Fresh from a new round of funding and a high-profile acquisition, shopping recommendation and related lifestyles site ThisNext has tapped PeopleJam founder Matt Edelman to help focus its content offerings and scout additional purchases, paidContent has learned. Edelman, who launched “improve your life” site PeopleJam in 2007, officially started as ThisNext’s CEO last week. He replaces Scott Morrow, who has left the company. Morrow has been credited with building up the Santa Monica, CA-based company — helping complete its recent $1.2 million third round and the acquisition of rival StyleHive two months ago — but ThisNext wanted someone who could manage the company through what is hoped to be wider growth phase.
Edelman sold PeopleJam last June to self-help media company Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing. Before PeopleJam, Edelman ran the global publishing operation for Mforma Group, which is now mobile gaming company Hands-On Mobile. It was through those past experiences, Edelman came to know ThisNext’s former CEO and co-founder Gordon Gould and Anthem Venture Partners’ Bill Woodward, who recommended him for the CEO role.
The social shopping space has really taken off in the past year, with companies like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La attracting partnerships with established content publishers like Condé Nast and Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. In an interview with paidContent, Edelman said he was brought in to build partnerships with third parties and in many cases, it will involve some sort of content relationship. However, he declined to offer specific about what sort of content he would look to add to ThisNext and StyleHive.
Secondly, Edelman expects to do more acquisitions along the lines of StyleHive as well. “One of the first things I’m concentrating on is the further integration of StyleHive and MyStyleDiary, the latter part being something that was under-appreciated by the press who covered the StyleHive acquisition, more closely with ThisNext,” Edelman said. “Each have content and assets that can fit well together on the others’ site. At the same, we are absolutely looking for strategic loops. There are some exciting properties out there and some exciting individuals who have created loyal following that would match up nicely with ThisNext’s offerings.” ThisNext is already having discussions with companies that Edelman suggested “might have a greater role in ThisNext’s future.”
ThisNext is still pretty small as there are currently only 12 employees there. Edelman doesn’t expect a “hiring spree in the near term,” but there will likely be more staffers later this year. But before that, Edelman is most interested in developing a more enhanced mobile experience for ThisNext, since that’s an area that the site doesn’t have much of a presence in.
As an entrepreneur who has helped create and sell a startup, I asked Edelman if he was also brought in to explore any possible sales for ThisNext. He dismissed that that wasn’t the case. “I’m working on building, not selling,” he said.
Asked why someone who has no direct background in social shopping would want to take the lead of such a company, Edelman said, “ThisNext had three-and-a-half years of tapping into consumer behavior and purchase intent. For us, that means we know how to get products in front of the people who want them. That’s a pretty big business opportunity for me, personally.”
Update: ThisNext has posted its own Q&A with Edelman on its blog here.