Josh McFarland, CEO & Co-Founder
During our initial fundraising process for TellApart, almost five years ago, we were very mindful of choosing the people we wanted around our table as investors. James Slavet from Greylock, where Mark and I had spent the preceding nine months as Entrepreneurs in Residence, was at the top of our list and decided to lead our Series A with a $4M investment. Alongside James, we carved out another $750K for a very select group of people we wanted on our team, many of whom we had previously worked with. They included strong operators, such as: Dick Costolo (CEO, Twitter), Jeff Jordan (former GM of eBay, President of PayPal and CEO of OpenTable — now Partner at Andreessen Horowitz), Jeff Holden (Chief Product Officer, Uber), Deep Nishar (SVP of Products & User Experience, LinkedIn) and Phil Libin (CEO, Evernote).
We also added just a single advisor: David Rosenblatt. For those unacquainted with his name, David was CEO of DoubleClick and led it from IPO in 1998 (when it was one of the highest flying companies in the tech bubble) to its private equity buyout in 2005 through its eventual acquisition by Google for $3.1B in 2007. He then stayed to see his baby become one of the biggest digital marketing juggernauts in the world before leaving in 2009. Today he sits on the boards of Twitter and IAC while serving as CEO of 1stdibs — the world’s largest online luxury marketplace for rare and desirable objects.
Why do I offer all this color to today’s announcement? Because it highlights how selective we are when gathering the very best people around our table. We aren’t looking solely for big names. We want only the kind of people we intend to work with for decades – with deep substance, specific expertise and strong character.
I’m proud to announce today that we’ve found someone qualified to serve as our second ever advisor: Jonathan Shottan.
Prior to landing his new position at Pinterest (congrats Ben, Tim & team!), Jonathan ran the product side of Facebook’s ads targeting, measurement and the Facebook Exchange. When he joined, Jonathan was quickly tasked with filling the big shoes of two amazing folks who had recently departed Facebook — Gokul Rajaram (now at Square) and Antonio Garcia-Martinez (now at Nanigans), and I can’t say I wasn’t skeptical and trepidatious.
We had built such strong relationships with his predecessors — with TellApart as the first Facebook partner to serve ads live on FBX, the co-authors of the Real-Time Bidding Exchange Protocol, and the first to serve real-time bidded dynamic ad creative into the News Feed, etc. — we were understandably nervous about this new sheriff in town.
I remember our first meeting in early 2013 — Jonathan looked the spitting image of Aaron Kaufmann. (Gas Monkey Garage, anyone? Am I seriously the only one in Silicon Valley who geeks out on hot rod reality shows?) This did nothing to assuage my concerns. However, within minutes of opening the meeting, it was clear this guy was the real deal: hugely knowledgeable about our industry, long on substance if often short on words, razor sharp technically and incredibly strategically minded. Over the past year, Jonathan proved the first meeting wasn’t a fluke. He also eventually shaved the beard.
Jonathan will be spending time with the TellApart product and engineering teams as we continue building the world’s leading Predictive Marketing Platform. As I’ve written before, Pinterest and Facebook are incredibly important players in this future ecosystem and Jonathan’s unique perspective from his work at each — plus his five years at Turn — will prove invaluable to our future direction. We couldn’t be more excited to have him join us as advisor.
— Josh McFarland, Co-founder & CEO