Newsletter

Movers and Shakers: Badi, Sizmek, The Ozone Project, Urban Airship and more

David Murphy

The mobile marketing industry is ever-changing, and that applies to the people as much as the technology. Movers & Shakers is our regular feature following the hottest hires in the industry, so you can keep track of who’s joined which company, and what they’re doing there.

(Left to right) Miguel Andrés, Paul Wright, Sophie Raptis, Greg Biggers

Badi hires Google engineer as its CTO
Badi, the AI-driven room rental marketplace, has appointed former Google senior engineer lead Miguel Andrés as its chief technology officer.

Badi, which recently completed a $30m Series B funding round, uses AI to connect landlords with room seekers. The company enables anyone to publish, find and book a room safely from anywhere in the world, and has seen over 12m rental requests since launch in 2015.

At Google, Andrés was the global leader of Google Pay's public transport service. Prior to that, he was in charge of the engineering team that led the launch of Google Pay in Japan as well as several security-related projects.

He said: "I have spent my entire career looking for opportunities to improve the quality of life of people through technology and with badi I have found a company that, on the one hand, helps people in a significant way and, on the other, presents many very interesting technological challenges.

“Badi's hyper-growth generates all kinds of technological challenges, including scaling up the platform to absorb our explosive growth, improve the payment platform to support our monetization strategy and tackle the most advanced anti-fraud techniques. The platform is on track to become the marketplace of the largest real estate sector in the world and I am very excited to join the incredible Badi team to face these challenges.”

During 2019, badi aims to expand its workforce from 65 to 100 people, and is looking to hire a COO, a GM for each of its the main markets, and a VP of growth.

Sizmek appoints ad industry veteran as GM EMEA
Independent buy-side advertising platform Sizmek is strengthening its leadership team with three executive appointments. Most notably, the company has appointed Paul Wright to the role of general manager with full oversight of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Wright brings extensive experience as a corporate leader, technology lead, client, agency strategist, consultant, entrepreneur and board advisor. In his new position, he will be responsible for the company’s regional go-to-market strategy, new business development, client acquisition and customer success efforts. Prior to joining Sizmek, Wright held roles of increasing responsibility including CEO of iotec, a demand-side platform; director of EMEA and APAC for Apple’s iAd digital advertising platform; and chief digital officer at Omnicom Media Group, UK.

In addition to Wright, Sizmek has also appointed Sascha Wittler as its CFO, and George Pappachen to general counsel, effective immediately. All three executives join the company’s executive leadership team and will report directly to Sizmek CEO Mark Grether.

He said: “I am delighted to welcome Paul, as his experience running a multitude of businesses significantly strengthens our team. Additionally, Sascha and George are executives who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields and I’m delighted to have them join our company as well.”

Raptis takes up client director role at The Ozone Project
The Ozone Project has named Sophie Raptis as client director, responsible for managing relationships with brands to help them tap into The Ozone Project’s custom, engaged audiences at scale across the UK’s most trusted publishers. She joins from News UK, where she was advertising client director.

With News UK, Guardian News & Media, The Telegraph and Reach plc onboard as founding partners, The Ozone Project aims to make it easier for advertisers to buy digital inventory by offering a single point of access to first party publishers’ audiences. Raptis will be responsible for helping brands target relevant audiences to drive awareness, consideration and performance and ultimately incremental revenue. Her responsibilities will also include attracting new brands to the platform. She will report to The Ozone Project MD, Craig Tuck.

She has over 20 years’ experience in the media industry, building and selling multi-platform advertising solutions for international news organisations. Prior to The Ozone Project, Sophie was part of News UK’s client sales leadership team, covering a range of sectors including financial and professional services, technology, telecoms, auto, fashion and luxury. She has also served as the publisher of WSJ Magazine in New York where she was responsible for growing its advertiser base and winning luxury advertisers that were critical for the long-term success of the magazine.

She said: “I’m excited by the opportunity The Ozone Project presents in challenging the rules of engagement within digital advertising. We are simplifying the process of buying trusted, quality audiences at scale and giving advertisers the transparency and control they want. My interest in the publishing world and its sustainability made the move to The Ozone Project a no-brainer for me.”

Urban Airship hires Biggers
Customer engagement company Urban Airship has recruited Greg Biggers to the role of vice president of product and design. Biggers will be responsible for leading product management, product design, product discovery and user research.

He has spent the past 20 years building software products at fast-growing technology companies across mobile, SaaS, CRM and martech, resulting in more than $3bn in acquisition value at Responsys, Chordiant and Vantive. Most recently, he was the CEO and chief product officer at Akimbo, where he was responsible for corporate strategy and product development. Prior to that, he served as chief product and marketing officer for SenseLabs and Genomera where he led product, design, engineering, marketing and sales teams. He also created the Product Management Immersive curriculum and program at General Assembly, where he continues to serve as faculty, growing the next generation of product leaders and entrepreneurs. 

