1. Eric Franchi – the many overtones of Undertone

Eric Franchi is tri-state native and son of public school teachers. He made his way to About.com as a hard-charging sales rep during the late-90’s dot com boom, selling digital ads to brands who were about to feel the pressure of a reeling post-2001 economy. With a buddy from About.com, he went on to found a company that was eventually called Undertone. He and David Cassidy started as a two-man shop with a fax machine in a Silicon Alley warehouse, buying ads for Orbitz and Netflix in the days when they were soliciting subscribers for their mail-order DVD business. And then he discovered pop-unders — a short-lived but high-impact ad unit that was richly interactive and (in time) richly overused. Then came browser pop-blockers and the refashioning of Undertone into a premium ad network with about 300 employees when it was sold to Perion in 2015. Franchi is currently co-founder and principal at MathCapital, an early-stage venture fund that focuses on ad tech visionaries.

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