The Commitments (Or: Welcome Aboard the Board)
Once, during a panel discussion, someone asked me why I got into venture capital. I told them it was for the privilege of working with entrepreneurs who have the vision to see what doesn’t exist yet, the enthusiasm to will it into being and the courage to fail in front of everybody they know — and many more they don’t know.
Everyone on the Board of Directors here at PebblePost embraces that philosophy. That includes our two newest additions, Lynn Wunderman and David Bell. On behalf of our investors — including entrepreneurs, my portfolio CEOs, co-investors, colleagues and the Board — I’d like to welcome them. Given the connections I’ve formed with both Lynn and David over the last 10 years, their arrival feels inevitable.
You can learn more about Lynn and David’s professional credentials here. What I’d like to talk about is the kind of people they are.
Tea for Two
When I first read Lynn Wunderman’s résumé, it was hard to believe our paths had never crossed. Once I learned about her background I couldn’t wait to meet her.
While building one of the largest portfolios of targeters and retargeters in digital media, I led the seed round for Chango, which had invented search retargeting for the free-range web. We eagerly sought experts on data-targeting best practices. But we also wanted to avoid digital myopia. We wanted a more holistic view across all marketing.
Mutual contacts introduced the board at Chango to Lynn. She had spent about 20 years in direct marketing and was founder of I-Behavior, a pioneer in the field of attitudinal targeting. We met for tea near Grand Central and clicked immediately. We had a common vision of what’s good and bad and right and wrong in digital media.
Soon after, Lynn joined the Board of Directors at Chango. Over the years, I saw up close her expertise on data targeting and financing early-stage tech ventures and admired her temperament as we navigated some critical moments of decision.
Fast-forward to when we were working on the idea of PebblePost. We spent nine months architecting before we really started building. As part of that process, I once again met Lynn for tea near Grand Central. This time, however, I was meeting her for input on the vision for PebblePost.
I outlined our plan for inventing Programmatic Direct Mail® and the big vision of where it could go over many years. Lynn asked great, insightful questions. She got it. She added enormous value, especially with her understanding of data strategies and where we would find overlap between traditional direct marketing, digital and this new channel.
Lynn joined our Board of Advisors before we even incorporated and has been a wealth of knowledge every step of the way.
A Founder, a CEO and an Investor Walk into a Meeting …
I’m humbled to have David Bell’s insights and assistance at the Board level here at PebblePost. As a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, a Senior Advisor to AOL and a former Senior Adviser to Google, he is simply a giant in this industry.
But you’d never know that to hear him run a meeting. He always puts the room at ease by starting with a good, long joke. And as “the medium is the message,” it’s all in his delivery.
David and I met for the first time for lunch at the 21 Club. I had just changed the name of my seed fund from Gersh Venture Partners to Metamorphic Ventures and was looking to add a partner. The idea was for us to get to know each other and compare notes. David’s experience was working with startups and public companies with incredible perspective on the landscape across technology companies, agencies and media companies.
One of the things I most love about working with David is his insight across all those levels of businesses. We did CEO seminars where David would give presentations not from a pitch deck but from his heart and his mind and his soul. He shared what he knew to be true in the industry for entrepreneurs who were creating the next generation of innovation. They had endless questions for David, and they would all leave so thankful and appreciative.
So, of course, when we were in beta with a working platform at PebblePost, I met with David Bell. And it was uncanny how quickly he leapt through both our market development and product development timelines, going out several years. He not only got the concept as we presented it to him, but he was also able to add to it and see directions that we had considered but hadn’t crystallized. He saw them with clarity and priority, and an opportunity to create the first new marketing channel since search and social and how important that was on a global landscape.
Watch This Space
I couldn’t be more pleased, not only with what is happening but how it’s happening. Having great success in business is one thing — having fun doing it is another. Lynn Wunderman and David Bell both understand that and our enthusiasm to will it all into being.