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Verve Group Continues Growth, Announces Quartet of Industry Experts to Pilot Company’s Global Expansion

Ad platform brings on Stephanie Vandenberg-Smith, Corey Kulis, and Derek Hashemi; names Matthew Deets GM of Smaato; leadership to power privacy prioritization

CARLSBAD, CA, UNITED STATES, September 20, 2021 / -- Verve Group, a privacy-first omnichannel ad platform, today announced it has hired Stephanie Vandenberg-Smith as SVP of Revenue, Corey Kulis as VP of Marketing, Derek Hashemi as VP of CTV Platform. It also appointed Matthew Deets to serve as GM of Verve Group’s Smaato sector as the company continues to broaden its global influence.

The newest members bring notable expertise to the Verve Group team. Stephanie has been at the forefront of media and marketing for more than two decades and will play an integral part in advancing Verve Group’s sales strategy, revenue growth and agency and brand partnerships through her customer-first approach. Corey’s proven marketing leadership and initiative will drive the marketing team to provide clients innovative and privacy-compliant solutions to the industry’s biggest challenges. Derek’s experience and expertise in the CTV space will be key in championing Verve Group’s CTV strategy both internally and to its wide array of clients. Matthew’s years of business prowess in the adtech space will ensure an effective collaboration process as Smaato and Verve Group synergize their leading objectives.

“Our marketing and sales teams have done amazing work steering our company to new heights over the last year,” said Sameer Sondhi, CRO at Verve Group. “We are thrilled to have Stephanie, Corey, Matthew, and Derek add their superior skills as we further strengthen the company and navigate ongoing industry changes.”

Stephanie will spearhead Verve Group’s sales and partnership strategy while building and leading a best-in-class sales team with clients’ needs as its forefront focus. She is passionate about helping brands and agencies future-proof their efforts while building customer trust. Before joining Verve Group, Stephanie was SVP of Sales for OpenSlate, a brand safety and contextual data company for walled gardens including YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, where her team delivered the company’s largest revenue quarter and highest margins in company history. Stephanie also spent 10 years at omnichannel digital marketing platform NinthDecimal (acquired by InMarket) where she spearheaded and introduced the first-to-market omnichannel measurement and data solutions.

Corey will further develop and oversee the Verve Group marketing with a focus on branding, positioning and account-based marketing. He brings a successful track record of creating integrated marketing plans by orchestrating paid, owned and earned media and is eager to help the team understand its customers’ needs better than anyone else in the market. Corey most recently worked as Marketing Director at Amobee, where his team drove effective ROI on demand generation activity and a consistent brand lift year over year. Corey also served as Global Marketing Manager at mobile video advertising company AdColony, where he developed and executed the Opera Mediaworks and AdColony rebranding and managed the launch of their playable ad format Aurora™ HD Video. Prior to AdColony, Corey created strategic advertising plans across mobile, video and desktop at Conversant.

As VP of CTV Platform, Derek Hashemi will expand and solidify Verve Group’s presence in the CTV space with a focus on streamlining the customer experience. He is passionate about elevating those around him and will play a key role in ensuring the Verve Group team is well positioned to provide clients with premier solutions to the evolving CTV industry. Prior to Verve Group, Derek worked as Director of Publisher Sales for Magnite. He also worked at Rubicon Project prior to its rebranding to Magnite, where he led sales initiatives for CTV supply, provided buy-side assistance for a growing CTV demand, and spearheaded their Canadian market expansion. Derek also spent time at global adtech company Exponential Interactive as an Account Manager.

Matthew will oversee the day-to-day operations of Verve Group’s Smaato division while creating and implementing a long-term plan to ensure the sector maximizes its contributions to the Verve Group vision. He has served in leadership roles throughout his career, serving as VP of Platform for Verve Group’s VGI CTV since January 2021 where he will continue to provide essential contributions. Prior to joining Verve Group, Matthew served as VP of Platform at Nexstar Digital, as Senior Director of Platform Demand at OpenX Technologies, as VP of Partnership Development at the Rubicon Project, as Director of RTB Operations at PulsePoint, and as Director of Business Operations at CONTEXTWEB.

These four executives will help Verve Group excel at addressing customer needs amid an aggressive growth period. This leadership announcement comes on the heels of a number of strategic acquisitions made by Media and Games Invest to form Verve Group in the last 18 months—including Beemray and Smaato most recently. Verve Group has formed MGI’s media segment since early 2020. Verve Group now has offices in cities including New York, Carlsbad, Berlin, Beijing, and Sao Paulo and counts more than 200 employees (excluding Smaato).

About Verve Group
Verve Group’s omnichannel ad platform connects advertisers, agencies, brands, and publishers to people in real time. With a privacy-first approach, Verve Group offers advertising innovation at scale with full-stack programmatic solutions in brand-safe environments. The global group is a trusted partner of 5,000+ advertisers and brands with direct connections to 4,000+ publishers and apps globally. Verve Group is part of Media and Games Invest (MGI) and has an international presence with over 200 employees in 20+ offices worldwide, spanning the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Learn more at

Mark A Naples
WIT Strategy
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