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Internet Natives Will Rule The Workplace

Thursday of last week we debuted Bowery Capital to the world. I was excited to finally put the past 6 months behind us and get back to work. One of the biggest things we talked about when raising the $33M was our thesis and how it will play out over the next 10-20 years. Below is a slide from our fundraising deck which I think most clearly articulates a big part of that thesis.

Digital-NativesSince around 2011, we started to notice a sizable shift in the types of folks we were meeting and their seniority within corporations. Given our focus they were generally marketers and technologists and had started their careers in a junior position or maybe got to a bigger company via M&A. While we had known them for a bit, by 2011 we noticed these same contacts had started to manage people and control budgets. Not huge budgets or entire divisions like the CMO or the CTO would control, but enough dollars to be dangerous. What were they doing to warrant quick promotions and high-level placements? In a nutshell, not thinking about technology tools like their bosses of the prior generation.

These are CTO types like Randy Meech, who founded Patch while at Google, was acquired by AOL and three years later found himself running the Local / Maps division of AOL as their SVP of Engineering. When building Mapquest 2.0 Randy was highly influential in AOLs shift to new tools like Open Street Maps, Mongo/10 Gen, Mapnik, Open Layers and Nominatim.

These are also CMO types like Katherine Bahamonde who came to C Wonder after stints as an eCommerce marketer at Juicy Couture, Lululemon, Sears and Nike (she now serves as their CMO). Like Randy, she has also been highly influential to her company in re-shaping the role of eCommerce within the corporation and swapping older-generation products for new solutions like DemandWare, Magento, Acquity and others.

To summarize, we believe we are in the beginnings of a long shift in corporate hiring best practices in which marketing and IT decision-makers replace “risk and safety” with “growth and leverage” as it relates to spend. It’s this effort that is making the way for the rise of the digitally native CMO and CTO, a phenomenon to be fully realized over the next 10-20 years.

Mike Brown
Mike Brown

Mike is the Managing Partner at Bowery Capital based in New York. Prior to Bowery Capital, Brown co-founded AOL Ventures and led investments in over 30 companies primarily focused around the next generation of CMO and CTO spend. Before AOL Ventures, Mike worked for the investment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, helping to invest capital in early stage internet startups on behalf of the British entrepreneur. He began his career at Morgan Stanley. Outside of his professional life Brown serves on the Board of Directors of the National Forest Foundation and co-chairs the Columbia College Young Leaders Council. Mike holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia University.