TAD MARTIN, OUR CEO, WAS ONCE A COO who was tired of being stressed about the details he couldn’t pin down each month. In the age of Big Data, he knew that no one should have to operate without knowledge.
In 1996, Heidi Messer and Stephen Messer, our chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, created LinkShare, one of the largest networks for commission-based sales on the Internet. Their clients quickly experienced what a network makes possible, and the company posted triple-digit growth, year after year.
Together, our three co-founders saw that sales and marketing operations are a perfect fit for the type of rich knowledge that a network-based framework makes possible. They created Collective[i] with the understanding that when Operations are empowered, businesses are transformed.
TAD MARTIN is the CEO of Collective[i] and a founder of the company, along with Heidi Messer and Stephen Messer.
Tad was one of the Web’s early pioneers and has extensive experience growing Internet companies from startups into mature organizations.
Prior to Collective[i], Tad was COO and GMM of Overstock.com, where he oversaw all aspects of warehouse operations, customer care and product purchasing. He was one of its earliest employees, and during his tenure Overstock grew from $70 million in revenue to more than $800 million and became a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: OSTK).
Tad came to Overstock through Gear.com, an online sporting goods retailer backed by Amazon.com. He helped to grow Gear from an early stage startup into the world’s largest e-commerce sporting goods closeout site, before its sale to Overstock in 2000.
Tad is a member of the Collective[i] board of directors and was on the board of SendTheTrend, which was acquired by QVC.
Tad is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, and as a native of Utah was proud to be a member of the Olympic bid committee that brought the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to Salt Lake City.
He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Utah, is an avid cyclist and lives and works in New York City.
HEIDI MESSER is the chairman of Collective[i] and a founder of the company, along with Tad Martin and Stephen Messer, her brother.
Heidi has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the digital economy since the commercialization of the Internet, and in 1996, with Stephen, she co-founded LinkShare Corporation, a host to one of the world’s largest online affiliate networks, linking advertisers with publishers.
With Heidi as president and COO, LinkShare was for two consecutive years recognized by Deloitte & Touche as the fastest-growing technology company in the New York Region. Heidi and Stephen managed LinkShare until its 2005 sale to Rakuten (4755:JASDAQ) for $425 million.
Heidi is the co-founder and CEO of World Evolved, a platform for global investment and expansion, and a founding member of the Zokei Network, an invitation-only global network of exceptional artists, technologists, scientists and business leaders who convene for inspiration in private salons around the world.
Heidi is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, digital marketing, technology and the future of the Internet and has been cited by The New York Times, The Nikkei and Women’s Wear Daily, among other publications and media outlets. She’s also received several honors, among them her inclusion on the Goldman Sachs 2012 list of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.
Heidi is chairman of the board of Cross Commerce Media, which operates as Collective[i]. She’s also an active angel investor in a number startups, including Spire, LifeBooker and DODOcase. She serves on the Brown University Women’s Leadership Council, the Physics and Astronomy Advisory Council at Johns Hopkins University and advisory boards of the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program, Dell Computers, NBC Universal and American Express Open.
Heidi received a B.A. from Brown University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, as well as a J.D. from Harvard Law School, from which she graduated cum laude. She lives and works in New York City.
STEPHEN MESSER is the vice chairman of Collective[i] and a founder of the company, along with Tad Martin and Heidi Messer, his sister.
Prior to Collective[i], Stephen and Heidi co-founded LinkShare Corporation, a host to one of the world’s largest online affiliate networks, linking advertisers with publishers.
With Stephen as chairman and CEO, LinkShare was for two consecutive years recognized by Deloitte & Touche as the fastest-growing technology company in the New York Region.
Stephen was awarded the Best Service to the Industry award by ABestWeb, recognizing his contributions to development of the affiliate marketing industry, and in 2005 he received the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the New York Region.
In 2005, he and Heidi sold LinkShare to Rakuten (4755:JASDAQ) for $425 million.
Stephen is a co-founder of World Evolved, a platform for global investment and expansion, and is or has been an adviser to Industry Ventures; Tribeca Venture Partners; Massive Incorporated, which was acquired by Microsoft; LoyaltyLab, which was acquired by Tibco; and Netplenish.
Additionally, he is an investor in numerous start-up ventures, including DODOcase; the nanosatellite company Spire; and LifeBooker. He is currently, or has been, on the boards of Collective[i], Spire, LifeBooker, the Association for Interactive Media (AIM), and Vente, which was acquired by Experian.
Before co-founding LinkShare, he produced and directed studies on cyber-communications and telecommunications as an assistant director of the Columbia University Institute of Tele-Information (CITI).
Stephen holds a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and a B.A. from Lafayette College. He lives and works in New York City.