Linkstorm is a digital marketing company pioneering a new approach to online advertising with the premise that ads perform better for the advertiser when they are more useful to the customer. With Linkstorm, “The Ad is the Website”™ - meaning that any ad, whether desktop or mobile, can contain as many as 150+ clickable menu choices, empowering the customer to navigate directly to the specific product, information or action that they want via a single click (or tap).
Our new VideoStorm™ product extends Linkstorm’s cascading navigation menu into the realm of video advertising of all kinds: Pre-Roll, Outstream, In-Feed and In-Banner. VideoStorm transforms any video ad from a passive, TV-commercial type of user experience into an interactive, engaging, conversion-driving user experience.
Linkstorm also includes a powerful Data value proposition, because we measure which of the 150+ menu choices the customer has clicked on. This data is not only highly granular and precise, but also highly reliable (“1st-party data”) because it represents the customer’s self-declared intent.
Then our Dynamic Optimization automatically optimizes the creative unit so that it further reflects the customer’s self-declared interests – e.g. by displaying all the products the customer has viewed on the advertiser’s website and/or whatever links the customer had clicked within the ad itself.
All of this produces performance lifts up to 17x higher than virtually all other ad vendors (not 17% higher, but 17x higher), as documented in dozens of rigorous A/B tests – i.e., same websites, same placements on the page, same targeting/retargeting, even same times of day in a 50/50 alternating rotation. In $$ terms, we have delivered ROAS as high as $23-to-$1, such as for Kay Jewelers whose first pilot produced $801K in online sales from a total spend of $35K (including media), and whose second pilot produced >$1.4M in online sales from a total spend of $75K.
See Client Examples to learn how Linkstorm is turning display advertising into a true high-performance marketing tool.
Linkstorm is headquartered in New York City and is funded by visionary investors including Esther Dyson, Jim Rutt, Rick Braddock and Kim Goh (see “Management” below).
Richard S. Braddock, Executive Chairman & Lead Investor
Rick Braddock began his business career in 1965, spending a number of years in product management at General Foods. He joined Citicorp in 1973, was elected to the board of directors in 1985 and was elected president and chief operating officer of Citicorp and its principal subsidiary, Citibank, N.A. in January 1990. During most of his time at the bank, he ran Citi’s highly successful global consumer business, leading the development of several major businesses, including the largest credit card business in the world and the first to deploy touch screen ATM’s, now the technology standard in several industries. He left in late November, 1992.
Since then, his career has been primarily in serving in executive positions of fast-growth businesses, helping entrepreneurs scale their business models. In 1993, he became chief executive officer of Medco Containment services until its acquisition by Merck later in the year, the largest M&A transaction of the year. He served as Chairman of True North Communications Inc. from December 1997 to January of 1999. He served as chairman and CEO of Priceline from August 1998 to April 2004, taking Priceline public in 1999. He served as chairman and CEO of Fresh Direct from March, 2008, until his departure from the company in early 2011. During these years, he worked with several other companies and also alongside several venture capital and private equity firms including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, General Atlantic, and MidOcean Partners (chairman from April 2003 until December 2007).
Mr. Braddock is now Chairman or Executive Chairman of several early-stage companies: Gravy Analytics, Pypestream, Health Connections, and now Linkstorm. He is a major investor in all four, along with several other early stage companies.
Mr. Braddock serves on the boards of The Aspen Institute*, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts*, Cristo Rey Network*, and several private companies. He is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations. (*not for profit)
Kim Goh, Acting CFO & Co-Lead Investor
Kim Goh is an active Angel investor for the last eight years and a general partner at Hudson Ventures since 2000, while Hudson is currently in the tail end of the harvesting phase of a very successful HVP Venture Fund II. Prior to joining Hudson Ventures, Mr. Goh spent his earlier career in the banking and the healthcare sectors. He was an Executive Vice President responsible for technology at Merck/Medco. He held several senior executive management positions in technology and operations with global banking activities. Mr. Goh was a Director at Chemical Bank Delaware and the Head of the Retail Operations at Chemical Banking Corporation (part of JPMorganChase). During his tenure at Citibank, Mr. Goh was the Technology Head of the Capital Market Group, the Global Equities Group, and the International Private Bank. He was also a general manager of several wholly owned technology software and service subsidiaries of Citicorp, including a securities clearance broker subsidiary and a securities lending operation with a $3 billion portfolio.
