The CEO of London unicorn Ve Interactive is out after failing to pay employees on time

David Brown Ve InteractiveVe Interactive/FacebookVe Interactive’s founder David Brown

The founder of marketing technology company Ve Interactive, David Brown, has stepped down as CEO after failing to make payroll on time.

Brown will take the role of “technology adviser” with the London-based startup.

Martin Tonnesen, currently CEO of VC firm Aston Ventures, will take over Brown’s job.

Ve Interactive is an ad tech company that works with businesses including retailers, universities, and publishers to boost online conversion rates. It was founded in 2009.

The company confirmed the executive changes in a statement after The Financial Times reported Brown’s resignation on Friday.

Aston Ventures is leading a consortium of investors in a new funding round for VE Interactive. A spokesman declined to give an amount, saying it wasn’t a “fixed figure.”

For now, the startup has received an immediate cash injection and the consortium plans to raise a “significant sum” in the coming weeks. The group includes existing Ve Interactive investor Mark Pearson and a number of unnamed shareholders.

Brown said: “I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved at Ve over the last seven years, and I have a lot of confidence in the incoming team. I am looking forward to focusing on the product and technology vision after handing over the CEO reins to Morten. As part of my new advisory position, I will be cooperating in the transition over the coming weeks.”

Stuart Chambers, former chairman of ARM, will also be involved in the transition process. Chambers was due to join Ve Interactive as chairman but has reportedly delayed joining the company.

Ve Interactive’s financial troubles were first reported by The Financial Times, which found the company had paid its employees late in December, January, and February. The company reportedly employs more than 1,000 people.

The startup is valued at $US1.5 billion (£1.2 billion), but has reportedly failed to hit its own ambitious revenue and profit targets.

Outwardly, its investors are bullish. Commenting on the executive changes, Aston Ventures founding partner Douglas Barrowman described Ve Interactive as a “flagship technology startup” in the UK.

He added: “Backed by us and under the leadership of Morten, a gifted operator with experience of working in a multi-billion dollar NASDAQ-listed technology company we believe Ve will enter the UK’s tech Hall of Fame.”

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