"Today's marketers demand a best-in-breed product experience to deliver on their great challenge: reaching consumers in the right channel, at the right time and with the right message," said Mike Herrick, senior vice president of product and engineering at Urban Airship. "Greg has built some of the most sophisticated marketing technology products over more than two decades. He will help Urban Airship apply state-of-the-art product discovery techniques to expand our platform, helping even more businesses grow customer value with meaningful experiences and useful information delivered throughout the customer journey.”

The appointment follows January’s acquisition of Accengage to form the world’s largest mobile customer engagement company, with solutions for apps, websites, SMS, email, mobile wallets and other channels. In addition, Urban Airship has expanded its product line, releasing AI orchestration and predictive models to take the guesswork out of delivering highly relevant cross-channel messages that customers will welcome.

Verdon and Mussard take up newly-created roles at IAB Europe
IAB Europe has appointed Patrick Verdon as technical director and Helen Mussard as marketing & business strategy director, two newly-created roles.

Verdon brings more than two decades of senior technical experience to his role, where one of his principal tasks is supporting the TCF technical updates that will provide a more complete accommodation of the “legitimate interests” legal basis for data processing. Plans are also in place for a new set of signals that allow Consent Management Providers (CMPs) to offer users the “right to object” to processing on the basis of a “legitimate interest” and new granular controls for publishers about the data processing purposes permitted by them on a per vendor basis. Most recently, thanks to Verdon’s guidance, IAB Europe recently announced the development of a new CMP validation tool for the TCF. IAB Europe, with collaboration across the industry, released the open-source Transparency and Consent Framework in April 2018.

Verdon brings a strong track-record of working in the internet and mobile spaces and has held CTO roles in several successful start-ups. Most recently, he co-founded Databoxer, a CMP for websites. He said “My role will be focused on driving both product development and technical implementation across the Transparency and Consent Framework. I am coming back to my roots to ensure that the policy governance of the Framework takes good account of technology considerations, so we release a robust and commercially friendly updated version for all global stakeholders”.

Mussard joins IAB Europe from Vibrant Media, where she was VP of global marketing. Her focus at IAB Europe in the first few months will be overseeing the release and implementation of the updated TCF to all industry stakeholders. Longer term, she will be looking at how IAB Europe communicates with all constituents to help shape and implement the strategic objectives of the association, enabling digital advertising to innovate and scale throughout Europe.

Prior to joining Vibrant in New York, she lived in London and Berlin working both agency-side and in-house for TV channels, government organizations and digital start-ups. She said: “IAB Europe is the leading voice for policy and regulatory discussions throughout the digital advertising ecosystem. Never has it been more important to defend and promote our industry to show the positive impact that digital advertising can have to consumers, publishers and advertisers. I’m incredibly excited to join Townsend and the team whilst we release our updated transparency and consent framework, to support the industry’s efforts to comply with GDPR and raise the standard and trust in online advertising”.

Nicolas takes up CTO role at Connecthings 
Connecthings has appointed Cedric Nicolas as its CTO. He will lead the engineering teams and ensure the execution of the HEROW roadmap, reporting to the COO. He brings to the job 25 years of experience in similar roles in both mobile and SAAS start-ups and large technology companies. He has become a recognized Java expert, having published three books on the Java language since 1996.

In 1999, he co-founded Ubicco, a subsidiary of the Fi System Group, a publisher of a multi-access middleware platform, developing its expertise in the field of mobile multimedia. In 2008, he founded Ville Fluide, subsequently renamed WeDrive. This startup's ambition was to develop a recurring home-to-work carpool system, using mobile phones. The company had built strong development expertise in a geolocated mobile app on iPhone and Android, and SaaS UI to manage users. He is a graduate of INSA as an engineer in computer science.

Robson takes up performance post at Silverbean
Digital performance agency Silverbean has appointed Andy Robson as its first digital performance associate director. Robson has been with the agency for over three years, leading the SEO team, and has been instrumental in a number of major client wins. In his new role, Robson will oversee three of the agency’s core offerings: SEO, paid marketing and conversion rate optimisation.

“It will be my responsibility to ensure we are performing at our very best as an agency and continuing to provide world-class campaigns,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the exciting results we’ll be able to deliver for our clients as a result of this evolution.”

The company has also appointed Andrew Charlton as its head of search, after more than two years at the agency. Silverbean has taken on almost 40 new member of staff in the last 18 months and is currently planning the launch of an office in Sydney.