In addition to investing in Linkstorm where he is currently a Acting CFO, Mr. Goh has invested in more than a dozen other early-stage companies, directly or with partners. A partial list of his portfolio companies includes: Interactive Cards (formerly Fiteq, Board Member), EventCombo (Board Member), OneChronicle, Xooker, IndiMusic.TV, Moat (exited), Diamond Foundry, Phosphorus.com, ZocDoc, Ripple, and Slidejoy (now part of Buzzvil, Korea).
Mr. Goh holds a B. A. degree from Southampton College, M.A. degree (Economics) from the New School for Social Research, Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, and Master of Science in Information Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Goh is also a graduate of the Harvard University Advanced Management Program.
David Sidman is the founder and CEO of Linkstorm, an advertising technology company that makes online advertising more useful to the consumer, and therefore better-performing for the advertiser. Linkstorm has achieved 2x-17x improvements in click-through and conversion rates for IBM, Cisco, Jeep, Wal-Mart, American Express and many others by overlaying its unique, patent-pending navigation menu onto their display ads.
Mr. Sidman originally founded the company as Content Directions in order to commercialize a new linking system for the Internet created by the primary inventor of the Internet itself, Dr. Robert Kahn, with the potential to replace or supplant DNS and URLs as we know them today. In the course of setting the company on its current/successful path in online advertising, he re-invented the company several times over and raised >$18M from >200 Angel investors including Esther Dyson, Jim Rutt, D.E. Shaw, Vince Leusner, Robert Weissman and others, as well as creating an extensive patent portfolio for what is fundamentally a new/better way to navigate the Web.
Prior to founding Linkstorm, Mr. Sidman served as director of new publishing technologies for John Wiley & Sons, where he helped the U.S.’ oldest independent publisher to transition its print business to the Web through a combination of strategy development, internal projects enabling organic growth, and external acquisitions/investments. In four years he helped grow electronic product revenues 16-fold, with profitability rising more than 10-fold. He also helped initiate usage of the Web as a sales channel for print publications, growing this channel from nonexistence in 1996 to over $30 million by the time he left. As a member of the M&A team, he participated in acquisitions and integrations totaling about $300M.
Prior to Linkstorm and Wiley, Mr. Sidman held senior management positions in the technology, finance and information businesses of Barclays Bank, Moody's Investors Service, Shearson Lehman Hutton/American Express, Mercantile Stores and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was also the non-executive chairman of Anian Games, a social media gaming company, and a managing director at POM Partners (“Pulse On Media”), a boutique investment and advisory firm focused solely on digital media.
Mr. Sidman is a summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard, where he also taught physics, mathematics and philosophy as an undergraduate.
Craig Ellish, Executive Vice President, Sales & Strategy
Craig Ellish is responsible for revenue growth, business development, strategic partnerships and product development. With more than two decades of experience in advertising sales and publisher development in both traditional and digital media, Mr. Ellish is a seasoned executive known industry-wide for building and developing high performance teams, increasing revenue, developing new monetization streams and fostering client relationships. Prior to Linkstorm, Mr. Ellish served as Head of Video for Taboola, the leading native discovery platform in the world, where he was instrumental in helping the company achieve a $200 million video run rate and over one billion in yearly revenue.
Previously, Mr. Ellish was Senior Vice President, Advertiser & Publisher Sales, ZEDO, where he was responsible for all revenue streams and led and developed the high-performance sales and marketing teams globally, making ZEDO the go-to source for state-of-the-art digital video advertising. Prior to ZEDO, Mr. Ellish served as Vice President, Sales and Publisher Development for LIN Media’s mobile division, LIN Mobile, where he was responsible for building out the product offering from its inception. Ultimately, Mr. Ellish made LIN an industry leader in mobile solutions for advertisers and publishers by leading mobile sales, business development and strategy across all of LIN Media’s divisions and fostering publisher and technology partnerships outside of the LIN Media portfolio (now Nexstar Broadcasting Group).
