More NewsCNN.com, NYTimes.com Vets Partner on Mysterious Ad Venture

CNN.com, NYTimes.com Vets Partner on Mysterious Ad Venture

Jason Krebs, David Payne team up on a start-up, operating in secrecy, that aims to remove inefficiencies from the display ad market.

Two seasoned digital execs are working on a new venture that aims to remove friction from the ad brokering process for both publishers and advertisers. Jason Krebs, former VP of sales at New York Times Digital, will work with David Payne, SVP and general manager of CNN.com, to launch the General Catalyst-backed firm.

The as yet unnamed firm is not an ad network, agency, or exchange, according to Krebs, who declined to offer many specifics for fear of tipping off potential competitors. He said the technology-driven effort would seek to create more efficiencies in the display media marketplace, in particular between premium publishers and Fortune 500 advertisers. A key philosophy behind the mysterious start-up, he emphasized, is to preserve the role of human relationships in the ad buying process.

“We believe in the relationships between publishers and their advertisers… and we’re going to build on that,” said Krebs. “This is as much a thought driven medium as it is a numbers driven medium.”

Krebs and Payne plan to establish bases of operations in Atlanta and New York City. Approximately 20 staffers will be spread across ad operations, sales, and engineering functions. General Catalyst is a financial backer of the start-up, but the founders aren’t disclosing the size of its stake. PaidContent first mentioned the news.

Krebs was most recently VP of Cond&eacute Nast Media Group Interactive, a unit he created. Before that, he spent eight years with the New York Times Company, most recently as VP of sales and marketing for NYTimes.com. David Payne previously led CNN.com site operations, including business development, editorial, finance, marketing, and product development. His last day was Friday. The two have never worked together.

If all goes well with the start-up, Krebs said larger advertisers and publishers will have an all around easier time working together on display ad transactions.

“What we’ve heard from the marketplace on both sides… is there’s the need for a little more work to make the process more efficient,” he said. “David and I believe in the existing power of Internet publishers, and our business will look forward to expanding on the already wonderful relationship between those publishers and their clients.”

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