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Who We Are

Ambition. IQ. Heart.

We’re Building the Best Network of Digital Talent.

Our name honors the spirit of exploration.

Those who set sail, uncertain of the final destination. Those who took the risk when they could have stayed ashore.

This innovative spirit is what’s required to navigate the ever-changing tide of digital marketing.

Change strengthens you because it presents new opportunities. Winning in digital businesses requires a bold vision… and bold moves.

Meet Our Team

3S Partners

We are entrepreneurs with deep experience building digitally driven businesses.

Three Ships is a collection of businesses, each of which is led by a CEO and management team who all have a significant ownership stake in the business they work on.

The Three Ships Partner team serves each business leader with the goal of accelerating their business’ success.

Zach Clayton

Founder & CEO

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Aarti Sura

Chief Operating Officer

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John Clayton

Chief Growth Officer

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Walker Fuller

Chief Financial Officer

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Spotlight On 3S Partner Team

Casey Head

Operating Partner

As Operating Partner, Casey weaves together two important threads of her life: a love of teaching and deep digital marketing experience. Casey brings a unique perspective to the team, having spent the majority of her career in performance marketing roles herself.

Casey’s passion for teaching goes back to her time in Teach for America, where she served in the corps as a fourth grade teacher after graduating from Vanderbilt University.

After her time with TFA, Casey joined Red Ventures where she led a number of initiatives across many business units. Starting as an Associate, she worked her way up to Vice President in six years – spending time across almost all facets of a performance marketing funnel. After getting hands-on experience leading teams in SEO, digital experience, and paid media, she ultimately served as General Manager of two lead generation businesses in financial services and education.

Matthew Mills

VP of Finance

As VP of Finance, Matthew works closely with leaders across Three Ships businesses on strategic finance, corporate development, financial planning, and growth initiatives. In addition, Matthew spends his time developing deeply researched strategies to support future Three Ships ventures.

Prior to joining Three Ships, Matthew served as Director of Finance at Snap One, a manufacturer and distributor of smart living solutions for homes and businesses, where his responsibilities spanned investor relations, corporate development, and FP&A. Before Snap One, Matthew spent several years in investment banking at Jefferies in the Consumer & Retail Group. Matthew is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, twin daughters, and two dogs. In his (limited) free time, he is an avid golfer and aspiring pickleball player.

Molly O’Connor

President of 3S Community Impact

As President of 3S Community Impact, Molly is designing and operating a community impact arm of Three Ships that models the discipline, focus, and rigor of our high-growth businesses.

Molly was previously a Managing Director at Three Ships and led the Home Team from 2017-2020. During this time, she helped usher in our performance-based business model in the home services and auto verticals. Prior to Three Ships, Molly was a global corporate attorney at the Raleigh office of K&L Gates and the New York City office of Milbank. She holds both her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University.

Molly is passionate about our local community. She was a former board member and served as Vice President and Secretary of Preservation Durham, Durham’s non-profit historic preservation society. She was the recipient of the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award for supporting low-income micro-entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations.

Peter Kerr

VP of Corporate Development

Peter is a dynamic leader with a passion for driving growth and innovation at Three Ships. As VP of Corporate Development, Peter thrives on venturing outside the building to identify and capitalize on external growth opportunities that create value for our portfolio companies.

During his tenure at Three Ships, Peter has been instrumental in building and scaling our tuck-in M&A program, acquiring over 15 websites and other digital assets since joining the firm. He has also played a pivotal role in developing strategic partnerships with several major media companies that have helped fuel our growth trajectory across the portfolio.

After receiving his MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Peter amassed a wealth of experience in business development and strategy across the technology, marketing and legal industries. Prior to Three Ships, he served as a Director on the business development team at Vericast, where he spearheaded numerous data and product partnerships for their industry-leading MarTech platform and supported other M&A efforts across the business.

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Our History

October 2009
Three Ships is founded as a digital marketing agency at the nadir of the Great Recession.
January 2013
We launch our first product, Navigator, a software platform to win organic search.
April 2014
We invest in our first joint venture with Lavalier to build the country’s leading jewelry insurer.
December 2015
We purchase a new 25,000 square foot “port” on Oberlin Road in Raleigh.
March 2016
We spin out Navigator product into independent software company, Demand Signals.
October 2016
TRANZACT acquires Demand Signals to spearhead its digital transformation.
January 2017
Lavalier is acquired by publicly traded insurance company WR Berkley.
August 2017
We launch Home Solutions to make home services experiences better for everyone.
September 2017
We launch Mattress Advisor, a review website for DTC mattresses.
May 2020
Our mattress and sleep properties combine to form Pillar4.
January 2021
We launch 3S Health focused on aging and longevity. After extraordinary growth, it merges into Pillar4.
June 2021
We launch Three Ships UK to help UK consumers make purchasing decisions with confidence.
July 2022
We launch Stacksphere to help CTOs and businesses navigate business, SaaS, and software solutions.

Our Foundations

What We Do

We build world-class teams with the digital edge to create the next generation of market-leading businesses.

Our Strategy

Why We Do It

We help leaders unlock their full potential through the journey of building high-growth, healthy businesses.

Our Purpose

How We Win

We create deeply researched strategies, build high-performing leadership teams, and find breakthroughs for customers.

Our Value Drivers