We’re excited to introduce you to the newest member of the Signpost team, Christopher DePatria. Chris joins Signpost as the Vice President of Revenue, a position we described in detail several months ago. Read below for a deeper look into Chris’s background, his perspective on local commerce, and his vision for Signpost.
How did your career path lead you to Signpost?
CDP: I have been working in the digital world for the last 7 years at three great growing companies. I started at the ground level with Yahoo in NYC and within my first 3 years, worked my way up to run the inside sales division. After several years of success working in a corporate environment, I decided I needed startup experience to learn how to build a business from the ground up. Yodle was an ideal place to gain that experience. I learned how to be strategic, scrappy, and execute with the cards we were dealt. Yodle also offered a great way for me to jump into the growing and lucrative local space. In the beginning of 2011, AOL’s local property, Patch, hired me to scale their internal team, which we did at a record pace. From my experiences with these companies I knew it was time to jump head first into a strong, unique start up. Signpost was the perfect fit.
What made you ultimately decide to join the Signpost team?
CDP: When considering a new opportunity I always evaluate 3 pillars; the industry, the product, and the leadership team. I truly believe that Signpost is in one of the hottest and most exciting industries. It’s in the middle of two funnels, local and digital. This allows for both a huge upside in growth and increased valuation. The product is also very unique and disruptive to the local daily deals model. From my experience you can only “win” in the local game if you can keep your clients happy and coming back for more. I am confident with our service and price points, Signpost clients will get a positive ROI and be excited for a long term partnership. Last, but certainly not least, is the people. A company is only as good as its leaders and I was impressed and confident with the cofounders’ strategic vision. Signpost impressed me from my first lunch with the CEO to my last meeting sitting on the floor with the sales reps. I want to work for a company where the employees will run through walls to accomplish their goals, and Signpost has just that.
Why are you interested in local advertising?
CDP: Its no secret that everything is shifting to the digital world and the local space is no exception. There are over 1 million retail businesses in the US alone that do over $4 trillion in revenue. 70% of all local spend will be online by 2015. This means there is a tremendous opportunity to be a big part of this transformation. From a personal standpoint, there is no better feeling in sales then when a business owner calls you back and thanks for you saving their company. With the right product and target market, you can truly help someone keep their dream alive and grow their small business to unprecedented levels.
What have you learned over the last several years working in the local space? What do you see as the biggest challenges for local businesses?
CDP: As I mentioned earlier, it’s no secret that the local space will be one of the hottest markets for 2012. Many companies (including the big players like Yahoo, Google, Amazon, etc) are taking their shot at monetizing a local product. To date, most of the entrants in local have had trouble creating enough value to justify the cost of reaching and servicing small businesses. Successful business owners are smart about their expenses and hesitant to commit to (or continue paying for) products if they don’t see results. Signpost’s model is unique in the local space: 94% of our merchants get more impressions, clicks and purchases each week than any other major platform. Our ability to track results and outperform other platforms makes the product significantly easier to sell. Another major advantage is that Signpost’s model is focused on closed loop transactions: businesses gain exposure while also driving advanced sales. At the end of the day, it’s about delivering paying customers to the merchant’s door, and Signpost does just that.
How do you plan to drive impact at Signpost and in the local advertising space as a whole?
CDP: I woke up this morning honestly excited to step foot into the Signpost office. I know we have a huge opportunity ahead of us and with the right strategy and execution we can own a huge chunk of this space. I plan on driving an impact at Signpost through hiring a top-notch sales team and providing them with the tools they need to be successful. I want my sales reps to become partners for their clients and provide them with the right solutions. Trust is crucial in this business, and by showing real results, that’s exactly what we will build in the local business community.
Shameless plug: we’re currently building a team of rock star sales associates who are up for running through some walls with us. If you or someone you know is interested in working for a growing startup dedicated to helping small businesses, give us a shout!