Management Team

Ragnar Kruse

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

As a serial entrepreneur with 30+ years experience in IT, Ragnar Kruse understands the unique challenges in bringing new technologies to market. He has built up several companies from inception to market launch in both the US and Europe.

At Intershop Communications, a leader in E-Commerce software solutions, Ragnar was VP of Sales and Marketing in San Francisco. During his tenure, Ragnar was instrumental in the company’s growth and ushering it through a successful IPO on NASDAQ and the “Neuer Markt” in 1998.

More recently, Ragnar held key management positions at high-tech companies in the U.S. and Europe including eCharge and Xtramind. Through his many years in IT, Ragnar maintains strong relationships with companies in the telecommunications and mobile sectors, including Deutsche Telekom, Telekom New Zealand, Telstra, Telia, Cable & Wireless, Siemens, T-Online, T-Mobile, France Telecom, HP and SUN.

Ragnar started his career as an entrepreneur. In 1980, he founded IPT GmbH, a computer retail business that imported products into Germany from the USA and Taiwan. In 1987 he expanded his business by starting DTP Partner GmbH, a distribution company in Hamburg.

DTP Partner was the exclusive distributor of several desktop publishing solutions such as Corel and was instrumental in establishing international distribution agreements with American and Taiwanese companies. Ragnar studied law at the universities of Hamburg and Munich, Germany.

Petra Vorsteher

Chief Alliances Officer & Co-Founder

Petra has over 18 years of business development experience in the US and Europe. She was VP of Business Development and Strategic Alliances at Intershop Communications, Inc. with responsibility for all strategic, business and technical partnerships globally.

As founding member of Intershop, Petra was instrumental in growing the company from a start-up to a publicly listed company with a market cap of $12B and worldwide offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

She was largely responsible for Intershop’s $25M licensing deal with Deutsche Telekom and their subsequent investment in the company. Petra has formed partnerships with IBM, HP, Apple, Intel, SAP, Oracle, Procter & Gamble, eBay, Visa, FedEx, UPS and major telecommunication companies including AT & T, Sprint, Telstra, Hong Kong Telecom, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. Prior to Intershop she did market entry strategies for companies wanting to establish a presence in the US or Europe. She is a board member of Hamburg@work responsible for International alliances.

Petra was named Mobile Women to Watch 2010 by Mobile Marketer and Top Female Executive 2010 by Mobile Entertainment.

Ajitpal Pannu

Chief Business Officer

Ajitpal hails from a background in business development and product strategy from Digital Advertising Technology companies such as OpenX, AdaptiveAds, Adify and Google DoubleClick.

Over the course of 12+ years, Ajitpal has been involved in display advertising technologies, with his most recent role at OpenX. OpenX is a leader in monetization platform for publishers and one of the top global RTB exchanges. During his tenure at OpenX, Ajitpal was a key member of the business team where he positioned premium publishers industry leaders and grew the RTB marketplace. Over the course of three years OpenX’s online RTB exchange grew by more than 200% YOY.

Ajitpal continues to grow mobile RTB and drives the core business and product strategy for Smaato’s supply and demand business. Ajitpal majored in Finance at Cal State East Bay in San Francisco Bay area.

Dr. Oliver Reiss

Chief Financial Officer

Oliver has over fifteen years of experience building internet and telecommunications businesses. Most recently, he was co-founder and CFO of the mobile platform service provider Exit Games based in Germany and the USA. Oliver was instrumental in securing funding from high profile venture capital firms.

He has held a senior position in a leading European online agency and a renowned management consulting firm, where he was involved in a large number of client projects for European telecommunications and media clients, focusing on corporate development and finance projects. More recently, he founded and headed a consulting venture in the software business. Oliver received a MBA degree and Ph.D. from the Philipps-University in Marburg.

Georg Fiegen

Chief Operating Officer

Georg Fiegen has joined Smaato as the first Non-Founder in 2006, and currently acts as its COO. Prior to Smaato, he founded and managed Xplain, an internet and consulting agency company that was later acquired by Pixelpark.

Georg studied Business Administration at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany.

Laura Gaffney

Vice President, Sales AMERICAS

Laura is a veteran in the digital media space with 15+ years of experience in media sales, business development and publisher monetization. Her prior companies include leading tech companies CMP Media, Vibrant, NetShelter and Unruly Media. At Netshelter, she built and managed the company’s premium global publisher network and non-direct revenue arm.

