Experience and Examples

Helping Tech Startups Get Going, Get Momentum, Grow and Exit

Experience and Examples

Below is a description of my background and experience followed by some short examples of companies I have run and the primary situation(s) I faced, how it was handled, and the outcome. And below that is a full list of companies I have been involved with one way or another and their businesses.
Silicon Valley 1998-2017: Parlayed prior operating, data analytics, marketing and advertising/media expertise into a series of Internet startup CEO positions from the early Internet until current, accumulating a vast array of experience covering both B2B and B2C products and services. Redefined the core Internet advertising model and metrics (Flycast Communications Inc.) to norms that are still the standard today. “Sweet spot” is growth-stage companies, scaling, and turnarounds (in business metrics, culture, etc.) with companies ranging from 40 to 200+ employees. Resulted in 1 IPO and 5 exits, building almost
– $3B in investor enterprise value and raised over $230 million of capital.

– Chicago 1981-1996: 15 years as part of the initial Management Team of IRI (Information Resources), growing company from startup to $300 million in revenue to become the leading marketing services company in the US. Pioneered, disrupted and transformed CPG behavioral data collection and analysis industry from manual to fully digital covering consumer purchase behavior, promotions, advertising and media. Also provided “cloud-based” data storage and online client/server analytics. Joined as VP Marketing and Sales, exited as CEO-North America ($300MM, 4,000 employees)

– Areas of expertise include traditional and digital media and advertising, consumer marketing services, behavioral data and analytics, mobile apps and payments, ecommerce, extensive experience in CPG. Also enterprise software and SaaS. Roles have included domestic and international (Europe, Asia), start-ups and public companies. Proven ability to quickly recognize issues and opportunities, adapt and/or pivot rapidly, identify and assess strategic and tactical options, set strategy, manage complex operations, attract exceptional talent and build great teams, produce results and drive performance to achieve investor goals. Extensive public speaking and media relations throughout career.

 

Mobeam, Inc. – President and CEO, 2015-2017 (early stage pre-revenue)
Business: Mobile wallet couponing technology to enable smartphones to transmit bar codes to laser scanners. Embedded in over 500 million Samsung smartphones.

Main challenge: Develop and roll out a digital couponing app to the CPG industry to disrupt the $12B coupon industry.

Outcome: Signed joint development and revshare agreement with Samsung. Built app, obtained CPG industry authorization and support of issuers of 70% of all coupons. Projected revenue of $100MM in 2-3 years. However, Samsung HQ in Korea had a change of priorities and put the release on hold indefinitely. Decisions on launch timing were out of our hands, and Samsung chose to acquire the company.

 

Brand.net – Interim CEO, 2012 (growth stage, $20M revenue)
Business: Digital ad network focusing on Brand vs. direct response advertising.

Main challenge: Imminent acquisition by Valassis was cancelled by buyer and Founder/CEO left. Hired as Interim CEO to keep execs and key employees from leaving, re-engage buyer and complete the exit.

Outcome: Retained management team while negotiating with buyer. Secured new term sheet and completed acquisition within 60 days.

 

SocialShield – President and CEO, 2011-2012 (early stage)
Business: Parental monitoring and protection software optimized for social networks.

Main challenge: Asked by founder to stabilize company, get product to general release, assess alternatives, and determine whether to stay independent or seek exit.

Outcome: Restructured and stabilized organization, product earned PC Magazine Editors Choice and Product of the Year awards. Recommended exit to board. Secured exit to German security software company Avira.

 

Offerpal/Tapoy – President and CEO, 2009-2011 (pre-IPO, revenue $100MM +)
Business: Monetization of Facebook apps and games, discovery and monetization of mobile apps and games.

Main challenge: Hired to lead IPO when Offerpal was growing with over $100MM of social network revenue. FB switched revenue model from apps to advertising thus terminating our business opportunity.

Outcome: Pivoted company from social to mobile apps and acquired two-person startup Tapjoy. Renamed company to Tapjoy, rolled out services to mobile app developers, and within 18 months replaced social network based revenue with mobile app based revenue. Company today is leader in the field and continuing to grow.

