Photo: CBS Interactive
Early Googler and Associated Content CEO Patrick Keane has had quite the career.After his four year stint at Google, Keane became CMO of CBS Interactive. He was CEO of Associated Content when it was acquired by Yahoo! for $100 million. Now he’s giving back to the New York tech scene. He’s been mentoring startups in TechStars, joining their boards, and giving them capital.
Most recently, Keane joined OnSwipe as an independent board member. AOL executive Ran Harnevo, who sold 5Min for $65 million, joined too.
We called him up to get his take on the New York startup scene and OnSwipe.
“I’ve worked inside billion-dollar publishing companies and billion-dollar tech companies. The reality of the web is, unless you’re a consumer retail or commerce company, you’re going to generate revenue through advertising,” says Keane. Those advertising and content creating companies are the startups he looks to invest in.
Keane says he was first introduced to OnSwipe through Andy Weissman when he was at Betaworks. He wanted to invest in the “Series Awesome” round but wasn’t able to. He was eager to join its board.
“I got to know [OnSwipe CEO] Jason Baptiste. Something about him is very infectious, and I mean that in a very compelling way. He’s a scattered, beautifully engaged kind of guy,” says Keane.
Aside from being drawn to Baptiste, Keane says OnSwipe has billion-dollar business potential. Not only does OnSwipe provide a great service to publishers, but it also creates a beautiful tablet solution for advertisers. OnSwipe helps publishers avoid paying to develop an app and instead turns their sites into an HTML-5 compatible, tablet-friendly version.
For advertisers, OnSwipe is gathering unique tablet data and offering immersive tablet solutions. Tablets only make up 3% of total web views now, but Keane is betting that percentage will grow. He thinks OnSwipe will be the company that helps advertisers and publishers alike monetise that inventory. Right now, OnSwipe is collecting information including what time of day people use the devices and how they like to hold it (vertically or horizontally).
“In my heart I’m a consumer media tech guy,” says Keane. “Web advertising is now a $50 billion business. A big reason why I went to Google was to make advertising useful and more relevant. A lot of the companies I associate myself with are trying to make advertising more relevant they’re creating compelling, useful content for consumers.” He says Bleacher Report and OnSwipe are doing just that.
As for the New York tech scene, Keane can’t believe how it’s grown.
“When I worked at Jupiter years ago, we would write about a lot of intriguing tech companies in Seattle and the Bay Area,” says Keane. “It’s just amazing to see Tumblr and Etsy and Foursquare building mass scale consumer companies here.”