Featured on Feb 08, 2011
"The question isn't 'what are we going to do,' the question is 'what aren't we going to do?' - Ferris Bueller"
11 years after founding my first startup at 14 years of age (with a successful exit while in college), and working at 2 other major NY tech companies (NextNewNetworks + Lotame Solutions) totaling $40mm+ in funding, I've returned to my roots. I’ve joined one of the original founding partners of SeamlessWeb to help scale his latest venture, SinglePlatform. SinglePlatform provides one stop for local businesses to manage their entire digital presence. I live / eat / sleep / breathe tech, but try to spend as much free time as possible with my incredible family, friends, and… cars. I love cars.
- Title: Vice President, Business Development at SinglePlatform
- Age: 25
- Location: Gramercy
- Contact: @kennyherman, kenny herman's day off
Based on your bio, we’re pretty much obligated to ask you this - what is your current favorite car today and what’s your favorite car all-time?
That's like asking your mother which child she prefers. Many of the original members of my website, the ExoticCarNetwork, went on to acquire some really exciting cars. Fortunately, they've all shared. One, a very good friend by the name of Noah Lehmann-Haupt, launched Gotham Dream Cars, the Hertz of exotic cars, after a successful tech exit. I interned for him one summer in college. In between getting caught "borrowing" a Lamborghini for a late night joy ride, driving a work truck into a support beam and nearly taking down his whole entire garage, and getting fired and rehired at least 4 times - I was able to get significant seat time in some of the best cars ever created.
I'm partial to Ferrari as the first car I truly fell in love with was a '93 512tr with Tubi straight pipes-- but, today, there are few, if any, cars better than the second generation Porsche 997 GT3. My all-time favorite? The Ferrari F40 (pictured above). The F40 is as cool as it gets.
Can you talk about your experience with your first startup? More specifically, how you got started when you were 14 and your decision for an exit while in college.
Boy sees cool car. Boy likes cool car. Boy hits the web to speak about it - and identifies the dearth of quality surrounding a vertical enthusiast community. I launched the ExoticCarNetwork in 9th grade to quench my thirst for automotive knowledge. Utilizing some preexisting architecture (PHP Nuke and vBulletin), I set out to create the ultimate destination for like-minded car guys with no model, funding, staff, or technical background. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time - but, no one really did in the 90s. ECN's success can be attributed to an unbelievable member base who contributed frequently, volunteered their time to maintain the site, and helped moderate the content.
In 2004, an active member and good friend (and later, boss at NextNewNetworks), Emil Rensing, featured us as one of SpikeTV's favorite automotive websites on his show "Spike's 52 Favorite Cars". Soon thereafter, an offer came out of left field to sell. The opportunity was too great to pass up - and I pulled the trigger.
Who do you consider your role model and why?
Many of the original members of my website have played huge rolls in both my personal and professional life. I turned to Emil Rensing (early AOL’er, TV Producer, Founder of NextNewNetworks, and current Chief Digital Officer at EpixHD) for a professional reference when applying for a generic finance job at one of the big banks in NYC when graduating college. His response, in pure Emil fashion; "*#)_*$ that Kenny. Finance is boring. Do something that you love, do it better than anyone else, and you'll be successful." I ended up working for him out of school and joining Herb Scannell at NextNewNetworks. Best decision of my life. Both Emil and Herb, as well as many other amazing executives that I’ve been fortunate enough to interface with, embody a quote that absolutely love;
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it." - Steve Jobs
What has been your biggest challenge since joining SinglePlatform in your role as VP of Business Development?
Wiley Cerilli (CEO) and I worked very hard to minimize potential objections and eliminate any barriers to working with SinglePlatform when modeling out this division of the company. Needless to say, our publisher pitch; "We will pay you to enhance your user experience" resonates well with potential partners. Especially as we're not interfering with any of their IAB standard ads and/or existing streams of revenue.
We've been very fortunate to identify and build relationships with key decision makers at historically slow-to-move companies.