Acquisitions / Business

PeopleLinx just got acquired. Here’s a look back at its final stages

It's a new day for the social selling company, most of whose top execs left in the last few years.

PeopleLinx CEO Kevin O'Nell. (GIF via YouTube)

How about some breaking news to spice up Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast? Center City social selling company PeopleLinx got acquired by Alpharetta, Ga.-based FRONTLINE Selling.

PeopleLinx CEO Kevin O’Nell announced the news in a blog post published Wednesday, just as the company was getting ready to showcase its tech (and open jobs) at Philly Startup Leaders’ annual Entrepreneur Expo.

“Our team is excited to have joined an organization that so closely aligns with our vision of making sales professionals successful,” O’Nell said in the article.

No financial terms were immediately disclosed, O’Nell told He did mention that, as part of the deal, investor Osage Partners obtained a seat on the board of FRONTLINE Selling. PeopleLinx also counted another local investor among its ranks: MissionOG.

The company’s team of 10 will remain in Philadelphia. (PeopleLinx has significantly winnowed down its team in the last three years — it employed 30 in 2014.) No layoffs to report, as the Georgia-based company hired the full staff lineup. Though the team is currently based out of the Cira Centre, instead of its former Center City headquarters, O’Nell said the company will be looking to move into a coworking space. Maybe WeWork, O’Nell said.

So, as we often ask exiting entrepreneurs, was this the exit O’Nell had hoped for when he became CEO in 2014? He conceded the end result was “not that straight of a line” as previous experiences (he was the CTO of Ecount when it was acquired by Citi in 2007 for $220 million) but that PeopleLinx’s original investment thesis was counting on an open API from social networks like LinkedIn. As we know now, the company was forced to change.

The acquisition follows a slow trickle of talent we’ve been spotting of late. After cofounders Natalie Egan (now the CEO of Translator) and Patrick Baynes left their posts in mid-2015CTO Don Nawrocki left the company, as did CMO Michael Idinopulos, Chief Revenue Officer David DiStefano and VP of Product Amaya Capellan.

But of course, the most memorable moment in PeopleLinx history was that 2014 hiccup, when LinkedIn decided to block companies from using its data feed. In a recent interview with Fortune, Egan looked back on the dark period in history.

“That was a low, low point,” Egan told the publication.

When asked about the departures, O’Nell said, “I think there really hasn’t been any turnover in the last year and a half. The core team is what’s there and we’re all joining FRONTLINE.”

What’s next for the company? More growth, the exec said.

“You’ll continue to see us grow here in Philly and continue to support our existing clients, like Comcast,” O’Nell said.

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