One Innsbrook Business Expands Outside Richmond, Another Receives Investment

An Innsbrook-based consulting firm has expanded to the Windy City. Oyster Consulting, founded three years ago in Richmond by former Wachovia Securities employees, opened its first Chicago office last week.

An Innsbrook-based consulting firm has expanded to the Windy City. Oyster Consulting, founded three years ago in Richmond by former Wachovia Securities employees, opened its first Chicago office last week.

The company, which provides consulting services to financial firms, has been in growth mode since its inception as a three-man firm in 2008. It has 40 employees, most of whom are in Richmond, and has operations in Charlotte, Washington, New York and Portland, Ore.

“We’re starting to spread around the country a little bit,” said Buddy Doyle, managing director and one of Oyster Consulting’s co-founders.

And if Doyle has his way, that spread would continue.

“We’ve got 20 locations on the map that we’re looking to get into by 2020,” he said. “But we don’t go into a market without the right people.”

Doyle, Patrick Dennis and Rob Hall ventured out on their own to start Oyster after leaving Wachovia Securities following its merger with AG Edwards. That merger forced Wachovia Securities to move from Richmond to St. Louis.

“You either had to go to St. Louis or go do something else,” Doyle said.

Oyster Consulting has found its niche by helping wealth management companies, broker dealers and other financial firms with regulatory compliance and risk management.

The company is profitable, Doyle said, and has seen its revenue grow each year.

The Chicago office will be run by Mike Nolan and Pat Blackburn, two veterans of the financial industry in that part of the country.

And in case you were wondering: Where does the name Oyster Consulting come from?

“Oysters sift through sea water, cleansing it and creating something of value,” Doyle said, explaining the correlation to sifting through regulatory compliance issues for its clients.

Meanwhile, a New York private equity firm has acquired a majority stake of one of Richmond’s biggest lab companies. Metalmark Capital announced Tuesday that it is investing in Bostwick Laboratories. Details were sparse, and financial terms of the investment were not disclosed. The exact role that the company’s current management will play is unclear.

Metalmark’s announcement said Bostwick founder and CEO David Bostwick, a well known urologist, will remain a majority shareholder.

David Bostwick said in a prepared statement that the investment from Metalmark will give the company the capital it needs to pursue its growth strategy.

“I look forward to working with the team and remaining actively involved in driving the business forward,” Bostwick said in his statement.

Bostwick was founded in 1999 and for a time was one of Richmond’s fastest growing companies, filling a niche in cancer diagnosis testing.

The company at one point had 750 employees and revenue of more than $100 million.

Questions about Bostwick’s future have circulated this year as it cut costs and unloaded real estate.

It moved out of one of its local offices and put several of its labs up for sale. It then received a $43 million round of financing from a New York health-care lending company.

In addition to its 65,000-square-foot headquarters in Innsbrook, Bostwick has labs in Uniondale, N.Y., El Paso and Orlando.

Bostwick also owns a Midlothian company called AIBioTech, which it acquired from Commonwealth Biotechnologies in 2009. How this deal will affect AIB is unclear.

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Michael Schwartz

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