Shake Up at VoteIt Causes CEO Departure

Start-ups are hard. Blood, sweat, and tears are only the first requirement on a typical start-up CEO job description.

Pressure builds up from constantly innovating, pitching, fundraising, and wooing users. When that pressure meets the strike of a match- things go boom. That appears to be what went down recently at VoteIt, a New Orleans based start-up that aims to solve gridlock associated with group decision making.

On July 4th, friends and colleagues received an e-mail from Taylor Beery, former VoteIt CEO, stating that he was no longer with the company as of July 2nd, 2012. The announcement came as a shock to many, including myself, as Taylor had been the face of the company since their initial product launch in late 2011.

While Taylor was heavily involved in the product development and vision, the original idea for the app is credited to Matt Wisdom, a co-founder of the company along with Andy Wisdom.

Matt is an integral part of the local start-up ecosystem as CEO of TurboSquid, a board member of GNO, Inc., a board member of the New Orleans Startup Fund, and a major driver of the Louisiana digital media tax credits.

When Matt wanted to start VoteIt, he turned to private equity and business guru Taylor Beery to lead the company while he maintained his role at TurboSquid. It’s not yet clear what exactly caused the break up but rumors are flying among those who have cursory knowledge of the situation.

It appears the split was caused by ongoing disagreements around the overall strategy and growth trajectory of the company as well as the current fundraising round. VoteIt raised $800,000 in a seed round from local angel investors in November of 2011. Since then the company has gone through the Launch Pad Ignition accelerator program and is in the process of raising another round.

We reached out to both Taylor and Matt but both opted not to comment on the current situation. Matt did say that VoteIt is still going strong and will have more to share in the near future.

A Ruby on Rails developer, Justin Wheeler, also left the company. CTO Cory Fabre and front end developer Matt Shwery remain on board.

When asked about his future plans, Taylor said, “I am extremely excited to expand my involvement in the New Orleans startup community with Beery Advisors. We provide advisory and strategic services to angel investors and seed/early-stage businesses.”

It will be interesting to watch this story as it continues to develop. I’d also like to personally wish Taylor the best of luck in his new endeavors. Keep up with him on twitter and with VoteIt on twitter and AngelList.

  • Josh R

    good article, reported on an important topic with fair coverage for all sides

    • Elvissandwich

      Respectfully disagree.  This is awful journalism.  You can’t simultaneously say that your primary source is rumor AND declare your opinion about what caused the situation.  If you are a gossip blogger, perhaps, but not if you hold yourself out as news. 

      • Joshua Raley

        Welcome a second opinion and I’ll respond by being more specific. I enjoyed the article as an entrepreneur not a journalist (because I am not the latter). The VoteIt team & product quality impressed me so seeing them experiencing some turn over gives me new perspective for my own company. I think other active entrepreneurs also benefit from this news; it’s relevant to us.

        I feel for the VoteIt team and their present challenges, and Molly expressed the same at the intro. Their current fund raising getting thrown into jeopardy is probably the worst possible consequence of the article if you consider it wreckless journalism. But you can bet potential investors will know about such a change and the new people will need a good story to show why it’s still a great investment, as a startup does at any stage.

        Journalists have long used anonymous sources for variety of practical reasons, and the only speculative/opinion part of the article was that it “appears the split was caused by ongoing disagreements around the overall strategy and growth trajectory of the company.” NO WAY!….such slander, such sleazy talk!

        I wanted Molly to know this was valuable news to me. And anyone who knows Molly knows she’s the biggest supporter of our local startups. It’s a newsworthy event other outlets lack the resources to cover.

        If anything I’m just happy to see it all happening here in New Orleans. The fact there is a community of startups here and a site dedicated to sharing news about them was not even possible in years past. I think that’s a good thing.

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