I am a South African American: I grew up and completed undergrad in Johannesburg before winning scholarships to attend NYU for grad school in philosophy, where I worked on problems in logic, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of mind. In 2016 I founded podcast technology startup, Pippa, with the goal of making podcasts simpler, smarter, and more profitable. As CEO of a small but mighty team, I built Pippa into a thriving SaaS business, and swiftly led it to a successful exit in 2019 when Pippa was acquired by Acast, the largest global podcast company. I joined Acast as Director of Product, and following our IPO I continued as VP of Strategy.

I'm currently thinking about technological solutions to human problems—as well as human solutions to technological problems—especially in logic, ethics, artificial intelligence, finance, and healthcare. I spend my year between NYC, Philadelphia, and Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.


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Stealth AI Startup
Building a new startup in the AI space. More details soon.
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Is that an emoji in the domain? 😱
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Yep! It is an emoji! Interestingly, a handful of top-level-domains (TLDs) like .to and .fm permit the use of emoji in their domains. Behind the scenes, the DNS system uses punycode to represent emoji, so the domain 🔗.to gets 'translated' to xn--qvh8.to. But that's not an especially appealing URL to see, even if you get there by clicking a good looking emoji. Since I own the domain for 🔗.to as well as hotlink.to, I simply mapped all elements of the former to the latter: so, visiting 🔗.to/simon routes you directly to hotlink.to/simon.
🔗 Hotlink
Built Hotlink, a 'link in bio' web app for creators, journalists, brands. Helping humans share better with the worlds shortest and most memorable URL: 🔗.to
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Product Partnerships
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Leading up to Acast's IPO, I became VP of Strategy, where a key part of my role was cultivating and implementing platform partnerships that would help Acast grow. Here are a few of the most impactful ones.

Amazon Prime is one of the most innovative membership products in all of human history—encompassing everything from 2-day shipping to an incredible catalog of films with Prime Video. To enhance the value of Amazon Prime Music and extend the reach of Acast podcasts, I led a substantial product and business partnership with Amazon to make Acast's podcasts available on Prime Music ad free.

Since inception, Apple has been the dominant player in podcast consumption, and the native Apple Podcasts app still generally accounts for the majority of podcast listens. In 2022, Apple made some really exciting changes to the way they work with podcast creators to create paid podcast subscriptions. In an effort to make it easier for creators to work with this new system, I led a product partnership with Apple to integrate the ability for Acast creators to create and publish exclusive member episodes directly from the Acast dashboard.

I led Acast's product partnership with Meta to enhance memberships for podcast subscribers. We built an integration between Facebook Groups and Acast+, the podcast subscription offering from Acast. The integration enables creators using Acast+ to offer listeners access to subscriber-only Facebook Groups where fans can engage with each other, interact directly with their favorite podcasters, and get access to exclusive benefits.

As podcast popularity continued to surge, major music and video streaming services looked to podcasts for additional audio content, and Acast has always aimed to extend the reach of its creators. I led a product partnership with ByteDance to build an integration between Acast and Resso (their music streaming service), and ultimately with the newly launched TikTok Music to make podcasts available on both platforms.

VP of StrategyLEARN MORE
Developed business, product, and technology strategy for Acast, the world’s largest independent podcast tech company, aligning teams for accountability and building partnerships for long-term success. Following IPO (2021), my remit included business development, competitive disruption, strategic acquisitions, and operational efficiency to grow our digital advertising, SaaS, and subscriptions products. Led product partnerships and tech integrations with Amazon, Apple, Meta, Spring, TikTok, and YouTube. Worked with content, sales, and marketing teams to advance adoption of these new products and features.
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Products are for people
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After selling Pippa to Acast, I joined as Director of Product. My main focus at the outset was incorporating our fantastic creator tools into Acast’s existing product stack, where it is now the main entry into the platform. I then worked with our engineering and design teams in the UK and Stockholm to foster a culture which put the customer at the center of our product development.

Led Partnership with Patreon, the world’s largest membership platform in the creator economy, for Acast to be sole provider of podcasts. Designed API and UI for Patreon/Acast tool.

Led corporate transaction to acquire and integrate venture-backed company Radio Public.

Director of ProductLEARN MORE
Spearheaded product development and integration of Pippa cloud hosting and analytics tools, managing cross-functional engineering, design, and business teams, and innovating on novel ad products. Secured and built product partnership with Patreon, world’s largest membership platform in the creator economy, for Acast to be sole provider of podcasts. Designed API and UI for Patreon/Acast tool. Led corporate transaction to acquire and integrate venture-backed company Radio Public.
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How I built this
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Imagine you're watching a Seinfeld or a Friends rerun. An ad-break comes up, but instead of seeing an ad from today, you see an ad from when the show originally aired back in the 90's. Sounds crazy, but that's how podcast ads still work today. The ads are baked in the episode.

This was my realization in 2016 as I was biking across the Brooklyn Bridge, listening to old episodes of This American Life and Planet Money. I was crazy about podcasts: they worked like education but felt like entertainment, and I was sure podcasts were only going to get more popular. But, the more I dug into the details, I realized podcasts faced some really interesting challenges to growth, including monetization, measurement, and discovery.

