comes amid substantial growth -- Highwire grew about 37% last year, closing 2012 at around $4 million. The firm has about 40 people across its offices in San Francisco and Chicago servicing clients such as YouSendIt, Prezi, Norwest Partners, Felicis Ventures and RepairPal.
As part of the rebranding, Highwire hired Vitor Souza, formerly at Horn, as SVP to grow its global agency relationships and Guryan Tighe, formerly of Better Place, as chief culture officer.
“Guryan is an investment, it’s our putting a deliberate focus on making sure our culture stays intact as we grow and that we continue to provide professional development,” Carrubba noted.
Highwire works with about half of its clients globally via a network of partner agencies that include Axicom in Europe, C8 in the UK, Text 100 in Singapore and EMG in China.
While Borders + Gratehouse was founded in 2008, Silicon Valley's newest wave of tech agencies has largely eschewed eponymous branding - for instance, Mighty PR, the Hatch Agency and the Pramana Collective.
Highwire is also launching a “content bureau” that is a hub for social, digital, bylined articles, Q&As and press releases, as well as graphics. This year, the firm also opened its Chicago office lead by VP Carolyn Adams.