Beacon Platform inMarket Names Gimbal Co-Founder Kevin Hunter As President
Hunter is in charge of strategic partnerships, biz dev, and product.
Gimbal COO Kevin Hunter has left the proximity platform to join rival location-based marketing provider inMarket in the role of president, just as the role of beacons has started to gain traction as a place-based channel for indoor engagement and communication.
A widely respected executive who holds 17 patents in the location space, Hunter co-founded Gimbal, guiding it from its incubation within Qualcomm Labs through its spin off as a private entity in May 2014. Hunter had been with Qualcomm since 2006.
Blazing Beacon Trails
Both inMarket and Gimbal can be considered pioneers in proximity marketing. Thanks in part to Hunter’s deal-making acumen, Gimbal won credibility itself early on, with a number of high profile partnerships. It was the Apple Stores’ first beacon provider of choice; it also was able to show off its reach beyond retail with expansive installations throughout AEG’s network of concert and sports venues, including The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Those use cases led Gimbal into key alliances with tech companies looking to tap into its beacons and geofencing capabilities. Just after it split from Qualcomm, it became sought after by tech platforms and media companies PlaceWise Media, Marketo, Shazam, and Verve Mobile.
Meanwhile, five-year-old inMarket has focused sharply on building a beacon network among supermarkets and grocers across the country, steering chains such as Marsh and brands like Procter & Gamble, McCormick & Company, Hillshire to explore beacon-based marketing.
With competition in the proximity space having grown rapidly, both Gimbal and inMarket have taken steps to set themselves apart from the pack. In Gimbal’s case, the company has unveiled longer-lasting battery-powered beacons, expanded its out-of-home programs, and acquired in-app rich media location startup Phigital.
Widening its expertise hasn’t been Gimbal’s only change. Gimbal has established its independence from its Qualcomm beginnings, and it has also seen a some major organizational moves at the top.
At the end of July, Gimbal’s transition from Qualcomm appeared complete, as CEO Rocco Fabiano, who led the company with Hunter, handed the position to Jeff Russakow. With the integration of some members of the Phigital executive team on the product and the marketing side, Hunter may have been open to some new challenges.
For example, inMarket has recently expanded its purview from concentrating on connecting customers in the supermarket aisle to powering beacons at stadium events to adding predictive analytics and retargeting.
“inMarket is responsible for some of the most groundbreaking projects in the beacon and mobile proximity space, and I’m thrilled to be joining the team at such an exciting time as our industry turns a corner,” Hunter said in a statement. “Mobile proximity solutions are top-of-mind for the smartest retailers and brands. At inMarket, we’re going to help these stakeholders build better relationships with their customers, while optimizing their marketing investment for real world ROI.”
‘A Rising Star’
In this new role, Hunter will oversee strategic partnerships, business development, and product management.
inMarket CEO Todd Dipaola offered high praise for Hunter, who, prior to his role at Gimbal, helped manage Sprint’s rollout of the very first data services and mobile websites, including the Emmy award-winning Sprint TV.
“Kevin Hunter is one of the brightest stars in mobile,” Dipaola said. We’ve been awed by his visionary track record of pushing mobile to the next level and driving real results. inMarket’s clients continue to realize the previously unattainable benefits driven by fusing the offline and online world. We’re thrilled to have Kevin onboard as a leader to take our ambient intelligence platform to the next level, through revolutionary marketing, personalization, and frictionless consumer experiences.”