When you think of platform companies, several may come to mind. Amazon. Airbnb. Google. Facebook.… And TPG?

A platform company is defined as “a business that creates value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups, usually consumers and producers. These companies reshape traditional business models and create new markets by enabling interactions that were previously difficult or impossible.”

A-ha! Therein lies one of TPG’s biggest strengths: we make the complicated easy. That’s the thing. We talked with CEO Brad Nantz about his vision for TPG becoming a platform company.

How do you define a successful platform company in our industry?

Our aspiration is to create a platform company – so, what is that, in this perspective? Independent companies will succeed in the future when they are able to scale with experience while remaining small enough to be able to pivot quickly with the needs and trends of the marketplace. We will have achieved our goal to become a platform company when people can dedicate their time and their expertise to helping clients.

How does TPG plan to become a platform company?

You become a platform company when you can remove the day-to-day tasks and items that get in the way of assisting clients – when we have an IT team that is dedicated solely to security, data, and technology; a marketing team that is dedicated to customer outreach, RFPs, name, image, and brand; a people operations team that is dedicated to traditional HR needs as well as learning and development; and so on and so forth. This level of dedication needs to exist throughout the organization. And once you’ve built this dedication, it allows you to become immediately responsive to clients’ emerging needs and wants. TPG will be able to pivot quickly with this enhancement.

What value will we provide to users?

Once you become a platform company and have the highest and best use of your expertise, your first-team people leaders can focus on simplifying and enhancing the client experience. Experts at small firms have to wear so many hats – we don’t. TPG is the largest independent broker in the Pacific Northwest – becoming a platform company enables us to remain a forever company focused on growth. And as we continue to grow both organically and through acquisition, we become a company that competes against big groups on acquisition opportunities. As we’ve moved up each rung of the ladder, we’ve made the investments to support future growth. This venture allows us to continue growing by adding new organizations, one story at a time, on our strong foundation.

Can you talk about an example of how we’ve built our infrastructure to support becoming a platform company?

As we’ve grown and learned from customers and clients about what it is they need, we’ve cultivated a holistic environment that takes care of both risk and insurance needs. We began as a company offering personal insurance. Then we added, at clients’ request, employee benefits. And then we added wealth management, commercial insurance, 401(k) planning, and so on. We now provide what we call One Partner Advantage – we have many clients who work with several different divisions of our company because they know we understand their particular needs, their employees, and their culture. One Partner Advantage is yet another way in which we, as a platform company, enable our clients to work easier, work smarter, work safer.

What makes TPG’s foundation so strong?

I think a lot of it is because of our entrepreneurial spirit. We are willing to invest in the next emerging trend. The advantage of becoming a platform company is that TPG’s foundation remains strong and we become more and more innovative and nimble.

Our total absence management (TAM) division is a great example. First-team leader Patty Borst championed it. We made an informed decision as a company, funded it, it lost money, she and her team kept at it, and it paid off. Our TAM division is a huge success story. Our new PEP 401(k) plan (The Partners Retirement Plan) is a similar story – investing in a plan in which dissimilar businesses come together to fund their retirement plans, that’s where the industry is going because it’s efficient and economical.

What’s the vision for the next five to 10 years?

The vision is to be twice as big as we are today. We’ll be a platform company with 15% growth per year. We’ll have 100% of the infrastructure built, adding the next story and the next to our foundation by acquiring smaller, like-minded firms, along with 8–12% organic growth. The timing is right.

Finally, of TPG’s five core values, which is currently resonating with you?

It’s to play well with others. We have developed a strong culture here, the belief that we’re all in this together. This requires both curiosity and significant trust to allow people to do their jobs well. We have no turf wars at TPG – collaboration is the key.

Interested in connecting with Brad? Email him at bnantz@tpgrp.com.