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FranBridge Capital Strikes 10-Unit Deal with Buzz Franchise Brands in Atlanta

The Atlanta-based private equity firm signed for 10 territories with four Pool Scouts and six Home Clean Heroes.

FranBridge Capital, an Atlanta-based private equity firm specializing in home service & retail franchise systems adds Buzz Franchise Brands-owned Home Clean Heroes* and Pool Scouts* to its arsenal with a 10-territory multi-brand signing. Led by CEO & Partner Jon Ostenson, Chairman & Partner Allan Young and Operating Partner Christian Pillat, FranBridge Capital is launching four Pool Scouts territories across northern Atlanta and six Home Clean Heroes territories throughout the Atlanta DMA by October. 

The trio brings years of entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and franchise experience into the venture. Atlanta provides a key market for FranBridge Capital to grow Pool Scouts and Home Clean Heroes with extensive population growth in the greater Atlanta area, in addition to Georgia being the fifth fastest-growing franchise state in the country. Together, the threesome plans on providing hundreds of jobs and an opportunity for young, diverse leaders to emerge within their portfolio. 

1851 Franchise Magazine: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?

Christian Pillat: I have always been entrepreneurial. In college, I started my first e-commerce store and quickly followed with a second e-commerce business. I became fascinated by digital marketing and quickly learned the ropes through my own businesses. After two and a half years, I exited the e-commerce space and began working for a start-up franchise marketing agency. From there, I went on to found Adfinitely in 2015 and led it until a successful exit in 2018. Adfinitely was a Top Five Franchise Marketing Agency as ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine. Through this experience I became exposed to a lot of different franchise brands in different industries and eventually purchased a salon concept and carpet cleaning business as my first franchise investments. In addition to my role with FranBridge Capital, I am the co-CEO of Transitiv, a venture-backed big data startup that focuses on helping franchise brands and auto dealers unify, understand and activate their customer data.

Jon Ostenson: My background is in the corporate world. I’ve founded and invested in multiple start-ups, including several in the franchise space. I am affiliated with the FCC, partnering with 400 high growth franchise brands. One of the main businesses I co-founded was 10Xfive, which served as a marketing agency, technology developer and support provider for multiple franchise businesses. I previously served as the President of Services for ShelfGenie, a national franchise company. Prior to ShelfGenie, I was the Vice President of Sales for Carter’s Inc., responsible for over 350M in annual sales. I began my career as a consultant with Accenture PLC, including a six-month stint in India. I am also the author of “The Franchise Path” and is a frequent contributor to The Franchise Journal and other publications. I am a proud member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO).

1851: Why did you decide to start FranBridge Capital? 

Pillat: I met Jon Ostenson, CEO and Partner of FranBridge Capital, through mutual acquaintances. I’ve always had the idea to create a collection of home service companies and how we can use data, a shared customer base, and technology to our advantage. At the same time, Jon and Allan Young were approaching the same problem differently. We thought it would be best to join forces. 

Ostenson: Based on our backgrounds, we knew there was a strong opportunity to be a strategic private equity firm in the franchise industry. We debate, bounce ideas off each other and have created a three-way partnership that brings experiences as franchisors, franchisees, vendors and consultants together. We are excited to have Buzz Franchise Brands become part of the FranBridge Capital family. 

1851: What does FranBridge Capital plan to do next in the franchise space?

Pillat: FranBridge Capital is now raising its second round of funding and will be placing minority investments into operators of proven franchise concepts. We believe there is an opportunity in the franchise market for an alternative capital source, other than SBA/conventional loans.

Ostenson: Specifically, we are providing a different avenue of capital and equity for new franchisees. Our model allows investors to participate in franchising without having to operate a store or put all of their eggs in one basket.  

1851: Why did you pick Buzz Franchise Brands (Pool Scouts & Home Clean Heroes)? What excited you most about the potential?

Pillat: When we met with the Buzz Franchise Brands team, their leadership team was very impressive. We have a tremendous amount of respect for their CEO & President Kevin Wilson and his previous experience in investment in the franchising space. They also have a strong history of growing strong brands. What they did with Mosquito Joe* speaks for itself. 

However, one of the most encouraging results of this partnership was their transparency on the drivers of success from a financial point of view. They have a better grasp on their KPIs than most other franchise brands do. They know what their margins need to look like. 

Another highlight is that they are forward-thinking when it comes to technology. Oftentimes, tech is what sets home service brands apart. Everyone has had a negative experience with a home service brand and the Buzz Franchise Brands process does not allow for that to happen. Simply put, we love their systems. We look forward to executing their systems and maintaining the highest level of service in a market that is fragmented and historically unreliable.

Ostenson: We have observed that people are spending less on vacations and travel and spending more on their homes. It is a $600 billion market and we look forward to seeing continued growth in the years ahead. 

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Pillat: The goal is to successfully launch four Pool Scouts territories and six Home Clean Heroes territories within the next nine months. This will be a scaled roll out. The dream is to become a brand name in the Atlanta area for pool and maid services. As a private equity firm, we also want to return strong funds to our investors. One of the things that is near and dear to our heart at FranBridge Capital is to promote young and diverse leaders. We believe that giving young people the guardrails they need to be successful business owners and employees is incredibly important. We want to promote people through the system and rise into leadership roles. We will have brand managers for Pool Scouts and Home Clean Heroes that will allow them to serve as the CEO of their small business. 

1851: What value do you see your business providing to Atlanta? 

Pillat: Atlanta is a strong market for a couple of reasons. First, the city is growing rapidly and attracting top talent and big name brands. With the home services market being so fragmented, there is a massive opportunity within Atlanta to become the premier home service provider by leveraging technology to provide safe, punctual, and professional home services experiences. 

For Pool Scouts specifically, Atlanta is currently the #1 growing pool market in the nation according to the number of pool permits being issued. From a Home Clean Heroes perspective, it is a market with a lot of big homes. Many people in the Atlanta area use these types of home cleaning services, and we are excited to break through with Home Clean Heroes. Georgia is currently the fifth fastest-growing franchise state. The biggest thing in today’s environment is that we are creating jobs and economic opportunities to get people back on their feet. Our goal is to provide people with diverse backgrounds the opportunity to thrive within our growing organization.

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?


  1. Have a strong alignment with the leadership team. The leadership of a franchise is an organization you’ll spend the next 10 years working with and you have to be comfortable with this expertise and decision making.
  2. There are a lot of brands that have “processes”. There are few brands that have the systems and support to ensure that the processes are followed every time. We believe Buzz Franchise Brands has the right systems in place to operate successful businesses in each category they operate in.
  3. The Item 19 on FDD’s shows the expectations of financial performance. It is not about what is included, but what is not included. The transparency of Item 19 from Buzz Franchise Brands made us very comfortable and allowed us to predict returns for our investors.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.