New York is an advertising town. Always has been, and the way that the AdTech companies here are changing up the game, it may well always will be.
And lest we forget, a number of the New York based adtech pioneers of the Web 1.0 days are some of the most prominent – and active – adtech investors of today.
But this isn’t about them. This is about the people who are pushing the platforms and brands and the envelope right now. Get to know who they are and be nice. These may be the investors of tomorrow who just might write that check that funds the Big Idea.
Founder’s note: AlleyWatch does not have a financial relationship with any of those included. This list is in no particular order nor is it a ranking. In fact, the =RAND() function on excel was used to determine order.
Sean Foster, CEO, Crowdtap
From all indications, Sean Foster is the industry’s go-to guy when it comes to consumer ecommerce and marketing, which explains why he was recently tapped for the top spot at Crowdtap, the SaaS social influence marketing platform that makes it easy for marketers to influence the conversation around their brand by inspiring a crowd of consumers to create quality content, drive unmatched social activity and provide real-time insights.
He has a proven track record of building great consumer experiences, developing thriving communities and scaling successful organizations. At dLife, he successfully transitioned the business from a media company to a branded products and services company, ultimately resulting in the sale of the company in late 2013.
Foster was responsible for a $120mm consumer e-commerce business as President, Online of Avon Products, Inc. He was also the CMO for The Gilt Groupe, where he delivered hyper sales growth and led the development of the flash sales model. In addition, Sean served as the Vice President of Marketing for Weight Watchers International, responsible for all US, UK, Canada, Germany and Australia sales and marketing.
Amazing track record, but as we said – he’s your go-to guy.
Keep up with Sean:
Sloan Gaon, CEO, PulsePoint
Sloan Gaon’s experience: end to end operational management; M&A experience, start-ups, competitive analysis and strategy, term sheet negotiation, due diligence, capital raising, post merger integration, sales management and business development. A senior deal-making executive with board level experience, and extensive strategic and operational experience at three public (NASDAQ) companies and two hyper growth start-ups, Sloan Gaon is Chief Executive Officer at PulsePoint, Inc., after having previously served as CEO at CONTEXTWEB, Inc., which merged with Datran Media to create PulsePoint. Prior to joining PulsePoint, he served as CEO of Dotmenu, which was acquired by GrubHub.
Is someone keeping a tech family tree?
One of his pet peeves: pizzas with not enough cheese on one side because the delivery guy carried the pie on a slant, a common cause of cheese creepage and an unbalanced final product.
Keep up with Sloan:
Image credit: Pulsepoint
Erika Nardini, CMO, AOL Advertising
As AOL Advertising’s CMO, Erika Nardini leads the company’s entire Marketing Solutions operation, which spans creative services, product marketing, co-creation and program development. She also continues to oversee all internal sales communications and B2B trade marketing, brand development and partner experiences. How does she do it? She herself will tell you that she considers impatience a virtue – and just one of the traits that has helped her to shoot to the top of the marketing ladder of one of the world’s leading brands in such short order.
She also collects LL Bean tote bags because – ok, you got us there.
Keep up with Erika:
Rebecca Lieb, Digital Advertising & Media Analyst, Altimeter Group
Analyst, columnist, author, public speaker, and editor, the articulate and ever elegant Rebecca Lieb has been myopically focused on digital advertising, media and content since acquiring a 14.4 Kbps modem in the early ‘90s. And given her energy and the copious amount of content she generates with an absolute laser focus, you wonder where she finds the bandwidth!
Keep up with Rebecca:
Image credit: @Econsultancy
David Hendricks, COO, Live Intent
David Henricks joined Live Intent’s founding team as its first COO and CFO before the Series A, when the company was five people around a conference table trying to figure out what to do next. That’s OK. With his background in sales, strategy, marketing, fundraising, recruiting, PR, AdTech, writing, social media, operations, email marketing and client services, he was probably at least four of those original 12 people around that table. We know early stage: everyone wears at least several hats. He’s used to it: he’s a self-described early to mid-stage startup executive who helps companies go from $0 revenue to scale.