Mr. Ellish served as Director of Sales for Specific Media and MySpace for seven years, where he was responsible for managing a sales force and closing revenue driven from products that ranged from Behavioral Targeting and Performance Networks to Online Video, Branded Content and Mobile. An integral member of the company from the ground up, Mr. Ellish was essential in negotiating new advertising business opportunities with Fortune 500 advertisers, top agencies and direct marketers with the company’s suite of Video, Original Programming and Network products. Mr. Ellish’s experience with digital media proved valuable, and his marketing plans and targeted programs resulted in securing business with advertisers that included American Express, Pizza Hut, BMW, Merck and Coca-Cola.
On the traditional media front, Mr. Ellish began his career in advertising sales at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., CNN Networks, where he oversaw programs on all CNN properties, including CNNsi, CNNfn, CBTN and HDLN.
Mr. Ellish holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Maryland, and currently resides in Port Washington, New York with his wife and two children.
Timothy Ross, Chief Technology OfficerTim Ross is the chief designer, architect and builder of Linkstorm's current platform and the leader of our Tech team. Among his many Linkstorm innovations have been the creation of our VideoStorm video advertising product; our Dynamic Retargeting/DCO capability; our Automatic Geo-Detection/Geo-Targeting feature; our Product Data Feed Generator; and our forthcoming Self-Service Platform. Mr. Ross has a long and successful history with front-end development for e-commerce, including experience at Real Networks, JobVana, Rugsale.com and several other companies. Mr. Ross holds a Computer Information Systems degree from Quinnipiac University.
Dr. Andrew Stevens, SVP, Infrastructure & Operations
Stevens designed and built the first version of Linkstorm's platform, and is now responsible for infrastructure & operations. Prior to Linkstorm, Dr. Stevens had worked with Linkstorm Founder David Sidman at John Wiley & Sons, where among other accomplishments he built the system that later became CrossRef, through which all of the world’s scholarly journal articles are interlinked on a cross-publisher basis via the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which is based on the Handle System pioneered by Internet inventor Dr. Robert Kahn (co-inventor of TCP/IP and primary architect of the Internet).
Prior to Linkstorm and Wiley, Dr. Stevens designed and patented chips for IBM at the T.J. Watson Research Center, held positions at AT&T Bell Labs and Argonne National Laboratory, and worked for several startups including The Voyager Company.
Dr. Stevens holds an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., an M.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.
Michael B. Healy, Director of Client & Advertising Operations
Healy began his career in the Internet Industry in 1998 where he quickly made a home within the Advertising Operations role. Starting initially in a sales Support role for NJ.com, Mr. Healy learned ad operations duties from both a publisher and vendor perspective. In 2000 he joined the Doubleclick media team as their Business Sponsorship Specialist where he was responsible for handling clients such as EdgarOnline, Nasdaq, Time, iWon and Headhunter.net. He then joined an up and coming player in outsourced Ad Operations called Trafficmac (now known as Operative) where he learned all aspects of ad operations and was responsible for training of all new personnel. For the seven years that he remained with Operative, he had the opportunity to learn the inner workings of many different ad servers such as DFP, DFA, OAS, Falk, CheckM8, Accipiter and others. During this time, he was also responsible for working with clients to determine the best ways in which to architect their products for Internet Advertising. These products ranged from simple publisher websites through complex network offerings including such elements as revenue shares, video integration, RSS and email sponsorships. Since landing at Linkstorm in 2008, Mr. Healy has been responsible for all ad campaigns delivered through Linkstorm's proprietary technology as well as optimizing internal and external tools and workflows.
Vince Leusner is the co-founder of The Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic, a prominent Angel investor organization with chapters in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Pittsburgh. In addition he is a 17-year veteran of the Ad Industry, including 7 years with the Interpublic Group of Companies, the parent company of McCann Erickson North America, where he rose to the number 2 finance post of that entity which had $1.8 billion of annual sales at that time. He then spent about 11 years with Grey Global Group, a subsidiary of WPP (the world’s largest advertising agency holding company) from about 1997 to 2008. He rose to become CFO of Grey Global Group Asia, overseeing 50 profit centers in 17 countries with $600M in revenue and 1600 employees. During Vince’s 17 years in the advertising industry he worked on dozens of acquisitions, usually overseeing financial and client due diligence for Interpublic, Grey Global and WPP. He has brought new investors to Linkstorm, made BizDev introductions to key agencies and holding companies, and provided guidance regarding both financial planning and marketing.
