EXCLUSIVE: Vault AI, an emerging, tech-oriented market research firm, has made a set of key exec hires.
Heading the new roster is NRG veteran Ethan Titelman, who is joining the company as president of client solutions.
Luke Schoknecht, who ran the Australia-based brand agency Raine & Makin before beginning a consulting engagement with Vault last year, has been named Chief Marketing Officer. AJ Giovannetti, a veteran of Paramount Pictures and NRG, is coming aboard as SVP of product strategy. Also new to the fold is Rich Calabrese, executive director of insights and strategy.
Vault last December closed an $8 million Series A funding round. Investors in that round from investors included Israel-based PICO Venture Partners and Hearst Ventures, the investment arm of Hearst Corp. and an early backer of companies like Roku, Pandora and BuzzFeed. Other participants in the Series A included former Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice Chairman Yair Landau as well as existing Vault investors TV Azteca and Sky/ProSieben-backed Remagine Ventures.
Founded in 2015, the company now has a workforce of about 50 and has offices in LA and Israel.
Titelman, who was an EVP at NRG, is leading all client relationship interaction for Vault. The company uses artificial intelligence and other technology to minimize dependency on traditional elements of the research process like surveys and focus groups. The LA-based exec will focus on the theatrical and streaming filmed entertainment business, looking to expand the company’s client roster.
Schoknecht will oversee product marketing, strategic communications and thought leadership initiatives, reporting directly to CEO and co-founder David Stiff. Giovannetti is developing new products that leverage the company’s proprietary databases, machine learning technology and data science capabilities. Calabrese, who was a VP at MarketCast, will manage one of the company’s U.S. client-facing insight teams and report to Rachel Krauss, SVP of insight and strategy.
Founded in 2015, Vault AI’s executive roster also includes industry veterans Abe Recio (former SVP of Strategic Marketing & Research at Sony Pictures Entertainment) as Chief Product Officer and Rachel Krauss (former SVP at MarketCast) who is SVP Insights and Strategy.
In a statement, Stiff called Titelman “one of the most trusted minds in the consumer insights space,” adding that he has “helped many top executives launch their films and shows to the best possible outcome.”
Titelman said, “The entertainment industry is undergoing enormous change and with that, consumer insights also need to evolve. Vault AI is on the cutting edge in utilizing predictive analytics, behavioral data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to empower creative development and marketing research. I am looking forward to helping our entertainment clients be more efficient and utilize Vault AI’s new analysis – delivered faster and more accurately – to guide their creative decision-making.”
At NRG, Titelman helped rebuild the agency, which pioneered movie research and helped usher in the era of the modern blockbuster in the 1980s and ’90s before being sold to Nielsen in 2003. When Mark Penn’s investment firm the Stagwell Group bought NRG from Nielsen in 2015, Titelman helped expand its horizons beyond theatrical into streaming, TV, gaming, sports and technology. Prior to NRG, Titelman worked for more than 14 years at Penn Schoen Berland, helping to create and grow its entertainment research business.
In addition to his stint overseeing Raine & Makin, Schoknecht was a consultant with Vault AI for 14 months before joining the team full time. He helped lead Vault’s communications planning for the successful Series A raise as well as focusing on brand strategy, design and communications for the company as a whole.
Calabrese has spent about a decade in the media and entertainment research sector. He was GM and COO of Fizziology, a social analytics firm, where he led their research and account teams prior to the company’s acquisition by MarketCast in 2017. After that transaction, he became VP of entertainment accounts for MarketCast.
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