SAN JOSE, CA September 21, 2011 Pinger, the company disrupting the mobile space by making texting and talking free, today announced the addition of two new Vice Presidents and two new Directors to the company’s executive and management teams. Peter Manzella, SVP Operations, will help ensure that Pinger is well prepared to support its momentous growth of users and their resulting voice calls and text messages. Eric Hartness, SVP Marketing, will apply over a decade of video game marketing experience to continue Pinger’s rapid acquisition and engagement of a vibrant, young mobile audience. These new hires exhibit Pinger’s tremendous growth over the past year and position the company for success to support its global expansion.
Also joining Pinger, Olivier Rozay, Sr. Director, Business Development, will establish partnerships with telecommunication companies across the world to add more countries to the Pinger network. Brian Gilbert, Director of Advertising and Monetization, will lead Pinger’s efforts to provide a best-in-class ad operations and reporting system.
Pinger has surged to become the 7th largest mobile carrier in the U.S. by providing users with real, dedicated phone numbers for free mobile communications, including texting and talking. Pinger is the #1 free texting provider in the U.S., with over 16 million Textfree users and over 1.6 billion texts sent per month. Pinger’s Textfree products enable users to choose their own local phone number to text and call free to any U.S. mobile phone as well as to over 27 countries. In July this year, Pinger also announced its expansion to Europe, which launched in Germany in August.
“These additions to our executive and management teams strengthen our ties to the mobile industry and will be paramount to meeting our aggressive plans for growth,” said Greg Woock, Pinger Co-Founder and CEO. “We’re excited for the opportunity to work with innovators and trailblazers who understand where we want to go as a company, and who have the vision and know-how to get us there.”
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Pinger team during this pivotal growth period for the company, as we expand the services to Europe and beyond,” said Eric Hartness. “Bringing free talking and texting to consumers worldwide is such a unique and important service in the mobile industry, and I look forward to working with Pinger’s terrific team to strengthen its brand and products.”
Peter Manzella, SVP, Operations: Peter brings experience from senior-level roles at top brands worldwide to drive the company’s operations. Prior to Pinger, Peter worked with Experian, where he served as the VP of Global Network operations and engineering. Previous to that role, he worked with Visa as the VP of Global Network engineering and architecture. He also spent nearly ten years at eBay and was Sr. Director of Global Network, Security and Site operations when he left in May of 2010. Peter earned his MBA from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Eric Hartness, SVP, Marketing: Eric will lead Pinger’s marketing team on its mission to make calling and texting free. Eric joined Pinger from PlayFirst, where he led the social games business unit that launched Diner Dash on Facebook. Previously, he was Chief Marketing Officer for PlaySpan, which was acquired by Visa. Prior, Eric spent almost nine years with Electronic Arts, where he was most recently Vice President of Marketing for its Redwood Shores studio responsible for hit games such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Simpsons Game, and Dead Space. Eric received a BSBA from the University of Arkansas, Magna Cum Laude and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Brian Gilbert, Director, Advertising and Monetization: Brian will drive the advertising and monetization strategy as the company expands internationally. Previously, Brian worked at 4INFO, a leading mobile advertising company, where he spent four years building its ad operations, analytics and account management teams and supported key strategic financial initiatives including its fundraising and acquisition activities. Brian brings 15 years of sales and leadership experience, having previously worked at Updata Partners, Merrill Lynch and Arrow Electronics. Brian earned his MBA from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Olivier Rozay, Sr. Director, Business Development: Olivier will be responsible for expanding Pinger’s success into new countries and markets, which includes developing close partnerships with regional operators and new partners. Prior to Pinger, Olivier held various positions in sales and business development at HP and Palm. He recently managed the introduction of webOS smartphones into France and Canada. Olivier has more than 15 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, focusing on wireless networks and mobile products on both product and business levels. He has also held positions at Alcatel-Lucent in France and China, Globalstar in the US and Brazil, and served in the Microelectronics R&D Centre for Toshiba in Japan.
Pinger’s mission is to make global messaging fun, free and easy. Pinger has a globally-scalable monetization platform and is the #1 free texting and calling app in the U.S. with 12 million monthly active users and billions of text messages sent. All Pinger apps are ad-supported, delivering standard mobile banners, in-conversation sponsorships, large 300x250 and full-screen display ads as well as rich-media advertising opportunities. The company’s flagship apps, Textfree and the Pinger phone app, are free apps that enable users to turn iPads and iPods into mobile phones with texting and talking features, or to add a free phone line to iPhones and Android devices. Pinger and Textfree users can text and call to any phone in the U.S. and Canada, including smartphones, landlines and basic mobile phones. www.pinger.com.