The board of Santa Monica startup Glossi Inc. announced last week that Matt Edelman, who spent the last three years transforming struggling website ThisNext into Glossi, would step down as chief executive in coming weeks. He will transition into an advisory role with the company.
No replacement has yet been named, but the change continues Glossi’s transition from its social shopping roots: The digital magazine platform plans to bring in a new chief executive with experience in the online publishing space.
Sumant Mandal, a managing director at venture capital firm Clearstone Venture Partners and a Glossi board member, said a new chief executive would be named shortly.
“We all just felt it best to get someone in who came with having built a business in this space (publisher platform and tools) and distribution while Matt continues to help as an adviser,” Mandal wrote in an email.
In a statement provided to the Business Journal, Edelman said he and the board mutually agreed that it was time for the company to bring in new leadership as the business continues to progress.
“As the founder, I’m excited about Glossi’s future and continuing to help the company,” he said.
Edelman joined the company in 2010 when it was known as ThisNext and operated a portfolio of fashion and shopping websites. But the business struggled to keep up with more popular social shopping sites and changing Google search algorithms.
When he realized the business wasn’t working, Edelman and his team went back to the drawing board and came up with the idea of a publishing platform for digital magazines. The platform seemed especially suited to tap into a growing number of advertisers and marketers looking to create branded content.
Last October, ThisNext changed its name to Glossi, raised a round of seed funding from Clearstone and Anthem Venture Partners, previous ThisNext investors, and rebooted the business.
The company still operates the ThisNext and StyleHive websites, which have been generating diminishing revenue.
In an earlier statement to the Business Journal, Mandal praised Edelman’s work in turning the company around. He maintained that Edelman would continue to have influence at Glossi, if not in a leadership position.
“As the company heads into the next stage of its evolution, Matt Edelman will transition from CEO to being an adviser to the company where he will continue to remain engaged in the business well into the future,” Mandal said.
Glossi reported that it is generating more than 2 million page views per month, about double the page views reported in June.
Authors such as Margaret Atwood have used Glossi to preview novels, brands such as “Hunger Games” have staged contests for fans to create digital magazines, and traditional magazines such as Cosmopolitan are using Glossi to showcase online content.
The company offers its magazine publishing tools for free, but plans to launch a paid subscription version.
It has also been adding more professional tools to its kit, including monetization through affiliate fees, a platform for running contests and updated ways to publish the magazines on other websites.
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