Ad Tech Vet Jason Kelly Becomes LiveIntent’s President

JasonKellyLiveIntent, which automates the placement of ad inventory within email messages, appointed industry heavy-hitter Jason Kelly as its president on Monday.

Kelly was instrumental in helping mobile ad network Millennial Media sell to AOL for $240 million in September, facilitated the sale of retail DSP Sociomantic to Tesco/dunnhumby in 2014 and served as CRO of Admeld when Google acquired it in 2011.

Kelly will spearhead sales, marketing and operations for LiveIntent and support its CEO Matt Keiser.

Kelly declined to say whether he would help the seven-year-old ad tech company find a buyer or pursue an IPO exit, though it’s reasonable to expect he’d be the man to get the job done, if LiveIntent opted to pursue that path.

“So much has changed in the industry in the last three years, and it speaks to the importance of paying attention when you have that opportunity to become part of a larger ambition,” Kelly told AdExchanger. “The industry’s become much more mature. There are just less options out there [to join] high-quality teams working on high-quality problems.” 

Post-Millennial, Kelly said he was attracted to LiveIntent’s position at the intersection of the buy and the sell side and because it was working on meeting marketer demand for higher-quality supply and cracking cross-device identity.

LiveIntent is leveraging email as a deterministic agent for marketers to connect identities across devices, without using desktop cookies.

“We know we have a ton of wood left to chop, but you’ll see us continue to sync up with the large players, whether Oracle, Salesforce or Acxiom’s LiveRamp or directly with brands to connect CRM data to cookies without ever using PII,” said Keiser. “Jason has experience from ad serving and yield management all the way through to mining intent, and I’d say LiveIntent is second only to our friends at Criteo or A9 in that regard.”

Kelly’s hire is the latest in a string of new hires meant to support LiveIntent’s new division focused on mining data for intent-based marketing.

Two others included Shiven Ramji, formerly the head of global shopper and marketing insights products at Amazon, and Carsten Hyldahl, the founder of the Danish data onboarding startup, Mojn, which LiveIntent acquired last month.

LiveIntent closed a $32.5 million growth round last summer, which helped it expand in European markets, particularly the UK.

Longtime LiveIntent exec and incumbent president, Dave Hendricks, headed up that expansion when he took over as managing director of Europe in August, which freed up a whopping vacancy for Kelly.

“I’ll be principally focused on sales and how revenue happens across the company, as well as marketing and brand development,” Kelly added. “It’s extremely hard being CEO of any company, especially in our industry … this will really help [Keiser] to focus internally across the organization not only where we are today, but … to skate to where the puck will be in 2017 and 2018.”

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