Ok, so we could probably keep this Active.com mafia series going for much longer, but we won’t. Since the online race registration pioneer was sold to Vista Equity Partners and relocated to Dallas, Texas in 2013 for $1.05 billion, dozens of Active alumni chose to stay in San Diego, further growing our vibrant ecosystem. Below we take a look at some of them and what they are up to today. The list includes a few others who are outside of San Diego who created some pretty famous companies. You’ll also see a couple of fun surprises.
Matt Landa – Active Network’s first President, and later the company’s CEO, Landa was the driving force behind the company’s market strategy and growth. Since then, Landa has served as Executive Chairman of Semantic Research and continues to be the proprietor of Landa Vineyards in Northern California.
Josh Schlesser – Active’s head of technology from 2000-2013. Schlesser co-founded San Diego-based Cursive Labs and Spoutable with Active’ former co-founder and CEO Jon Belmonte, and is current CPO at Proper Media (which acquired Spoutable in 2018).
Other Active alumni at Proper Media include Carson McGrath, former AdOps director at Active and currently director of AdOps at Proper Media;
Marea Blue, former Technical Account Manager at Active and now Head of Customer Success, Proper Media; and Renee Griffith, former Senior Strategic Digital Account Manager, Active, and currently Head of Customer Success at Proper Media.
Dina Rulli – Active’s Manager, Global Talent Acquisition. Rulli moved on to a similar role at Glassdoor and is now VP, People Operations at San Diego-based Classy.org. (Also check out our Tacos & Tech Podcast with Classy Founder & CEO Scott Chisholm).
Brian Enge – VP of Active who moved on to run SKILZ, and is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Carlsbad-based Robin Hood Brands, which specializes in product and brand building and digital marketing.
Mike Skelly – SVP of Finance at Active for nine years, including through the IPO and take-private process. He has since been CFO of three local tech companies, including his current stint at AbacusNext (backed by Providence Equity Partners).
Josie Donnelly – One of the longest tenured Active team members at over 15 years with the company, Donnelly started as a marketing intern and ended as VP Sales. She is now SVP of Sales and Marketing at Solana Beach-based FlockFreight (formerly AuptiX).
Rob Klingensmith – Active’s VP of Media and Marketing for over 16 years. He is now President of the Lens Agency, a San Diego based brand and marketing agency focused fashion lifestyle, sport, fashion, eyewear, and outdoor markets.
Mike Reilly – VP of Major Event Sales at Active. Reilly, known as the “Voice of Iron Man,” is also a public speaker and consultant.
Jason Griffith – Senior Project Manager at Active. He is currently Project Manager for Salesforce in San Diego.
Dana Blackwood – Senior Account Manager at Active for 14 years. She is currently a Managing Member of Moke America Hawaii, LLC, a neighborhood electric vehicle company in Hawaii and Southern California.
Active Alumni who went on to create big companies outside of San Diego:
John Wolthius – A developer at Active who went on to co-found both Gordian Labs LLC and San Francisco-based cloud communications platform Twilio Inc., where he is currently Product Architect. Twilio recently went public.
Tom Preston-Werner – Software Developer at Active who co-founded GitHub, Codestarter and most recently San Francisco-based Chatterbug, an online language learning platform that was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $7 billion.
And, did you know: Some Active.com alumni went on to appear on The Apprentice TV show and a Fox dating show?
Dawna Stone – Winner, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Stone was Senior VP, Operations for Active Network. She is currently co-founder and co-CEO of Vacayou Wellness and Active Travel in Florida, A centralized wellness travel search engine and booking experience.
Banks Holcombe – Winner in the Fox Network’s Playing it Straight dating reality show. Holcombe, who was Senior Manager, Emerging Markets for Active Network, is now Regional Director for Cvent in Raleigh, N.C.
Kelly Perdew – Winner, The Apprentice 2. As the acting president for eteamz, Perdew led the negotiations for the successful sale of the company to Active Network, where he spent a short time after the sale. Perdew, who has since been an active investor and advisor for several companies, including Slack, and is Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Moonshots Capital in Los Angeles.
Big shout out to Jon Belmonte for his enormous virtual Rolodex that led to this series lasting a year! We are sure there are lots more Active alumni out there. Let us know what you’re up to!
Editor’s Note: This is the “final” article in a series about the early pioneers of online race and activity registration, the subsequent companies they went on to create and run, and how they are still “active” in the San Diego tech ecosystem. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 & Part 10.