Progressive Move for Palatine-Backed Anthesis


Anthesis, the fast-growing international sustainability advisory and solutions firm, has continued its acquisitive growth strategy with the addition of Progressive, a growth and innovation consultancy.

Founded in 2016 by Matt Nicholls and Ken Valledy, London-based Progressive works with senior leadership teams to help accelerate and unlock new, sustainable growth.

It supports a range of international blue-chip organisations, predominantly across the retail, finance, consumer packaged goods, automotive and B2B industries, including Kimberly Clarke, Nestle, DFS Group and Informa to develop innovative new research and insights, and powerful start-up & scale-up programmes.

Progressive’s co-founders and partners each bring more than 30 years’ experience from across the worlds of advertising, brand management, start-ups, innovation, and entrepreneurship to the group.

From Saatchi & Saatchi and Accenture through to founding one of the UK’s largest and most successful digital marketing agencies, Grand Union, Matt Nicholls’ career has spanned strategy, communications, and technology. His partner, Ken Valledy spent 14 years as brand director and consumer connections director for multinational drinks and brewing company, ABInBev, before founding Tech2Brand, a firm solely focused on connecting brands with new start-up technology. Both are active investors and mentors for the start-up community and investment and academic programmes.

Progressive’s skills are seen as a great  fit with Anthesis’ Frontiers sustainable innovation and venturing offering. Established in 2022 and led by chief enterprise officer, Dean Sanders, Anthesis Frontiers is focused on targeted innovation, delivered through access to sustainability expertise, global and cross-sector reach, and extensive research and databases.

Stuart McLachlan, CEO of Anthesis, said, “The work that Progressive do to empower companies and brands to go beyond the norm and unlock new growth through emerging technologies is impressive. They act as an enabler to accelerate progress, impact, and partnerships, delivered through trusted relationships with the C-Suite. Matt, Ken and the wider team are a welcome addition to Anthesis.”

Progression is Anthesis’ fifth M&A deal in 2023, following announcements with Colombian sustainability and digital consultancy, ConTREEbute, Australian sustainability advisory firm, Ndevr Environmental, a leading global ESG advisory firm, Wallbrook, and impact-led creative change agency, Charlescannon. Anthesis has completed 21 acquisitions since 2013, growing to over 1,250 specialists across 44 offices in 23 countries.

Having invested in Anthesis in 2021 through our Buyout and Impact funds, in July 2023 we re-invested in a secondary buyout of Anthesis led by global investment firm Carlyle.

It’s a very exciting time to be joining Anthesis.  The overarching ‘Sustainable Performance’ philosophy and solutions developed by the whole Anthesis team are really compelling.  We’re very much looking forward to working together and being able to help further accelerate the combined success of the business, leveraging our capabilities and solutions as part of the group.

Matt Nicholls and Ken Valledy

Co-founders of Progressive