Justin Wisz, the co-founder of Vestorly, a widely used content marketing platform for advisors, has left the company to join venture capital firm RTP Ventures. Wisz’s co-founder Ralph Pahlmeyer has replaced him as CEO. The two said the departure was amicable, and that Wisz still retains his equity stake in the company.
Wisz, who founded Vestorly in 2011, said the direction of the company no longer aligned with his interest, which is being an entrepreneur. The company has matured beyond the startup phase, he said, so he’s looking for his next idea to launch.
“I’m a founder. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an investor,” he said. “And Vestorly is getting into its next stages of operations. I’ve started to really think to myself about looking to opportunities where my skills can shine and really add value,” Wisz said, in an interview with WealthManagement.com.
“Guys like me, when you birth a startup, you’re with it for so long, you push it and you push yourself, and then you start to naturally look for the next experience to birth—the next thing,” he added. “There’s so much opportunity at the early stage right now. It’s the best time in the world to start a company.”
Wisz co-founded Vestorly in 2011 with Pahlmeyer, raising over $2 million in early seed financing backed by AlphaPrime Ventures, Gaspar Global Ventures and Formation 8, the venture capital fund of Addepar’s Joe Lonsdale. (Wisz was named one of WealthManagement.com’s Ten to Watch in 2015.) The platform sources content from across the web and packages it for advisor distribution to deepen client relationships and generate new prospects.
The company has grown to 25 employees with over 2,000 clients, ranging from small registered investment advisors to large enterprises, such as Bank of New York Mellon, Northern Trust and Metlife. Pahlmeyer says revenue has grown 30 percent year-over-year over the past three years. Paul Stamm has taken over Pahlmeyer’s role as head of product.
While Vestorly was built to work with individual RIAs, Pahlmeyer says the company has shifted to a focus on larger enterprises. Most small- and medium-sized companies don’t have the resources to plug into Vestorly’s application programming interface.
“We are focused on the bigger enterprise customer now; I see that as where the biggest source of growth is going to come in and where we can really leverage the best of our technology suite, which is our content engine,” Pahlmeyer said.
The company will soon be announcing a new partnership with Hootsuite, for example, which will use its content engine for its employee advocacy tool, Amplify, as well as their enterprise product.
“You can think about Vestorly’s content engine like a Pandora or Spotify for music; we’re doing the same thing with content,” he said.
“The outlook for marketing automation is huge,” says Tim Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy. “There’s always a demand from advisors for help with marketing. They’re not good at it. They need advice and guidance. They don’t have any time or resources. So whenever you can automate that or come up with some sort of technology solution for it, I think it’s got a good chance.”
Regarding reports about employee dissatisfaction at the company, Pahlmeyer said Vestorly is no different than any other tech company with a strong engineering-based culture and turnover rates.
“Vestorly’s a high-growth tech startup,” Wisz said. “We hired really fast, and we had turnover on the sales team. I wouldn’t say there’s anything there that is atypical from a very fast-growing tech startup in the industry, or in any industry.”