Gnip’s Old, New Bosses Open Up About Recent Leadership Change

6/21/13Follow @MichaelXBD

Gnip, one of Boulder’s top tech companies, has reshuffled its executive team, and in an interview Friday the company’s new and old CEOs explained why.

Gnip co-founder Jud Valeski is stepping aside from the CEO job and will become the company’s chief technology officer. Chris Moody, who spent about two years as Gnip’s president and chief operating officer, will replace Valeski.

Gnip’s ambition is to be “the source of record for all social media conversations,” Moody said. To do that, it has partnerships with social media powerhouses like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to collect public postings. Gnip collects, packages, and sells the social media data to social media monitoring companies, financial firms, and business intelligence companies, among others.

According to Gnip, it delivers about 4 billion “social activities” each day, and 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies receive analytics from data originally collected by Gnip.

During Valeski’s tenure, Gnip has rebounded from early difficulties and grown to more than 70 employees. The company does not release numbers about revenue or customers, but Valeski said it hopes to double the number of employees over the next year or so.

Valeski was a first-time CEO when he took the helm of Gnip, and after leading it through its startup and early growth stage, Valeski said it felt like time to turn over the reins.

“We’re making a change like this on an upslope, which is actually very interesting and powerful,” Valeski said. The move was about “getting everything in the right place to move us forward.”

A “confluence” of factors like customer, revenue, and headcount growth brought Gnip to a point where Moody’s skills and experience were more appropriate for what the company wanted in its CEO, Valeski said.

“There wasn’t a perfect date or scale metric that said, ‘If we cross this threshold, we should make a change.’ There was nothing like that,” Valeski said.

As president and COO, Moody has been handling more and more of the executive duties over the past year while helping shape Gnip’s strategy, Valeski said.

“From my perspective, relatively little [is changing] operationally,” Valeski said. “He’s had significant input into how Gnip has been run for quite some time.”

Gnip’s leadership also felt it needed a full-time CTO. Valeski was the CTO during Gnip’s early years, and the company has not had an official CTO since he became CEO three-and-a-half years ago.

The position will allow Valeski to focus on keeping up with the rapidly changing social media industry and determine how to serve the ever-evolving needs of clients.

“That is Jud’s sweet spot,” Moody said. The move “is a great way to leverage some core strengths that he has that he hasn’t been … Next Page »

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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