In mid 2016 I founded Pippa. I decided to start with a B2B angle, focussing on creator tools, building a platform to help podcasters publish and share their shows to any app or device, and delivering detailed analytics to the creators about how their show was being consumed. I brought on board some truly exceptional cofounders, Timothy Voice, Erwan Jegouzo, and Victor Decroix, all brilliant engineers from whom I've learned so much.

In early 2017 we went to LA to be part of the first Techstars Music accelerator with MD Bob Moz. After raising some seed capital, our small team set about building a platform that podcasters truly loved. In my experience, building great products requires strong instincts and excellent taste to get started—but a robust ability to listen to the actual users, and amend or even discard your assumptions when receiving feedback. The most effective tool in our arsenal was the customers themselves: we installed an Intercom chat widget which went directly to my phone, and this provided incredible insight into what our customers actually wanted. It supercharged our development, helped us build more appealing features, and we caught bugs much earlier, too.

By 2018, our business started soaring. Once we aligned our pricing, our product-market-fit let to a relatively explosive growth in our users and SaaS metrics: we were growing new users by double digits every month, our churn was near zero, and when we implemented new upgrade paths, we had negative revenue churn. We expanded into other countries, quickly becoming one of the most popular podcast platforms in France and the Nordics. This growth took us to a fork in the road: to sustain our growth, we needed either to raise further capital from VCs, or sell Pippa to a strategic partner. Fortunately, owing to the close industry relationships we had cultivated and the highly visible traction we had received, I shortly received multiple acquisition offers for Pippa, helping us to alight upon the correct choice.

In April 2019, Pippa was acquired by Acast, the world's largest independent podcast company. As CEO, running the gauntlet of due diligence and legal restructuring—while still running the business itself—was brutally difficult. But the satisfaction of a successful exit for my team and our investors was absolutely worth it, and Acast was the perfect partner to take Pippa to the next level. Acast has always been laser focussed on podcasts, and a champion of the open podcast ecosystem. Following their astonishing success in Europe and the UK (where they had about 75% of the top podcasts), Acast were looking to make a powerful push into the USA, so the stars truly aligned perfectly for Pippa to be the engine for this next phase of growth. 🥂

Co-Founder and CEOLEARN MORE
2016: Founded Pippa, tech startup making podcasts simpler, smarter, and more profitable. 2017: Sourced and led founding team through Techstars accelerator; iterated on product and customer segmentation based on user feedback; raised seed capital from institutional investors and angels. 2018: Built SaaS hosting and analytics platform for podcasts into a thriving flywheel business; product-market fit led to sustained MRR expansion and profitability within six months. 2019: Led Pippa’s acquisition through legal processes, due diligence and corporate restructuring. Sold Pippa to Acast, the world’s largest independent podcast technology company; joined as Director of Product.
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Product Manager
Employee #1 at VC-backed health-tech startup DocDelta, a data platform for healthcare recruiting, market research, and business intelligence. I worked with co-founders on the business, product, and go-to-market strategy.
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Intelligence Consultant
K2 Intelligence
Provided intelligence and analysis and delivered advisory reports for K2 Intelligence.
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Thanks for coming to my TED Talk
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My first job out of grad school in philosophy was at TED. I was especially proud of producing a series of talks for TED@250, a mini TED event in our offices in Soho NYC. I invited and worked closely with two of my favorite philosophers, Ruth Chang and Kwame Anthony Appiah, to deliver these really wonderful talks.
Ruth Chang | How to make hard choices
Kwame Anthony Appiah | Is religion good or bad?
ConsultantLEARN MORE
Wrote, researched, and developed TED content for conferences, video, web, and social media. Deployed Google Analytics and in-house software to gauge and improve user engagement.

Current builds

Ongoing software development exploring business and education applications for responsible AI.

The "AppStore" for AI apps. Discover, review, and share the best GPTs and AI apps.

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A web-based test of human visual processing: how much "compute" does the brain use to navigate the world?

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Proof-of-concept AI chatbot trained on the work of David Hume, using Langchain and OpenAI's GPT-4.

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Research highlights
I was fortunate to receive scholarships to attend NYU, arguably the best philosophy program in the world. I studied with some of the most prominent philosophers in the field, including David Chalmers, Don Garrett, and my supervisor, Kit Fine. My work focussed on language, logic, metaphysics, and the foundations of mathematics.
M.A. Philosophy, Mathematics, Set Theory
New York University
Oppenheimer Scholarship | FirstRand Scholarship | NYU Arts & Science Scholarship
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B.A. Philosophy, Economics, English
University of the Witwatersrand
Graduated with Distinction | Babette Taute Bursary | E.J.A. Loerincz Scholarship


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✅ Verified Credential
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure, products, security and compliance, cost management, scaling
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✅ Verified Credential
CFA Level I, Passed
CFA Institute
Corporate Finance, Economics, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Quantitative Methods, Alternative Investments, Derivatives, Equity Investments, Fixed Income, Portfolio Management.

Email: simon@simonmarcus.org