Eric Franchi, cofounder of the digital ad firm Undertone, is leaving the company after 16 years.
“Over the past year, investing in and advising startups has grown from a side project into an obsession for me,” he told Business Insider. “I’m going to be focusing on that full time from here.”
Undertone was founded in 2001 as an early digital ad network-essentially selling ads for other websites. It eventually evolved into a company offering a fuller suite of ad offerings to big marketers, from actually making their ads to selling social video ad packages.
The Israeli tech firm Perion acquired Undertone in late 2016 in a deal worth $180 million.
Undertone’s president Robert Schwartz issued a company-wide memo regarding Franchi’s departure on Thursday afternoon:
After 16 fantastic years and many, many professional and personal milestones, Eric Franchi’s last day at Undertone will be June 1. Eric has decided the time is right to move on with the next stage of his life and career to pursue his work investing and advising startups full time.
On behalf of the company, we thank Eric for his leadership, dedication, and countless contributions. Personally, I want to thank Eric for his guidance, support, and continuing friendship.
We will be celebrating Eric next week. However, the best way to honor Eric is to continue building and growing the special company that was born out of an apartment in Manhattan with two people and a fax machine a decade and a half ago.