Name: Darren Herman
Location: New York, USA
Email: Please use the form on this site (here) to prevent spiders from spamming
AIM Name: darrenjayherman (I rarely use AIM anymore, too much of a distraction)
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.
kbs+/The Media Kitchen: I’m currently the Chief Digital Media Officer at the New York based full service agency kbs+ and are wholly owned by my friends at MDC Partners. I’m 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, 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.
MyPhotoAlbum (FortuneCity): I was brought into FortuneCity to transform it from a large web hosting company into a consumer oriented play. After analyzing the assets and putting together different opportunities, we decided to incubate an online photo album service that wasn’t primarily about printing photos as that particular market at the time was crowded. I left MyPhotoAlbum when we reached a certain user base and went on to pursue IGA.
Dynamify Productions & FanList: After spending 6 months touring with a national touring band, I realized there was a huge market niche for bands who were stuck in a rut between major labels and playing independently. We established a booking and marketing company and acquired Fanlist during the existence of the company. I was fortunate to speak at many different industry events such as SXSW, CMJ Music Conference, and many others on topics ranging from digital distribution to touring and management. In just over two years, we built a solid client roster including artists from most major labels and over 20 major independent labels.
iComputerServices LLC: iCS was the first company I had started and still exists today. Under ICS, we developed numerous websites, applications, services, and other computer projects for companies ranging from top beverage companies to large consumer products companies. Global Web Space, a web hosting company grew out of ICS to provide premium quality web hosting services for our clients. GWS grew to host thousands of clients and was sold in 2001. TerminalX also grew out of ICS to provide a revolutionary game serving platform for top tier games such as CounterStrike. TerminalX was sold in 2002.
I always like keeping my ear to the ground in the entrepreneurial scene so I do some consulting with companies that I find challenging and fascinating. Below are some companies that I’ve been involved with over the years.
Adaptly – http://www.adapt.ly
I’m an early investor and official board observer thru kbs+p Ventures helping Adaptly scale their business within the social DSP space.
I’m an early investor in Yieldbot thru kbs+p Ventures and a big fan of the space they are innovating in.
PlaceIQ – http://www.placeiq.com
Early investor in PlaceIQ thru kbs+p Ventures helping the company position themselves for taking on advertising dollars.
Crowdtwist - http://www.crowdtwist.com
Early investor in Crowdtwist thru kbs+p Ventures helping the company expand and build their social loyalty programs.
Rewind.me – http://www.rewind.me
Early investor in Rewind.me, part of the NY TechStars program. They help consumers unlock the value in their past by making their historical social media driven actions available to marketers for rewards.
Cross Pixel Media – http://www.crosspixel.net
Early investor in the only fully transparent private 3rd party data exchange.
Shopflick – http://www.shopflick.com (acquired by Sugar Inc. 2009)
Working with the founding team and c-level executives, adding input on the initial business plan and fundraising strategy. Formal advisor. Have made introductions for the team to leading funding sources.
Lotame – http://www.lotame.com
Working with the CEO of the company to provide guidance towards the advertising industry and helped with early round of fundraising.
Path101 – http://www.path101.com / Company Spun Down in 2010
Early stage investor in their organization. Path101 helps people navigate their careers by community powered career discovery.
Haystack Media, Inc. – http://www.haystack.com / Engagement Finished
What Oprah does for books, and Ebert does for movies, Haystack does for music. These guys get the music world… and I’m proud to be advising on overall strategy and business development primarily for leading advertisers.
Revtrax – http://www.revtrax.com / Engagement Finished
Media mix optimizing start-up with focus on consumer rewards and merchant promotional advertising. I have been focused on working with the founders and c-team on business plan analysis, funding strategy, and on-going support.
eBay Keywords – http://www.ebaykeywords.com / Engagement Finished
Why not allow auction listers the ability to advertise their auctions throughout the eBay network of sites? That’s what we did and I worked with the senior team to develop and roll-out this service and manage the pivotal first few days of implementation.
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: Entourage, House of Lies, Boardwalk Empire, The Office, Family Guy, Mecum Auto Auctions, and Sports Center
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, Three Days Grace, 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, Apple TV… I’m a huge fan.
- I love to travel and I’m fairly loyal to JetBlue as I met the love of my life on a flight out to Las Vegas…
- 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, 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.