Olympics, NFL Lessons Guide Integrate’s Bloom in First Year as CEO

A lot of entrepreneurs have circuitous career paths before becoming a first-time CEO. Few have the Olympics or the National Football League on their resumes.

But that’s the case for Jeremy Bloom, co-founder and CEO of Integrate, a venture-backed marketing software company. Bloom has been in the top spot for about eight months as the company tries to scale, improve its go-to-market strategy, and find the perfect market fit after a challenging year.

Understanding how to successfully navigate those challenges comes only with experience, and Bloom said he’s learning on the job.

“The thing about being a CEO is, it’s sink or swim, and you’re thrown in, and you have no choice but to swim,” he said.

Although he spent a year in a special entrepreneurship program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, he said the best training might have come from his years in sports. He was a world champion freestyle skier and competed in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, where he finished sixth in the freestyle moguls competition in 2006. He also spent parts of two seasons as a wide receiver and kick returner with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Prior to the Olympics and NFL, Bloom was a collegiate All-American with the University of Colorado’s football team.

It’s been several years since Bloom’s athletic glory days—his football career ended when the Steelers cut him before the 2008 season, and he last competed as a skier in 2009—but the lessons are lasting.

“Day to day, I find so many similarities with my experience as a professional athlete. Building a team, building a culture, trying to accomplish these lofty goals, I think there are a lot of similarities,” he said.

Now Bloom is in charge of Integrate, which he co-founded in 2010. The Scottsdale, AZ-based company, which has offices in Denver, San Francisco, and Boston, announced last week it has a new $5 million venture loan from Trinity Capital Investment, a firm that specializes in venture debt financing for expanding startups. The mezzanine financing brings the total raised by the company to $40 million. Of that, $22.5 million comes from equity investments by Comcast Ventures, Liberty Global Ventures, and the Boulder, CO-based Foundry Group. The remainder is a debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank.

Integrate makes marketing software, an area that’s been hot in recent years. But unlike Marketo and Eloqua, which do marketing automation, or adtech companies focused on programmatic advertising, Integrate focuses on what Bloom said is the piece that’s in between. That’s demand generation—the process of finding potential costumers, building brand awareness, and starting the work of converting leads to sales.

“There’s such a big collision right now between adtech and marketing tech, and Integrate sits between the two,” he said.

Bloom said that’s a $30 billion per year industry, but it is part of the advertising and marketing process “that’s still very, very old school.”

“The way marketers are buying that media and getting that lead data into their systems looks like … Next Page »

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