Here’s to new beginnings

December 17, 2014

This is a bittersweet moment.

On the one hand, both Shayan and I are stepping down from our day-to-day roles at Zoosk, an amazing company that we worked really hard to build from the ground up for the last 7 years. On the other hand, our star CFO and COO, Kelly Steckelberg, has agreed to step up as our new CEO. This makes me incredibly happy. I cannot think of anyone better fit for the job. I have worked with Kelly for more than 3 years through many strategic decisions. We have long known that she will make a terrific CEO, and she has the vision and execution abilities to take the company to the next level. While Shayan and I are not involved in the day-to-day operations of Zoosk anymore, we’ll continue to support the company and Kelly as advisors and board members.

The mission continues.

Earlier today I was checking out the latest featured success story on our company’s blog. A couple from New Jersey (who met on Zoosk) got engaged while on vacation in Mexico last summer. They’re getting married next summer. They sent us a photo of themselves on a beach, grinning from ear to ear for the camera. Nothing has driven me to make Zoosk succeed like looking at the impact of our work. And our company’s blog is the best place to get a taste of it. Click! An inspiring Miami couple who survived cancer together while dating, and got married. Click! Story of a soldier stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, who met the love of his life on Zoosk. Click! A smiling twenty-something year old from England who says he fell in love the moment he saw a beautiful woman’s smile on Zoosk. That woman is now his wife. Through all these years, through all ups and downs and lefts and rights, all I had to do to remind myself and our team why we came to work every day was to refer to our customers’ stories. No wonder our company’s Facebook page has 14 million fans. And no wonder it’s been surprisingly easy to recruit top talent to join our team. If you have a heart you love our company’s mission.

An incredible team.

I’m so proud of our team! More than 200 strong. Talented. Motivated. Hard working. We couldn’t have asked for better people. With great people comes a great culture. And a company with a great culture creates great products that people love. That’s been our only secret to growth and success. Nothing more, nothing less.

Our baby has grown up. Time to walk on its own.

Shayan and I watched our original idea evolve and grow to become the incredible company that it is today. We worked hard and enjoyed every second of it. But it was time for a professional executive to take over – someone with a proven track record of success building this business and prior companies. Someone we know will be able push the company forward to achieve its next goals. One that, while staying true to our founding mission and values, has the vision and skills to continue improving upon what we’ve created so far.

When Kelly joined us in 2011, she brought a wealth of strategic and operational experience to our team. As the divisional CFO for Cisco’s Consumer Segment and for WebEx, she was well-versed in building large-scale consumer subscription businesses. She also firmly believed in our core mission, becoming a champion for customer-centric decision making. As her role expanded to COO, she took on more areas of responsibility throughout the company from user ops to setting the agenda for marketing. So when we arrived at the right point in our company’s growth path to make a transition, the 3 of us — Kelly, Shayan and I — were all on the same page. Kelly is the right person to lead the company forward through its next phase of growth and development.

It’s not a goodbye. It’s a new chapter.

Given our amazing team, our company’s universally-loved mission and the new CEO that’s carrying the torch, I have no doubt that tomorrow’s Zoosk will be even better than the Zoosk of today. It will lead to many more fulfilling relationships, and innovate within the dating space. This is yet another step forward in a long journey for a company that’s destined for greatness.

Shayan and I feel personally grateful to all those who believed in us… those who joined us, invested in us, or otherwise helped us build the great company that is Zoosk, Inc. We don’t know what we did to deserve it. You have a special place in our hearts.

Thank you all! And here’s to new beginnings…

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