We are proud to announce the formation of Starfish Partners: an ownership platform for this previously overlooked market that will allow owners to scale and monetize their business value. Starfish Partners is an expanding ecosystem of recruiting firms structured to enhance the collective benefit of all stakeholders.

As the search and staffing industry has evolved, it has consolidated in most areas. We see small staffing firms acquired by regional players acquired by national ones. We see giant holding companies owning a variety of organizations operating under many unique brands. We see mergers on both small and large scales. The executive search industry has had a flurry of merger and acquisition activities over the years, but there is one segment of this massive world that has remained relatively untouched: the world of niche professional and mid-upper-level management search specialists. The barriers to entry are low, but the obstacles to growth are significant. There are understandable issues and reasons why investors have avoided this robust section of the market: until now.

Starfish Partners is a natural evolution built on the track record of Kaye/Bassman International, Next Level Exchange and Sanford Rose Associates. Starfish Partners will provide the opportunity for independent search firm owners to participate and share in the equity of an entire family of companies, not just their own.

Starfish Partners is led by Jeff Kaye, Chairman of the Board. For over three decades, Jeff has helped Kaye/Bassman International win Best Place to Work, workplace flexibility, and philanthropy awards while also propelling the firm to become the largest single-site search firm in the US. Fostering an environment of servant leadership, retention is unparalleled; over three dozen partners have been with the firm for over a decade. In 2007, Jeff used his Recruiting Training DVD set as a launching pad to grow Next Level Exchange, what is now the world’s largest training and consulting firm to the search and staffing industry. In 2012, he led the acquisition of Sanford Rose Associates and helped grow the number of offices by over 250% while growing the network revenues by over 1500% in less than a decade. Jeff’s role is to help investable people and businesses, ensuring the infrastructures and teams needed to help firms scale is the best in the world.

Karen Schmidt, Board Member for Sanford Rose Associates, shares that “To do what has never been done before will require the right vision, proper leadership, a track record of success, and a solid infrastructure. But most of all, it requires the right people. For 30 years, our team has been preparing to serve our industry in a way no one has done before. Scaling Kaye/Bassman allowed us to develop the leadership team needed to support a singular organization. Next Level allowed us to expand that team and build a reputation in the industry rooted in delivery and integrity. Sanford Rose Associates allowed us to create the infrastructure – both the infrastructure to support the organic growth of our offices and the infrastructure to scale by acquisition. And now, the formation of Starfish Partners allows us to serve our clients to an even higher degree.” 

The platform company is proud to also announce their first Starfish Partner acquisition: Full Spectrum Staffing Solutions. A long-time client of Next Level Exchange, founder Maxwell McNamara had a deeply rooted level of trust in the senior leadership of the Starfish Companies – both to successfully help scale Full Spectrum, and to successfully execute the vision of the platform within the recruiting industry.

Maxwell McNamara, Board Member for Full Spectrum Staffing Solutions, says “I founded Full Spectrum in 2016 and though we experienced steady growth until 2019, Full Spectrum joined Sanford Rose Associates and we have worked together to evolve the firm from the typical rainmaker model to a decentralized, scalable, data-centric organization that is poised to scale. Although we are proud of our 240% revenue growth from 2019 to 2021, we see endless possibilities for the Full Spectrum leadership team to continue to achieve their fullest potential, and the fullest potential of those we serve within the firm. The acquisition by Starfish Partners allows us to invest back in the firm at an accelerated rate, providing resources that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible without the collective. But my most important ‘why’ of all? The people. Starfish Partners will allow us to attract more talent, provide an exceptional value proposition for our recruiters, and create unparalleled career opportunities for all.”

Also on the Board of Directors are Nicholas Turner representing Kaye/Bassman International and Darren McDougal representing Next Level Exchange. The Board of Starfish Partners will identify partners looking to monetize some of the value of their firms, take on strategic advisors, and perhaps capital to ignite their business growth. With the combination of cash for the owner, investment capital in the business, and equity in the overall enterprise of Starfish Partners, this is a unique opportunity that is designed to transform our industry for those who are capable, successful, eager, willing, and hungry to grow.

Learn more at  www.starfishpartners.com.