Signal Names Lisa Weinstein New CEO To Seize Momentum In Data Onboarding

The onboarding and identity data startup Signal said Thursday it has hired Lisa Weinstein, previously the CEO of Curiosity.com, as its new president and CEO.

Weinstein is succeeding Mike Sands, a co-founder of the company, who will remain on the board as executive chairman.

Signal has raised more than $80 million since it was founded almost 10 years ago and is profitable, but the company is gearing up for its second phase as marketers and regulators bring online identity technology to the fore.

Identity resolution is critical for real-time customer engagements, digital marketing and first-party data privacy, Weinstein said. The company has immense tailwinds, she said, because those prevailing trends all lead business to onboarding and online IDs.

For instance, the past year has seen IPG and Publicis both make multi-billion dollar bets on legacy data companies, Acxiom and Epsilon, respectively. Weinstein said that by taking over those offline data sets, agencies have a stronger need for onboarding solutions, like Signal, that connect offline and online data.

And as agencies refocus their pitch around first-party data assets, identity resolution becomes a more important tool.

Weinstein’s experience could prove useful for this next phase for the identity resolution category, where agencies take on more data capabilities. Before running Curiosity.com, an online education site, she was managing director of Mindshare Chicago and then Starcom MediaVest’s global president of digital, data and analytics.

Her experience running a digital media company is important too, because data onboarding companies live and die on the backs of sites that agree to license data to them. Publishers contribute logged-in or cookie-based audience data that fills out the vendor’s identity graph. That site network increases match rates when the vendor turns its client’s CRM data into online IDs.

LiveRamp, the 400-pound gorilla of the onboarding and identity data category, is almost ubiquitous in this regard, said Signal COO Jay Stocki, who joined the startup earlier this year after working his way up to CMO and head of strategy at Experian, the last of the big-three independent data brokerages, following the deals for Acxiom and Epsilon.

Weinstein said one of the key parts of Signal’s differentiation from LiveRamp for publishers is that it doesn’t sell or resell data, as LiveRamp does with its data marketplace.

“If you see some of actions around GDPR or potential implications with laws like CCPA [the California Consumer Privacy Act, which goes into effect next January] around how non-first-party data can be commercialized, I think that’s going to be a good position for Signal,” she said.

Pulling accounts away from LiveRamp remains the biggest source of new business for Signal, Stocki said, though a push in the last year to win direct-to-consumer and ecommerce brands has evened that out.

“We’re an industry that uses a lot of jargon and we get ahead of ourselves,” Weinstein said. “The reality is that identity issues are far from solved and there are gaps in the market. Helping marketers get closer to real-time onboarding and identity resolution is going to drive a lot of future growth.”

 

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