I am a serial entrepreneur, adviser, and board member within the media, advertising, and technology industries. I am fascinated with the white-space that exists between the above industries and look for companies who try and bridge them together. Over the recent years, when someone asks me what I do, I say, “I’m the liaison between Silicon Valley/Alley and Madison Avenue.”
My belief is that 98% of new ideas aren’t really new; they are repackaged and spun differently to the marketplace. I’ve been through the first dot com wave and learned quite a few lessons and look forward to applying them to my latest endeavors.
Instead of just listing the companies I’ve been involved with over the past few years, I’ve written a description of them as well. If you have any questions about any of these companies (or worked there and want to say hi), feel free to drop me a line.
Mozilla: In December 2013, I joined the senior leadership team at the Mozilla Project, home to the Firefox browser and Firefox OS (mobile operating system) amongst many other exciting products and services. My bio and remit on the Mozilla Leadership page is here.
kbs+/The Media Kitchen: From 2007- Nov. 2013, I was the Chief Digital Media Officer at the New York based full service agency kbs+ which was wholly owned by MDC Partners. I was responsible for overseeing the entire digital media practice, client [digital] strategy, keeping on top of new technologies and trends, and exploring M&A opportunities with digital media companies. Some of our clients include (but not limited to) Armani Exchange, BNY Mellon, Giorgio Armani, Give Back Brands, Victoria Secret, PBS, PBS Kids, Sesame Workshop, Vanguard, The Daily (News Corp), and Windstream Communications.
Varick Media Management: In August of 2008, I pioneered the agency trading desk space and founded VMM. We built a technology capability within MDC Partners that allows us to deliver audience driven media for our clients. VMM currently has dozens of partnerships with inventory sources (i.e. Google, Yahoo!), data partners (i.e. Bizo, TargusInfo), technology (i.e. Demdex, Invite Media), and clients. Here’s a nice NYT article written about our launch at VMM and a recent video about what VMM actually does.
kbs+ Ventures: In January 2011, I launched the investment arm of kbs+ to focus on advertising and marketing technologies. The goal of kbs+ Ventures is to invest in strategic opportunities that benefit kbs+p, our clients, and our staff. While agencies are great at developing products and solutions internally, they need to keep their head up and be aware of the entire ecosystem around them. Ventures invests into the external ecosystem to make sure that we’re investing in what might be the future of the agency. In 2013, we released a book called Creative Entrepreneurship that we believe will help entrepreneurs. You can download the book here. You can also watch a video about what kbs+ Ventures does and why we think we’re special.
IGA Worldwide, inGamePartners LLC, IGA Partners: IGA was a brainchild of myself and a few advertising gurus as we came together to revolutionize the way brands reach millions of consumers… through video games. This was an inefficient and untapped market before we setup IGA Worldwide and now, we’ve added technology, research, analysis, processes, and value to this industry to grow it substantially. The company has over $40+ million in venture capital funding from the likes of NBC Universal, Intel Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Easton Capital, KTB Ventures, and DN Capital.
Herman blackbook: Launched Hb in late 2008 as an investments and consulting vehicle to early stage startups who are having trouble bridging the gap between innovation and adoption. In early January 2009, we launched our first “fund,” the New Platforms Fund which received great coverage including the NY Observer, TechCrunch, Mashable, Cnet, and many other mainstream media properties. The goal of the fund is to make “ignition” investments into napkin/alpha stage ideas that build off of existing platforms such as Twitter, Boxee, Appnexus, Chumby, iPhone, and others.
I always like keeping my ear to the ground in the entrepreneurial scene so I do some investing and consulting with companies that I find challenging and fascinating. Below are some companies that I’ve been involved with over the years.
Adaptly, Yieldbot, PlaceIQ, Crowdtwist, SocialFlow, Cross Pixel, awe.sm (acquired by Unified, 2014), Fast Society/Cameo (acquired by Vimeo, 2014), Shopflick (acquired by Sugar Inc., 2009), SellerCrowd, Nuzzel, StageTEN, and SeedCX. I invested in Path101 and Rewind.me, both of which were spun down.
Multiple Venture Capital Funds
I advise and analyze deal flow and add my 2 cents on current deals. I’ve sat in on partner meetings, given structured POVs, and have been asked to sit with potential companies for strategic advice.
Top Tier Investment Bank
Acting as a consultant to the Interactive and media deal-flow. I’ve been tapped for my involvement in the entrepreneurial scene and knowledge of what’s “next” in digital. My analysis is used in sourcing new clients in evolving sectors.
Feel free to contact me to see how we can work together…
Awards & Honors
• Power List: Designers and Brand Geniuses (Gotham Magazine)
• Top 100 Global Corporate Investors (Global Corporate Venturing)
• MediaPost Top Agency 2012 (Media Magazine)
• Best Agency for Integrated Media 2012 (iMedia Connection)
• 2012 New York Early Stage Angel 100 (Business Insider)
• #36 on 2011 Silicon Alley 100 (Business Insider)
• 2011 OMMA Magazine All Stars (MediaPost)
• iMedia Class of 2010 Marketing Innovators
• BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs
• AlwaysOn Top Media Company
• Avenue-A|Razorfish Breakthrough Company of the Year
• Sony’s #1 Wired Student in North America
From time to time, my work appears in textbooks on marketing and advertising as well, as, books sold in-store and online for inspiration in entrepreneurship, marketing, and technology.
• 2013: kbs+ Publishing, Creative Entrepreneurship. 254 pages. Frameworks on innovation, venture capital, and entrepreneurship.
• 2011: Sellers Publishing, Creating a Bu$iness You’ll Love. Contributed a chapter on the topic of raising [venture] capital.
• 2008: Self Published, Coloring Outside the Lines. 142 pages. Topics ranging from starting a company, technology, and digital media.
A little more personal…
Favorite Current TV Shows: Homeland, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Chasing Classic Cars
Favorite Sports: Golf, Hockey, Tennis, and Skiing
Favorite Food: Sushi (Blue Ribbon, 15 East)
Favorite Video Game: Oregon Trail, Top Spin 2, Castlevania, Madden 2007
Favorite Book: Startup by Jerry Kaplan
Favorite Movie: The Original Muppet Movie
Favorite Bands: Dave Matthews Band, The Beatles, The Doors, Paul Simon, Powderfinger (too many to list)
Sports Teams: NJ Devils, NY Yankees, NY Knicks, NY Giants
Most Embarassing Moment Ever: Tripping on stage over a microphone cord while launching inGamePartners at the Jacob Javits Center in NY at a press conference.
- My experience with Apple started with a Apple IIe, Macintosh LC, Quadra 630, PowerMac 6100, PowerMac 8600, G3 (blue and white), Powerbook G3 (Pismo), iBook G4, MacBook, iPhone, MacBook Pro (Intel), iPad, iPad Mini, Macbook Air, Apple TV… I’m a huge fan.
- I’m one of the few guys in this world who love buying clothes and fashion
- I’ve always wanted to be a handbag designer
- I study trends and read voraciously about how different industries formed, as you can only predict the future when you understand the past
- I love art: Katrin Fridricks, Peter Tunney, Keith Haring, Bruce Ricker, Evyind Earle, and Yobel Parra rank high on my list and isometric art like eboy.
- If I could be anywhere in the world… would be in a mountainside village covered in snow (doesn’t matter where)
- One day I will work for an advertising agency in their emerging technologies and trends department (currently pursuing)
- I love board games and Jenga
If you’re in and around NYC, and want to get together to talk about business, advertising, technology or anything else that we have in common, feel free to reach out.