Boathouse Debuts

John Connors III, former chief executive of Zentropy Partners and the son of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos CEO Jack Connors, has launched a new shop called Boathouse Group.

Connors, 34, is the majority owner of the Dedham, Mass., startup. Chris Boland, who worked with Connors at both Zentropy and Hill, Holliday Interactive, is a minority partner. Connors and Boland rowed together at the University of Pennsylvania, hence the name Boathouse. The shop is looking to add a seasoned creative director.

All told, Boathouse begins with a half-dozen employees and three clients, which Connors declined to disclose. The shop will focus on accounts in the interactive, financial- services and “mainstream consumer products” niches, Connors said.

“We’re looking to be an agency that acts like a consultancy,” providing high-level marketing strategy and creative executions while keeping a low profile and, when possible, not disclosing the names of clients, Connors said.

Also following the consulting company model, Boathouse intends to work with clients that already have agency relationships, he said. The shop is not affiliated with Hill, Holliday or its parent, the Interpublic Group of Cos.

In the 1990s, Connors helped build Hill, Holliday Interactive into a successful i-shop. In 2000, that unit was spun out of Hill, Holliday and merged with other IPG holdings to form Zentropy, with Connors serving as CEO.

Zentropy was ultimately merged into McCann-Erickson WorldGroup’s MRM network. Connors left Zentropy for a post within IPG’s Internet Ventures Group. He said he no longer has any contractual ties to IPG.