Hipcricket Matures, Rebrands
Like any small business, especially one in an immature industry, Hipcricket was measured in its hiring and expansion plans. By 2007, Ivan Braiker had seen enough traction that he and the board of directors decided to build out the senior management team and go public on the London Stock Exchange, where Hipcricket’s key investors had previously done business. By the summer of that year, I was brought on as chief marketing officer (CMO), Eric Harber joined as president and chief operating officer, and Tom Virgin, a former chief financial officer (CFO) of the year in the small private company category in Seattle, came aboard as CFO.
Ironically, my first meeting with Braiker was also at a Seattle-area coffee shop. I had just left InfoSpace; that company had moved to be the leader in the United States in the delivery of mobile content only to get disintermediated by the carriers and record labels, which demanded more of the margin on goods for themselves.
Beyond Braiker’s charisma, I was attracted to Hipcricket for its permission-based mobile programs. To me, the model was fascinating—having a consumer opt in for information and offers rather than spamming them, a technique that personal computer users had become wary of after all the unwanted offers of Viagra and fake Rolex watches. As a CMO, I saw obvious value in helping Hipcricket’s move from the start-up phase and help clients engage with those who raised their hands and said that they wanted ...