Boulder-based TapInfluence opening Silicon Valley office, adds CTO

BOULDER – The rapid growth of Boulder marketing software company TapInfluence Inc. is spilling over into Silicon Valley.

Company officials are announcing this week plans to open an engineering office in Mountain View, Calif., and chief executive Promise Phelon said in a phone interview Wednesday morning that the company made the first hire for the new office on Tuesday.

Eli Gild, who recently was hired in the newly created role of chief technology officer, will run the office in California, which TapInfluence officials said will initially house seven to 10 employees and open officially in April. Phelon said that number could double next year based on the pace of TapInfluence’s growth as a company overall.

The new office will be staffed primarily by data scientists, large-scale engineering talent and some product people.

“We’re sort of getting the specialization in data science and big data,” Phelon said. “Most of that team will be in Mountain View.”

TapInfluence provides a software-as-a-service platform that helps marketers automate the process of finding key online influencers and connecting with them to create sponsored content featuring their brands.

Phelon, who joined the company last year and moved to Colorado from Silicon Valley, said the new Mountain View office is by no means the sign of a shift in the company’s center of gravity. She said the Boulder office will continue to have more engineers overall than the California office.

“It’s more about getting the best engineers wherever they are,” Phelon said.

Phelon said the company will have about 60 people in all by the end of this month, with all but the new California hires in Boulder. That’s twice as many as the company had when Phelon was hired nearly a year ago, and Phelon said she expects to be at 100 or more employees by the end of the year. She said that over time she expects the Mountain View office to be about 15 percent of TapInfluence’s employee base.

She said the environment and growth on the Front Range, particularly the influx of millennials moving into the state, make Boulder a good fit for TapInfluence. The company, which is based in east Boulder, is on the hunt for a downtown Boulder location where it could move the headquarters.

“I don’t see any eventuality where we would leave what I view as one of the best places to (expand) a fast-growing company,” Phelon said.

The addition of Gild is part of the ongoing growth and evolution of TapInfluence since Phelon took over that has seen the company shift from more of a services-based model to the SaaS model. Co-founder Rustin Banks remains as chief product officer. Co-founder Holly Hamann, meanwhile, left the role of chief marketing officer recently and moved into a part-time marketing adviser role. Phelon said the company is currently seeking someone with that type of CMO experience.

Gild joins TapInfluence from HDS Global where he was also CTO. He has held the same role with companies like talent-management startup Upmo and social-gaming company KickNation. He’s an MIT computer science and engineering grad with an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“Eli has the right background and depth of experience to bring new levels of intelligence and scale to our platform,” Phelon said of Gild in a release announcing his hiring. “Although Eli is a data scientist at heart, he’s also a proven strategist and manager with extraordinary foresight and operational expertise.”