She is highly regarded in the space as an expert in publisher monetization strategies and will leverage this expertise to drive the growth of Smaato America’s supply.

In her position as Vice President Sales, Laura is responsible for all publisher development activity in the Americas. She leads Smaato’s publisher team.

Garrett McGrath

Vice President Product Strategy

Garrett has been directly involved with the evolution of advertising technology, and more recently Real-Time Bidding, for over 15 years. Beginning with being part of a team that took from $0 to $100+ million in advertising revenue, he has been instrumental in the online or mobile advertising success of companies ranging from lean start-up to ad tech specialty to Fortune 10.

At Smaato Garrett leads the Product Strategy group, helping to ensure that Smaato stays ahead of the ever expanding and constantly changing global mobile advertising market.

Nico Bresler

Vice President Product Management

Nico gained knowledge and experience in the mobile industry as a developer and then as a Technical Product Manager in the Digital Content area at Jamba! in Berlin and later at Avato Mobile in Hamburg. He was responsible for the building of digital content solutions which included mobile payment, licensing and content management systems.

In 2009 Nico joined Smaato as Senior Product Manager and was responsible for expanding the Product Management department. Today he is responsible for the Product Management department in Hamburg and works in close collaboration with the Vice President Product Strategy Garrett McGrath in San Francisco. Nico holds a degree in Business Computing.

Ryan Klinefelter

Vice President of Corporate Development

Ryan has 10 years of corporate development and investment experience across digital media and principal investment platforms. Most recently Ryan lead the corporate development function at blinkx where he raised approximately $100 million in capital and closed four acquisitions including Grab Media, Rhythm NewMedia, Lyfe Mobile, and AdKarma. At Smaato Ryan specializes in deal sourcing and execution while leading key strategic activities for the Management team and Board.

Christo Ivanov

Vice President Engineering

Christo has over 15 years of experience in the IT business. Prior to joining Smaato, he worked at gateprotect, a leading manufacturer of network security solutions. In his position as Head of Development, Christo built and managed successfully international software development teams. Being a software developer in the past gives him the necessary technology insights and a deep understanding of the software developers’ needs.

Christo is leading and growing Smaato’s Engineering team and managing a rapid development environment that supports the company and product roadmap with respect to all platform software services. He is holding a Master Degree in Physics.

Carsten Ludowig

Vice President Sales EMEA

Carsten has 17 years of experience in digital media sales with companies including Deutsche Telekom’s Interactive Media and Gruner + Jahr EMS where he generated digital advertising revenues with premium publishers and successfully built the company’s mobile advertising business from scratch. He was one of Mobile Advertisings Circle’s founding members. Before joining Smaato Carsten had the position as Director Advertising and Partnerships at XING.

Carsten is recognized as one of mobile advertising’s pioneers in Germany, and he brings his strong sales and business development background to Smaato to expand the company’s business in the region.

In his position as Vice President Sales EMEA Carsten is responsible for all sales activity in the region. He leads Smaato’s publisher and demand team.

Malcolm Wong

Vice President Operations, APAC

Malcolm has been in Mobile Marketing since 2005. He has extensive experience setting up Mobile Advertising channels for leading mobile Internet advertising companies, media agencies, social media sites and mobile portals.

He was one of the pioneers in the space, starting to sell Mobile Web banners as early as 2005. As Director, International Partnerships for Buzzcity, he was responsible for global external partnerships, community marketing, and Mobile Internet Advertising, and headed the operations of Asia Sales & Marketing team.

He was also responsible of sales and marketing projects globally and in the Asian markets as well for companies like Zing Mobile and 24 Mobile Advertising Solutions, focusing on enabling global, large and medium companies with technology solutions to communicate and market to consumers on mobile.

Malcolm is a grassroot leader, being also deeply involved in Singapore People’s Association, as one of the leaders of the Tanjong Pagar Community Club.

Joe Hotagua

Head of Demand, AMERICAS

Joe Hotagua has several years experience in the Digital Advertising Technology space in a variety of areas including: Display Sales, Direct Response, Sell Side Technology and now Mobile.

He started his career running direct response email campaigns for Health Auto and Finance Verticals. He went on to run his own campaigns and sourced affiliate offers from the top Ad Networks before entering the programmatic space. Prior to joining Smaato, Joe led the Demand Team at OpenX where he was responsible for filling 100% of inventory for publishers like Walmart, United Online and TV Guide.

Joe joined Smaato in January 2014 and now Heads up the Demand Team in the US.

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