Michael Scissons, founder and former CEO of the recently shuttered Syncapse, has a new gig as entrepreneur in residence at the Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing company -- a title often reserved for venture-capital and law firms.
In his new role at AB InBev, Scissons told AdExchanger in an email that he will support the brewing giant “on a freelance basis” starting this week. “I will be working with [VP of consumer connections] Pedro Earp and team on the development of innovation in the marketing arena, new ideas and initiatives, and helping find new top talent to add to their already amazing team,” Scissons wrote.
Based in Toronto and founded in 2007, Syncapse was a social-media marketing company that helped brands manage and analyze their paid, earned and owned social-media communications across various channels. The company had raised roughly $45 million Canadian dollars (US$43.7 million) in funding, according to court documents.
And it had a client roster that included global brands like Coca-Cola, JP Morgan Chase, L’Oreal, Anheuser-Busch and Johnson & Johnson. Syncapse also was a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer with offices in Toronto, New York, London and Gurgaon, India.
Despite all that, the company filed for bankruptcy in July. According to the bankruptcy filing, Syncapse had liabilities of up to US$10 million and between $10 million to $50 million in assets. It filed a loss of $6.3 million in the first eight months of this year on revenues of $6.5 million.
According to the investment bank charged with selling Syncapse's assets and intellectual property, the company's collapse can be attributed to its reliance on RIM/Blackberry as a client. As the struggling mobile-phone company reduced its marketing spend, Syncapse was unable to win other clients fast enough, according to the asset sales document.
Syncapse’s revenue was historically heavily concentrated with RIM/Blackberry, which accounted for as much as 89% of the company’s revenue in 2009, but <10% in FY2013. As RIM reduced its marketing spending, due to its own market challenges, Syncapse had to backfill the decline in RIM revenue with other enterprise clients. While top-line revenue growth appears flat and net income performance has been volatile, the Company had underlying, year-over-year growth, ex-RIM, with the addition of major enterprise clients during periods of significant investment in product development.
Online ad network LookSmart acquired Syncapse’s platform and other key assets for $3 million last month.
Separate from the AB InBev gig, Scissons also founded a new VC startup, Grid Ventures, last month and is working with two companies that hope to launch in early 2014.