Interim CEO Noah Rawlings
WOULD-BE media player Exile Global's founding CEO, David Fox, and the startup's chief product officer and now Interim CEO, Noah Rawlings, have confirmed Fox's exit from involvement in the startup.
Fox told Venture Nashville he left the company in September, after working on the business nearly six months, during which development began on what the founders hoped would become a trusted global news service for Millennials, first through aggregation of content from other sources and subsequently with original reporting.
As VNC reported five months ago, Exile's founders also asserted at the time that they believed Exile would operate under a very high standard of trust in gathering and reporting to advertisers the platform's audience and user data.
Rawlings told VNC today that in the wake of Fox's departure he, himself, holds controlling interest in the embryonic company, adding that he believes Fox "still believes a lot" in the Exile mission and model, and noting that Fox still holds a minority interest in the company, which Rawlings said has 5 FTE.
Rawlings expressed gratitude for Fox's contributions. He then explained that whereas he and other owners were determined to continue investing to build Exile's "intellectual property" ahead of eventual market entry, Fox put greater priority on financial and other operational factors.
Rawlings continued, saying that he and the other owners decided to continue moving forward after Fox's departure, because they felt the startup was "way too close [to fruition] to give up on" and "we needed time to experiment."
Apprised today of Rawlings' characterization of the matter, Fox declined to comment.
Rawlings, the soon-23-year-old entrepreneur who is known in some quarters for both talent and intensity, said the company has interviewed potential CEO candidates, and he plans eventually to step back into the CPO role full-time.
He said appointment of a new CEO is unlikely prior to what he projects as late-December or early-January launch of the Exile app, initially iOS.
Also according to Rawlings, the company is likely in 1Q18 to announce new media partners and to offer technology to support the "backend" of at least one other media business.
Fox told VNC that since leaving Exile he has been "looking broadly to start, buy or join a company. I'd like to be in a leadership role with meaningful equity exposure. While I'd be happy to buy a small business, I'm finding the buyout market to be pretty tough right now for prospective buyers, while the start-up environment in Nashville is especially active."
Fox said he has "found several attractive situations in a bunch of different industries," adding at another point that he's in diligence on one or more situations and may make a decision in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Fox said he continues "to reach out to friends in the local entrepreneurial community to learn what else is percolating out there."
Fox previously spent decades in finance, investment, trading and business journalism and holds a Commerce degree from the University of Virginia. He also offered in 2014 as a candidate for mayor of Nashville, and served for a time as chairman of the board of Metro Nashville Public Schools. His LinkedIn is here.
A June 2017 U.S. trademark application indicates Exile was then aiming at the mobile-video content marketplace, and that at that time Exile relied on IP attorneys with Nashville-based Patterson.
Reached today for comment on the startup, Exile Chairman Saul Solomon, who is also an attorney with Klein Bussell, said only that Exile owners continue to work to move the company forward, with no immediate plans for a new CEO hire.
Asked by VNC whether or not Exile Global is currently a viable proposition, Solomon responded in the affirmative. VNC