 

Jingle Networks – President and CEO, 2006-2008 (early stage)
Business: Pioneered in-call advertising for call centers and 411, launching 1-800-FREE411

Main challenge: Grow user base, hire rest of management team, raise growth funding, develop advertiser partnerships, optimize product and business model economics.

Outcome: Hired CRO and CFO. Raised $75M from Comcast, Hearst, Goldman Sachs, and Flybridge Capital. Established ad distribution partnership with Yellow Pages. Proved product through partnership with Google, succeeded in achieving 65% gross margin and grew user base to 20 million callers per month. Acquired by Marchex.

 

Wine.com – President and CEO, 2004-2005 (growth stage)
Business: World’s largest online wine and gift retailer with interstate home delivery.

Main challenge: Secure growth funding, hire additional management team, develop logistics and distribution model within interstate alcohol transportation laws, grow revenue through distribution partnerships and consumer advertising.

Outcome: Raised $20 million in Series C funding. Hired CFO, EVP Bizdev, EVP Logistics and Operations. Solved distribution logistics model. Secured retail sales partnerships with Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Amazon (Amazon Wines).

 

Placeware – President and CEO, 2002-2003 (growth stage, pre IPO, revenue $50MM +)
Business: Web Conferencing and Virtual Meeting Rooms.
Investors: Scale Ventures, Interwest Partners, 3i.

Main challenge: Re-organize for faster product development, more aggressive sales growth. Prepare company for IPO.

Outcome: Hired EVP Product Marketing and EVP Sales/Bizdev. Moved product roadmap from engineering to Product Marketing. Restructured sales department with new materials and incentives, both direct enterprise sales and inside sales. Opened channel sales partnership with MCI Worldcom. Shifted company priority from product development to revenue growth. Established renewed revenue growth. Approached and acquired by Microsoft.

 

Flycast Communications – Chairman, President and CEO, 1998-2000 (early/growth stage)
Business: Early Internet advertising network and exchange.
Investors: Bessemer Ventures, Charles River Ventures, St. Paul Capital

Main challenge: Company was not taking off. Hired to reposition company and business model, establish growth and market share, and lead company to eventual IPO or exit.

Outcome: Hired EVP Sales, CFO. Completely repositioned company and GTM model by emphasizing Direct Marketing Model and ROI, deployed large direct sales force to call on brands and agencies. Grew revenue from under $1MM to $40MM in 1 year. Raised $20MM mezzanine financing from strategics and VCs, let IPO for $500MM valuation. Sold company 1 year later to CMGI for $2.3 billion.

 

Non-CEO roles
Aginity: Enterprise analytics management. Board Chairman. In growth stage.
Dynamic Signal: Enterprise App for engaging with employees. Angel Investor. In growth stage.
Social Shield: Parental monitoring of Social Networks. Board Member. Acquired by Avira.
Tapjoy: Mobile app discovery and monetization. Board Member, Board Exec Chairman. Industry leader.
Playdom: Game and app developer. Angel investor. Acquired by Disney.
Adify: Ad Networks for verticals. Angel investor. Acquired by Cox Communications.
Comscore: Data and analytics for digital advertising and commerce. Founding Board Member. IPO, leads industry.
Shelfbucks: CPG merchandising optimization. Board member, investor, Mentor. In growth stage.
Telephia: Cellular network market share and performance tracking. Angel investor. Acquired by Nielsen.
Qik: Real time videocalls via smartphones. Angel investor. Acquired by Skype.
Bizrate: Ecommerce consumer satisfaction measurement. Angel Investor, Board Member. Acquired by Time, Inc.
Shopzilla: Shopping site aggregator and promotion distribution. Angel Investor. Acquired by Scripps.
Responsys: Email marketing. Board Member and Angel Investor. Acquired by Oracle.

Other
Guest graduate school lecturer at UCLA, Purdue, Northwestern, University of Chicago Booth.