Oh, and they did figure it out, by the way.
He also plays a blue Stratocaster, with a whammy bar. Everyone needs an outlet.
Keep up with David:
Image credit: LinkedIn
Joe Apprendi, Co-Founder and CEO, Collective, Inc.
The visionary driving force behind Collective, Inc., Apprendi is a recognized marketing thought leader, with over two decades of experience as an entrepreneur and investor in digital ventures. His background reads like a who’s who of New York adtech since the Web 1.0 days (and in no particular order): Falk eSolutions. Eyeblaster™. K2 Design. Klipmart. 24/7 Media (which morphed into 24/7 Real Media). So it comes as no surprise that he made Business Insider’s list of Technology Leaders in 2011, and was also a past recipient of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year® Award for Metro NY. He’s also an investor at Revel Partners, where he continues to invest in digital media.
Keep up with Joe:
Image credit: Collective
Evan Simeone, VP Engineering at PubMatic
Evan Simeone has been Vice President of Programmatic Direct & Engineering at PubMatic, Inc. since June 2014 – a position that was created for him. His charge: will lead the company’s move into automated guaranteed and programmatic direct, a complement to the company’s ongoing focus on the automation of advertising transactions via real-time bidding (RTB).
No sweat. he began his career as a Java and mobile developer for companies that include Rational Software and Palm, and holds two patents: (Notification infrastructure for sending device-specific wireless notifications and Apparatus and method for exchanging data between two devices). Fine, but did you know that he’s also a fine artist and lists as his influencers Magritte, Andy Warhol, and Genghis Khan?
Keep up with Evan:
Image credit: EvanSimeone.com
Eric Franchi, Co-founder and Chief Evangelist, Undertone
Eric Franchi is co-founder of the adtech company, Undertone, where he leads all thought leadership, and industry and media relations. Franchi has been featured in publications including Ad Age, Adweek and The Wall Street Journal, on Fox Business News and is invited to speak on stages worldwide, including IAB MIXX, Advertising Week and Cannes.
Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Publisher Development, responsible for managing and growing the company’s extensive portfolio of premium publishers. Prior to that, he was the company’s first Senior Vice President of Sales, growing Undertone’s US sales team and establishing relationships with key agencies and marketers.
We know startups – one can wear any number of hats, at any given time.
Franchi also serves on the boards of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 212NYC and The Governor’s Island Alliance.
Fun fact: Franchi is a lifelong strength training enthusiast and a Spartan Racer.
Keep up with Eric:
Eric Berry, Co-Founder and CEO, TripleLift
Someone had to do something about those horrid banner ad and hats off to TripleLift – which is why they’re a must on this list.
CEO and Co-Founder of TripleLift, Eric is building the company to be the leader in beautiful, highly-visual native ads.
He’s definitely a triple-threat. Ready for this? Prior to TripleLift, he was a leader on the client services and product architecture teams at AppNexus. Prior to that, he was an M&A attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
Oh, and he received bachelors and masters degrees in computer science from MIT, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
He’s also a stand-up comedian. No, that’s a fact, not a punch line.
Keep up with Eric at:
Image credit: AboutMe
Brian O’Kelley, Co-founder and CEO, AppNexus
It was 2012 when Brian O’Kelley made Crain’s list of 40 Under 40 (he’d actually still be eligible for the list today), having co-founded and built online ad exchange AppNexus into a world leader in real-time display advertising, offering a highly scalable ad technology platform upon which other companies build their ad businesses.
But never mind 40 Under 40. O’Kelley is also credited with having created the first lucrative ad exchange, as CTO for Right Media, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2007 for $850 million, at which point he himself became a millionaire – and he was under the age of 30.
O’Kelley is also an active investor in and early-stage advisor to dozens of adtech companies, including Invite Media (bought by Google), MediaMath, Media6Degrees and Solve Media.
Oh, and in case you missed it, AppNexus just raised a $60 Million Series E.
Fun fact: He used to be in a band.
