5 Reasons Why We Hired Jonty Kelt as CEO to Continue Onswipe’s Rapid Growth
You’ve likely read the news that I’ve made the exciting decision to have my longtime friend and mentor, Jonty Kelt, take over as CEO while I take on the role of Chief Marketing Officer to focus on communications, marketing, and design. I wanted to take a few minutes to explain the decision and why the Onswipe team is excited to be partnering with Jonty to continue accelerating our rapid growth that includes 300% year over year pageview growth and having premium brands like American Express, Home Depot, VH1, Pepsi, and many more driving our sales to double every quarter.
An operator that can continue our rapid growth as the dominant publishing and monetization platform for the mobile web
We’ve grown our audience 300% in less than a year to become the largest publishing platform on the iPad and expect to continue this rapid growth. We’re not aiming for something small and our mission has always been to build a DoubleClick-sized company for the post-PC era. Managing this type of growth requires a certain operational skillset. At DoubleClick, Jonty built their International search technology business into a $650 million dollar a year in media spend, servicing clients in 28 countries, through its acquisition by Google. More recently, Jonty was co-founder and CEO of Group Commerce, which he grew into a company that helped publishers generate new revenue streams from their audiences, through its merger with Nimble Commerce to create a company generating hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue annually in 14 countries. Jonty has the right skillset and experience to manage and grow Onswipe.
A partner in crime that we trust and respect to round out an all star executive team
I first met Jonty over two years ago at a Yankees baseball game that was arranged for a close group of CEOs and founders. I was green at the time and as we were starting to hire our first wave of employees, I asked my new Kiwi friend for some advice on how to deal with growth. At Group Commerce he went through a growth spurt of his own. What was just as interesting was Jonty’s experiences at Doubleclick. We instantly hit it off and we kept in touch over the years. When I made the decision to step aside, Alex at Spark Capital and myself put together a list of candidates. Jonty was at the top of both our lists and we both began to work our asses off to get him to come on board as CEO. Like Onswipe, Group Commerce and Jonty were backed by the team at Spark Capital. Spark has backed us since we were a demo, a pitch deck, and an idea – having their vote of confidence to work with Jonty again goes a long way in my book. Jonty gets to take the helm and lead an amazing executive team we’ve brought on with Rich, Jared, and Paul. A startup’s biggest asset is its team and Jonty not only has an an all-star executive team to continue Onswipe’s rapid growth, but also our extremely talented and committed wider team of technology and business staff.
Deep experience in building a company at the intersection of Publishing and Advertising
Publishing and monetizing the mobile web is both a huge painpoint and opportunity for publishers. We think we can relieve this painpoint with an all in one platform that enables publishers to easily embrace and monetize mobile. To do this, requires a CEO that understands the ins and outs of the publishing, advertising and technology businesses and Jonty has spent over a decade of his career focused on exactly this. At DoubleClick/Google, and Group Commerce Jonty worked with technology solutions to help publishers optimize monetization of their content and advertisers to maximise ROI on their advertising budgets. And Group Commerce was also one of the rare B2B2C platforms that had a strong component that touched the end user. When hiring, you set out your unicorn criteria from a domain expertise standpoint, but very rarely do you actually hire one, like Onswipe has with Jonty.
A former operator AND founder
Not only is Jonty a great operator, he is also a great founder. Before joining Onswipe, Jonty founded three companies that worked with publishers and advertisers, most recently Group Commerce for which he pioneered new technologies and business models in the online commerce industry. As a former founder, Jonty understands the importance of a founder’s vision and moving towards a mission. Onswipe will still have someone at the helm as CEO with a “founder’s state of mind”, something that we think is critical to building a large company.
Onswipe now has me in a role that I love and can have the most impact with – Marketing, Communications, and Design.
The job of CEO is much different at this level of growth and isn’t aligned with an area of the business that I can have the most impact with. With Jonty running the ship as CEO, that allows me as Chief Marketing Officer to focus on the areas of marketing, communications, and design that can have a huge impact on Onswipe. In October, I came up with one simple personal mission – to make the world love Onswipe. That world is comprised of readers, publishers, advertisers, and employees. I soon realized there was no way I could execute on that mission, while running the company as CEO. I made the tough decision to step aside and we were lucky enough soon thereafter to convince Jonty to join us as CEO. As Jonty has started to transition in, there’s already a sense of renewal that Onswipe can benefit from my focus on the areas that I can have the most impact with.
We’re excited about what’s next from Onswipe. With my transition to Chief Marketing Officer, you won’t be seeing or hearing less of me, but actually the complete opposite. On November 20th, Onswipe will be launching the next generation of our platform to the world. Great technology combined with great leadership from Jonty and the rest of the Onswipe team is going to take us to great heights that we couldn’t have even of dreamed of 3 years ago when Onswipe was nothing more than a bootstrapped dream.
-Jason L. Baptiste
Founder of Onswipe