Stephen Messer is the vice chairman of Collective[i] and a founder of the company, along with Tad Martin and Heidi Messer, his sister. Prior to Collective[i], Stephen and Heidi co-founded LinkShare Corporation, a host to one of the world’s largest online affiliate networks, linking advertisers with publishers. With Stephen as chairman and CEO, LinkShare was for two consecutive years recognized by Deloitte &Touche as the fastest-growing technology company in the New York Region. Stephen was awarded the Best Service to the Industry award by ABestWeb, recognizing his contributions to development of the affiliate marketing industry, and in 2005 he received the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the New York Region. In 2005, he and Heidi sold LinkShare to Rakuten (4755:JASDAQ) for $425 million.
Stephen is a co-founder of World Evolved, a platform for global investment and expansion, and is or has been an adviser to Industry Ventures; Tribeca Venture Partners; Massive Incorporated, which was acquired by Microsoft; LoyaltyLab, which was acquired by Tibco; and Netplenish. Additionally, he is an investor in numerous start-up ventures, including DODOcase; the nanosatellite company Spire; and LifeBooker. He is currently, or has been, on the boards of Collective[i], Spire, LifeBooker, the Association for Interactive Media (AIM), and Vente, which was acquired by Experian. Before co-founding LinkShare, he produced and directed studies on cyber-communications and telecommunications as an assistant director of the Columbia University Institute of Tele-Information (CITI). Stephen holds a J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and a B.A. from Lafayette College.