XenoPsi’s three-part formula challenges industry norms and scales brands.

XenoPsi’s three-part formula challenges industry norms and scales brands.

Inc 5000 | November 17 2022

MichaelAaron Flicker and a high school classmate started XenoPsi—which means “discovery of the unknown” in Latin—as an internet computer programming company in 1997. Bankrolled with a $100 check from Flicker’s grandmother, the business evolved into a privately held brand incubator and venture capital firm. It has provided marketing expertise to more than 100 client partners across a diverse set of industries.

Flicker attributes the success of XenoPsi, which makes its debut on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies this year, to three key business strategies. First, the company’s business model aligns its financial success with that of its clients. Second, it employs behavioral science in its brand building. And third, it has launched multiple independent operating companies to better serve individual industries.


Flicker says the idea of hourly billing by businesses like marketing and advertising agencies never made sense to him. Doing so incentivizes padding hours or working slower to earn more.

XenoPsi has opted instead for arrangements that build true partnership with clients, such as revenue-shares, equity-based agreements, and other innovative payment models.

“We put skin in the game,” Flicker says. “Which means we win only when our clients are successful.”

XenoPsi also launches and operates its own brands, such as a compression sock company called Wellow, which is a prime example of its behavioral science expertise. For instance, the name choice applies sound symbolism: Wellow evokes likeability and ease. The company has used dozens of behavioral science insights to spur its growth, resulting in more than $1 million in sock sales in its first seven months. In August 2022, XenoPsi also launched the Consumer Behavior Lab to further bring behavioral science into the United States to help brands make their marketing and media more effective.


The third ingredient in XenoPsi’s recipe for suc- cess is launching a portfolio of wholly owned companies doing business in areas ranging from alcoholic beverage marketing to political cam- paign consulting.

With headquarters in New York City and a second office in Washington, D.C., XenoPsi has just over 100 team members spread throughout 14 countries and 35 cities. Flicker notes that the company’s international makeup is also central to its success.

“Having people connect from all over the world makes us a stronger, smarter, more agile firm that builds brands and sells products for our clients,” he says

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