Real Chemistry’s revenue rose 7% between 2022 and 2023, the marketing agency announced Wednesday morning.

Overall, revenue rose from $555 million in 2022 to $595 million in 2023.

The 2023 MM+M Agency 100 honoree attributed some of the growth to its adoption of AI, which strengthened its medical offerings as well as its Swoop business. 

Real Chemistry CEO Shankar Narayanan, noted that the agency was able to achieve growth despite economic headwinds and a challenging year for the marketing sector as a whole.

“It was positive and reassuring to see that the areas we’re making significant investments in drove our growth in 2023,” Narayanan told MM+M.

Following an AI and data buying spree in recent years, Real Chemistry picked up TI Health in 2023, bringing the company’s predictive analytics, data marketing and personalized omnichannel messaging under its umbrella. 

Since it secured backing from private equity firm New Mountain Capital in 2019, Real Chemistry acquired AI shop ConversationHealth in 2022 as well as Swoop and in 2021.

The agency made its first acquisition of 2024 earlier this month, when it bought Avant Healthcare with the goal of “modernizing” its medical communications business. With the acquisition, Real Chemistry’s medical group grew to 450 employees. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

All aboard AI

Narayanan highlighted Real Chemistry’s blossoming Swoop business as a primary driver of growth last year, adding that the subsidiary generated record growth and picked up several new AI capabilities. 

Notably, Swoop launched a predictive AI adherence targeting offering in September and added conversational AI to its repertoire.

“Swoop is our AI-driven technology solution for data-driven targeting for both physicians and patients,” Narayanan said. “As the industry and our clients shift from traditional forms of media and engagement to online and programmatic ways of reaching both patients and physicians, that translates into much more demand for Swoop. Swoop has been a leader in that market.”

Real Chemistry also pointed to some of its recent AI endeavors as contributing to the growth, including scoring a partnership with generative AI platform Writer last year.

Narayanan noted that the agency was also investing in what it refers to as “cultural infrastructure” around AI — or the idea that AI should be “democratized.”

“Every one of the 2,000 or so people at Real Chemistry should have access to these tools and should be able to leverage them in their day-to-day work,” Narayanan explained. “So our investments have been made as much in the dollars as in creating that cultural infrastructure to be able to drive that journey through the organization.”

Still, Real Chemistry’s 2023 growth lagged behind its 18% growth in 2022, according to the 2023 MM+M Agency 100 revenue chart.

At the end of last year, the agency also announced it was laying off 66 employees, citing “market headwinds faced by our clients and the impact to our business,” Narayanan said at the time.

Now, he said he’s more optimistic about the prospects for 2024 growth, noting that the biotech industry is already beginning to “show signs of life” — with several IPOs already occurring in just the first few months of the year.

“We’re starting to see signs of funding flows increasing,” Narayanan said. “All things considered, we do believe 2024 will be a stronger growth year for us than 2023.”