Freeman Steps Down as Betawave CEO

Matt Freeman is leaving Betawave, the mom- and kid-focused ad network he joined 18 months ago and where he serves as chief executive.
 
Freeman, a former CEO at Tribal DDB, is relinquishing his post to Betawave president Tabreez Verjee, a parting Freeman described as “very amicable.” He will remain on the
company’s board of directors as vice chairman. Freeman said he’s undecided on his next move but would pursue opportunities back in the agency world, with a media company or possibly in marketing technology.
 
“I’m up for different adventures,” he said, noting that Betawave remains a “very small company” still. “It’s a $10 million company and even with a high growth rate it’s a $10 million company. I want to run something bigger.”
 
Freeman said he would assist in Betawave’s search for a new CEO.
 
In July 2008, Freeman departed Tribal DDB, which he led for a decade, to join what was then called GoFish. He renamed the company Betawave, recapitalized it with $22.5 million in funding and focused it on providing brands with attention-based advertising on a network reaching 31 million people through sites like Meez, Miniclip and Shutterfly.
 
By Freeman’s own admission, it proved somewhat of a tough sell, particularly as the economy cratered.
 
“It’s hard to get an audience for innovation,” Freeman said. “It’s nobody’s fault, but because of the pressure on clients agencies and media companies, there’s a bit of choking on innovation right now.”
 
Freeman is the second top executive to depart Betawave in recent weeks. Mike Parker, a former Tribal exec, also left the company late last month to return to Tribal as co-president of its U.S. operations.