UpTake Networks Takes Up New Execs

UpTake Networks, owner of RealTravel.com and UpTake.com added Lesley Kao as vice president of products and Chris Hickson as VP of revenue. UpTake Newtorks is backed by Shasta Ventures and Trinity Ventures.

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 10, 2011 /– UpTake Networks, Inc. (owner of RealTravel.com and UpTake.com) is investing to accelerate growth with the addition of Lesley Kao as VP of Product and Chris Hickson as VP of Revenue. Lesley and Chris are based in the UpTake Networks headquarters in Palo Alto, CA and will report to Yen Lee, co-founder and President of UpTake Networks (“UpTake”). Russ Fradin joins as an independent Board member.
“I’m delighted to work with Lesley and Chris again. Lesley has the right blend of search, social and product experience we need to deliver on the promise of why we started UpTake – to help consumers make better, faster decisions on where to go, where to stay and what to do. She has repeatedly demonstrated she has the leadership and consumer insights to deliver products consumers love – from globalizing Yahoo! Answers to improving Yahoo!’s listings and lifestyle businesses – including travel.
“Chris is the perfect leader to accelerate UpTake’s growth given his long string of successful entrepreneurial and corporate successes from Ingenio, where he was an inventor of Pay per Call Advertising, to Yahoo! where he ran business development for Travel and Local and was General Manager of Travel. Chris and I worked closely at Yahoo! and his style and skills are an invaluable complement. Russ is the rare entrepreneur who has repeatedly built successful internet companies while maintaining a good personal-work balance. Somebody I can clearly learn from,” said Yen.
“I’m excited about working with Yen to help UpTake develop new strategic directions based on the strong foundation they now have in the world’s biggest ecommerce category. I am intrigued by the possibilities given UpTake’s position at the confluence between travel, ecommerce, local, search, and media,” said Russ.
UpTake aggregates the largest catalog of things to do and places to stay and is already the largest independent travel research site. With the addition of Lesley Kao, Chris Hickson and Russ Fradin, UpTake is poised to deliver an improved user experience across platforms and accelerate revenue growth through partnerships and new business initiatives.
About Lesley Kao
Prior to joining UpTake, Lesley led the global product management, product marketing and design teams for the Yahoo! Listings businesses, which are comprised of some of the leading online consumer research sites: Yahoo! Shopping, Travel, Autos, Real Estate, Deals and Personals. During her tenure at Yahoo!, Lesley led the global launch and growth of Yahoo! Answers in more than 21 countries and nine languages. Lesley is a graduate of Stanford University, University of Cambridge, and the Haas School, University of California.
About Chris Hickson
Previously, Chris was General Manager of Yahoo! Travel where he was responsible for the P&L and for the growth strategy for the division. Prior to managing Yahoo! Travel, he was Senior Director of Business Development for Yahoo! Travel and Yahoo! Local. Chris previously worked at Ingenio and NBC Internet, Inc. in both business development and finance roles. Chris is a graduate of Occidental College and Georgetown University.
About Russ Fradin
Russ is a successful serial entrepreneur who ran business development at Flycast and Wine.com. He was also Executive Vice President at comScore, Inc. and CEO & co-founder of Adify Media. Russ recently co-founded Dynamic Signal.
About UpTake
UpTake has collected and organized more than 20 million traveler reviews, ratings, blogs and articles from 5,000 local, lifestyle and travel sources from across the web to help travelers make better decisions about hotels, motels, attractions, restaurants &nightlife on their next North American trip. For example, consumers can search for family activities or a romantic hotel inMonterey. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto and backed by Shasta Ventures and Trinity Ventures. Launched in May 2008, UpTake is already the largest independent travel research site and generated over 6 million free leads back to local, lifestyle and travel sources in the last year. Visit us at www.uptake.com.
About Real Travel
Named “Best of the Web” by Forbes, Business Week and the Association of Travel Marketing Executives, Real Travel is a social hotel recommendation site that helps consumers plan trips with advice from other travelers. In 2009, Real Travel helped 15 million people plan trips with information on 200 countries, 27,000 destinations and more than 200,000 hotels. Visit us atwww.realtravel.com.