Research firm Vault AI appoints NRG veteran Ethan Titelman as president of Client Solutions, hires three other key executives

EXCLUSIVE: Safe AIan emerging technology-focused marketing research firm, has hired a number of key figures.

On the way to the new selection is NRG veteran Ethan Titlemanwho joins the company as president of customer solutions.

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Luke Schoknecht, who led Australian brand agency Raine & Makin before joining Vault last year on a consulting assignment, has been named Chief Marketing Officer. AJ Giovannetti, a veteran of Paramount Pictures and NRG, comes on board as SVP of Product Strategy. Also new to the group is Rich Calabrese, Executive Director of Insights and Strategy.

Safe last December Closed an $8 million Series A funding round. Investors in that round of investors included Israel-based PICO Venture Partners and Hearst Ventures, the investment arm of Hearst Corp. and an early financier of companies such as Roku, Pandora and BuzzFeed. Other Series A participants included former Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice President Yair Landau and existing Vault investors TV Azteca and Sky/ProSieben-backed Remagine Ventures.

Founded in 2015, the company now has approximately 50 employees and offices in LA and Israel.

Titleman, who was an EVP at NRG, leads all customer relationship interactions for Vault. The company uses artificial intelligence and other technology to minimize reliance on traditional elements of the research process, such as surveys and focus groups. The LA-based exec will focus on the theatrical and streaming movie entertainment business, looking to expand the company’s customer base.

Schoknecht will oversee product marketing, strategic communications and thought leadership initiatives, reporting directly to CEO and co-founder David Stiff. Giovannetti develops new products that leverage the company’s proprietary databases, machine learning technology and data science capabilities. Calabrese, who was VP at MarketCast, will lead one of the company’s US customer-facing insight teams and report to Rachel Krauss, SVP of Insight and Strategy.

Founded in 2015, Vault AI’s executive roster also includes industry veterans Abe Recio (former SVP of Strategic Marketing & Research at Sony Pictures Entertainment) as Chief Product Officer and Rachel Krauss (former SVP at MarketCast), who is SVP Insights and Strategy.

In a statement, Stiff called Titelman “one of the most trusted minds in consumer insights,” adding that he’s “helped many top executives launch their movies and shows with the best possible results.”

Titleman said: “The entertainment industry is undergoing massive changes and consumer insights must evolve with it. Vault AI is at the forefront of using predictive analytics, behavioral data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to enable creative development and marketing research. I look forward to helping our entertainment customers work more efficiently and using Vault AI’s new analytics—delivered faster and more accurately—to guide their creative decision-making.”

At NRG, Titelman helped rebuild the agency, which pioneered film research and ushered in the era of the modern blockbuster in the 1980s and 1990s before being sold to Nielsen in 2003. When Mark Penn’s investment company, the Stagwell Group, bought NRG from Nielsen in 2015, Titelman helped expand his horizons beyond the theater to streaming, TV, gaming, sports and technology. Prior to joining NRG, Titelman spent more than 14 years at Penn Schoen Berland, where he helped establish and grow his entertainment research company.

In addition to his leadership role at Raine & Makin, Schoknecht spent 14 months as a consultant at Vault AI before joining the team full-time. He helped lead Vault’s communications planning for the successful Series A increase and also focused on brand strategy, design and communications for the company as a whole.

Calabrese has worked in the media and entertainment research industry for about ten years. He was GM and COO of Fizziology, a social analytics firm, where he led their research and account teams prior to MarketCast’s acquisition of the company in 2017. After that transaction, he became VP of entertainment accounts for MarketCast.

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