Keep up with Brian:
Image credit: CC by IAB UK
Joe Zawadzki, CEO, MediaMath
MediaMath founder and CEO Joe Zawadzki not only pioneered the first demand-side platform in the online marketing industry: he’s an active New York angel investor, with a special focus on adtech, of course. With his deep experience in audience targeting and optimization, ad networks and exchanges, and real-time, Zawadzki is regularly invited to speak at major industry conferences and major events.
As founder, president and chairman of Poindexter Systems / [x+1], he incubated Right Media (which was bought by Yahoo!), and as managing member of Occam’s Razor, he shaped AOL’s yield management and DoubleClick’s buy-side optimization strategy.
Zawadzki holds several patents in the area of online methods for dynamic segmentation and content presentation. Impressive enough, but equally amazing: his children, Dune and Jack, were born on the summer and winter solstices, respectively.
Keep up with Joe:
Image credit: Fox Business
Andy Monfried, Founder and CEO, Lotame
Andy Monfried is the founder and CEO of Lotame, the industry’s leading data management platform (DMP), helping publishers, marketers and agencies drive Maximum Audience Impact and maximizing the way they collect, unify, protect and activate audience data.
Or as they put it, they use Big Data to find Smart Data.
Having founded the company literally from nothing, under Monfried’s leadership, Lotame has grown into a 75+ person company with offices in New York, Maryland, Singapore, and London, and over fifty platform clients. There’s no doubt that his company is making a difference in the ad world, but if you’d take the time to check out his blog, you’ll understand that for Monfried, it’s all about the journey.
And the music. Then again, what is life (and advertising) without a soundtrack?
Keep up with Andy
Image credit: @Rob_McCracken
Noah Brier, Co-founder Percolate
Noah Brier, CEO of Percolate, has already made our list of 21 Rising Stars in Enterprise Technology. As it should be: the company has built a content marketing platform that’s already being used by some of the world’s top brands including Unilever, GE, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and MasterCard. And say what you will, but we’d all be nowhere without content.
Brier has been named to Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, a “social media innovator” by BusinessWeek, and sits on the World Economic Forum‘s Global Agenda Council on social media.
And he and co-founder James Gross came up with the idea over coffee. How more New York can you get?
Keep up with Noah:
Susan Borst, Director of Industry Initiatives, IAB
Susan Borst is Director of Industry Initiatives at the IAB, heading up the Social Media B2B B2B and Games member committees, and the newly formed Content Marketing and Native Advertising Task Forces. The newly-formed task force will identify key challenges and opportunities for growth facing interactive advertising and its technology platforms and digital segments such as social media, mobile, digital video, search, interactive TV, audio, mobile, games, et al, since we never know what’s coming down the pike next.
Fun fact about Borst: She’s half Icelandic, but she loves Swedish Fish.
Keep up with Susan:
Image credit: AboutMe
David Berkowitz, CMO, MRY
Yes, we remember when MRY was MR Youth and when the name ‘David Berkowitz’ meant serial killer Son of Sam.
Now it’s MRY, to you and who, in online advertising, marketing and social media circles, doesn’t know the agency’s Chief Marketing Officer. It was Berkowitz who launched Mobile Week and the world’s first Vineathon, and MRY has been named MediaPost’s Social Agency of the Year.
Previously, he spent seven years at agency 360i, where he co-founder of his agency’s social media practice in 2006 and led 360i’s Startup Outlook initiative – a guide for how brands can evaluate startups and incorporate them into their digital programs.
Berkowitz has contributed more than 400 columns to MediaPost, currently writes regularly for Ad Age’s Digital Next, has contributed articles to both the Economist and Mashable and still finds time to pen MarketersStudio.com, which he has been publishing since 2005.
He has spoken at more than 225 events globally, including SXSW, CES, iMedia, and Think Mobile, along with guest lectures at Yale, MIT, Google, and Coca-Cola. He has even delivered the keynote address at his alma mater Binghamton University’s Fall Commencement – an honor for any alum. His featured talks around the world include events in Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, Singapore, and Turkey.
Keep up with David:
Image credit: David Berkowitz