Founder Ryan Malone to Continue Role as Board Chairman, Focus on Strategy, M&A and Remote-First Culture Initiatives
SmartBug Media — a leading Intelligent Inbound marketing agency that assists businesses in generating leads, increasing awareness and building brand loyalty through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation, revenue operations, and public relations — today announced that it has promoted Jen Spencer to chief executive officer effective February 1, 2022. Ryan Malone, SmartBug’s founder and current CEO, will continue serving the company in his role as chairman of the board.
Spencer’s promotion to CEO represents the next chapter in her highly successful career at SmartBug, where her efforts as a senior leader have contributed to several important milestones at the company, including earning five consecutive Inc. 5000 nominations and three consecutive Adweek 75 recognitions, being named as HubSpot’s Partner of the Year, experiencing all-time highs in revenue and profitability, and completing its first acquisition in the e-commerce space.
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“Jen and I have worked together for years, and as I transition my duties in day-to-day operations, I could not think of a better person to continue our mission and further strengthen SmartBug’s strong leadership position in our market, ” said Ryan Malone, SmartBug’s founder and current CEO. “We finished 2021 with another year of incredible growth, seasoned management and leadership teams, and a broad and growing portfolio of strong partners and customers, with 2022 looking even better as we bring on key new hires and advance internal leaders. I am very excited to support Jen and the board as we continue to provide revenue growth for our customers and career growth for our SmartBug team.”
In her first full year as SmartBug’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Jen implemented a sales and marketing program that resulted in 70% year over year revenue growth, earning SmartBug the title of HubSpot’s Global Partner of the Year (2018), and paved the way for American Discovery Capital’s investment in SmartBug in early 2020.
Prior to SmartBug, Spencer built several demand generation and sales enablement programs from the ground up and has experience working within technology startups, publicly traded companies, mid-market organizations, and the not-for-profit space. She built and executed a GTM strategy at nettime solutions to sell direct when 90% of revenue came through channel partners. This resulted in a successful exit when nettime was acquired by Paychex, where she then overhauled the marketing strategy for Paychex’s two other mid-market-facing acquisitions (ExpenseWire, MyStaffingPro). Spencer then joined Allbound as a founding team member, responsible for generating the company’s first $2M in ARR by implementing an inbound sales and marketing program that disrupted a then laggard competitive space of partner relationship management (PRM).
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In his continued role as Chairman of the Board, Malone will play a strong role in SmartBug’s strategic direction and M&A activities, as well as evangelizing SmartBug’s unique pioneering remote-first business model and work culture.
“Ryan was transparent with us when we made our investment that at some point he would seek to transfer management of the day-to-day operations to continue working with ADC on core strategic and organizational development initiatives at SmartBug, while devoting more time to his lovely wife and young daughters, ” said Michael Denbeau, partner at American Discovery Capital. “Jen was one of the first people we met at the company when we made our investment — it was clear then that she was a star, and we have been privileged to work with her these past few years. We congratulate Jen on her well-deserved promotion and are excited to continue our work with her, Ryan and SmartBug’s first-class team.”
“It is truly my honor to carry on the work that Ryan Malone began nearly fifteen years ago, in partnership with the supportive, energizing team at American Discovery Capital,” said Jen Spencer. “SmartBug has been a beacon of inspiration and innovation in the inbound marketing space, as proven by its steady growth and charismatic culture. I’m incredibly proud of our team and look forward to what we will accomplish together.”