- Skimlinks CEO Alicia Navarro and chief product officer Joe Stepniewski will step down from their day-to-day roles at the affiliate marketing startup.
- Navarro will become president more than a decade after cofounding the startup, handing the reins to chief revenue officer Sebastien Blanc.
- Stepniewski will pursue a new venture but hasn’t revealed any further details.
- Navarro is well-known and well-liked in the UK tech scene, and Skimlinks has outlasted peers founded at a similar time.
LONDON – Skimlinks CEO Alicia Navarro is to step down from the affiliate marketing startup, more than a decade after founding the UK business.
Navarro will hand the reins to chief revenue officer Sebastien Blanc. Chief product officer and cofounder Joe Stepniewski will also step down.
Navarro won’t be out of the business entirely, however, and will stay on as president. She told Business Insider she was stepping down after initially attempting to sell the business.
“I certainly thought I would be there from beginning to end,” Navarro said. “By the end, there is this weird pressure that the right goal to aspire to is an exit. It’s ironic – surely it should be that the company keeps going and continues to be a success. It feels like an arbitrary thing to aspire to. But I was nonetheless swept away by that.
“The company is doing really well and it seemed like a stupid thing to force a sale so that I would be there for it. It’s an ego-driven thing. The company was achieving a level of success and growth that it needed a different type of leadership. [I was] able to take a cold hard look at my strengths and weaknesses and what it would take to get the company to the next level.”
That person, she decided along with Skimlinks’ board, was Blanc.
A sale is still on the table, provided the right offer comes along. Navarro said her role as president will involve advocating for Skimlinks and finding a potential buyer down the line. What’s tough, she added, is giving up the glory.
“We’ve had a lot of interest, but nothing has been commensurate with the value we know we can bring. There is no pressure to sell. All the investors are aware we’re onto a good thing – we’re not wanting $1 billion.
“From an ego perspective, it’s awesome to say that I did it,” she added. “But a large part of my role as president will be to foster relationships with customers we know will be potential buyers.”
Navarro is well-known and well-liked in the UK tech scene. She is one of the rare prominent female founders in the UK, and established the business with Stepniewski in 2007, when London’s tech scene was still nascent. Skimlinks has outlived peers such as Powa and Songkick, both also founded in 2007, and raised a total of $24 million (£17 million) in venture capital funding.
Still, a glance over a company’s accounts show that it hasn’t been easy – and life is about to get more difficult with strict new European privacy rules.
Skimlinks also collects data about people’s shopping habits. That data is used by agencies and demand-side platforms to power targeted ads.
According to Skimlinks’ most recent financial filings, the company reported around £7 million in revenue for 2016, and a loss of £1.7 million. Navarro said the 2017 revenue figure is closer to £10 million. The figures represent Skimlinks’ commission, and Navarro said the company makes more like $50 million (£35.5 million) before it pays out to publishers.
Navarro said she doesn’t have immediate plans, but may start a new venture after taking some time off and considering her options. Stepniewski has “other ideas.” Navarro said, but he hasn’t revealed his future plans.