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Featured on Apr 08, 2011

Scott Switzer

"Ecommerce is becoming distributed, just like content."


Co-founder and CTO of Jirafe - ecommerce platform. Founder of OpenX ad platform. Venture partner at First Mark Capital.

  • Title: Cofounder, CTO Jirafe Inc.
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Midtown, Upper East Side
  • Contact: @scottswitzer

Can you elaborate on your predictions on ecommerce and how Jirafe fits into the ecommerce ecosystem?

In this age of data abundance, it is amazing to see that most ecommerce stores outside the top 100 do not leverage data to create a unique and personal experience for their customers.  In order for Jirafe to help store owners provide an enhanced experience, we start by helping collect actionable data, and follow up with specific suggestions on how to improve store performance.

How do you manage being a venture partner at FirstMark and running your startup simultaneously?

Its difficult.  Being an effective board member is time consuming and is a big shift in thinking compared to running a company (e.g. oversight vs. execution).  Firstmark has been very supportive with my duties as I transition from a venture partner to a portfolio company founder.

You’re a dual US and UK citizen. Can you compare the startup communities in London vs New York?

There are incredibly talented people in both NYC and London.  Business processes are much more streamlined in NYC, and the terms that a company receives from investors are more entrepreneur-friendly in NYC (and the US in general) compared to London (and Europe in general).  The entrepreneur culture in NYC is much more common, but I continue to be told by friends and colleagues that London is becoming much more entrepreneur friendly as well.  My partner and I made a decision to base Jirafe in NYC because it is the best environment to build a new company.

Prior to Jirafe, you were a co-founder of article27 and OpenX, now the most widely used ad platform on the web. What’s your involvement at OpenX now as Head of Community?

I am on the board of OpenX, but do not have an executional role.  I am much more interested in creating the market opportunity for a company than I am about growing an existing opportunity.  OpenX employs some of the best people in the world at fulfilling the potential for a real time ad marketplace.  We just released an ad serving platform which maximizes the amount of revenue that can be made from advertising that no other company can match.

CTO, Early Stage Investor