Mike Warsinske is a life-long Ad Industry veteran and serial entrepreneur, currently serving as both CEO of OverAd Media and CMO for the Digital Film Cloud Network (DFCN) as well as advising over a dozen digital media startups.
As the founder and CEO of Cybereps, an online advertising sales organization with 100 employees/7 offices which was sold to Interep in 2001 (Nasdaq: IREP), Mr. Warsinske led the initial media sales for the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com), Andover.net, eMarketer.com, Reuters.com, MP3.com and many others. Prior to Cybereps, Mr. Warsinske ran a traditional media rep firm which included Chief Executive Magazine, several publications of Scholastic and Entrepreneur Magazine. He began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi/Compton in account management working on the Tylenol brands.
Mr. Warsinske is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Journalism, and has guided Linkstorm in building out its media buying capabilities, so that clients now have an option for one-stop shopping whereby Linkstorm can place the ads in addition to designing, building and powering the ads.
Michael Robinson is a former senior banker with Citicorp/Citibank, Bank of Montreal, and Societé Generale, where he led teams in loan syndications, structured finance and asset securitization. His first entrepreneurial experience was as Chief Administrative Office of LoanX, a Web-based secondary loan sales platform owned principally by Goldman Sachs, CSFB, J.P. Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of America, and Creditex. He has served on the boards of the Harvard Club of NY, the New York Community Nursing Center, and Arts Education for the Blind. Mr. Robinson holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard, and two Masters’ degrees, one in Finance from MIT and one in Economics and Public Policy from Princeton. He is also a long-time Linkstorm investor, starting with the very first Angel round and continuing through the latest round.
Raj Das serves as a Partner and Head of Digital Practice at Buffkin/Baker in its New York City office. He focuses on senior level executive and board talent placements in digital, marketing, and technology roles. In his role, Mr. Das brings over 22 years of experience and relationships advising organizations at corporate, investment banking, and entrepreneurial levels.
Previously Mr. Das was the Founder & CEO at POM Partners, a global digital media incubation and acceleration firm. Prior to POM Partners, he headed up Finance and Strategy at a $500 Million direct marketing company with operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Mr. Das started his career in investment banking where he executed transactions worth over $20 billion during his 12-year tenure at major Wall Street banks. Currently Mr. Das also serves on the Advisory Boards of next generation, pioneering digital enterprises.
Mr. Das is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program (Stanford Graduate School of Business) where he was the Co-President of his class. He also graduated summa cum laude from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate degree in Finance and Multinational Management. Mr. Das lives in Manhattan with his wife and two young children.
Linkstorm, founded as Content Directions in August 2000 and renamed in November 2005, was established to commercialize the Handle System®, a next-generation linking system developed by Dr. Robert Kahn, a co-creator of the Internet and co-inventor of its underlying communication protocol, TCP/IP. This innovation improves on the URL concept of linking only to a single web page address, which often requires information seekers to follow a daisy-chain of page links to reach the exact nugget of content they need.
In Dr. Kahn's Handle System platform, a handle is a unique identifier for any kind of digital object. Then, through Linkstorm's unique patent-pending extensions to the Handle System, the object can be associated with any number of related links, other objects, or any other centrally maintained data. The scientific/technical/medical (STM) publishing industry has embraced this technology and uses it today to interlink 99 percent of the world's journal articles.
Linkstorm's management, however, after helping drive this universal adoption in the journal industry, determined that this technology could impact a much larger market segment in ways that would benefit the business world and the hundreds of millions of active Internet users beyond the scientific community. The company spent years building and enhancing that technology in collaboration with major publishers such as McGraw-Hill and Harvard Business School Publishing and has now optimized its patented platform for online advertising.