Until this week, that’s the role Jason Baptiste held at Onswipe (which he co-founded in 2010), and it sounds like he’ll continue to be the face of the company. He’s becoming Onswipe’s first chief marketing officer, so while Kelt runs the business, Baptiste’s job will involve evangelizing for the platform, which allows publishers to optimize their websites for tablets and other touch devices, and to run similarly optimized ads. Put another way: His goal is “to make the world love Onswipe.”
Baptiste (he’s the one on the left in the photo above, and Kelt is on the right) assured me that the move was very much his idea, rather than something that was forced on him by investors. In fact, he described himself as “relieved” about the change, arguing that his strengths are in “communications, design, marketing,” areas that he barely had time to focus on as CEO. Plus, the company needed someone who can take the business to “the next level,” especially since it started making money from ads in February.
“We want somebody who can just grow it,” Baptiste said. “He gets to make the final call as CEO.”
Kelt, meanwhile, had been taking some time off after Group Commerce merged with NimbleCommerce. He’s got experience on the ad side, having served as vice president at Google-acquired ad-tech company DoubleClick. And he already had a connection to Onswipe through its investor Spark Capital, which also backed Group Commerce.
Kelt acknowledged that it’s “always kind of a sensitive moment when the founder either is forced out or recognizes that they need some help — in this case, it was very much the latter.” But apparently when Baptiste approached him about taking the job and outlined how he saw the two of them working together, “It all just made sense.”
As for where the company goes from here, Kelt said, “The vision and the direction that they’re taking is 100 percent the right one. It’s about scaling that in all respects.”
Onswipe recently added a new CTO, too. The company says it currently reaches 25 million unique monthly visitors on iOS, and it plans to launch the new version of its platform on November 20.