The new-hires are Lesley Kao as vice president of product and Chris Hickson as vice president of revenue. Kao most recently was senior director of product management and product marketing for¬†Yahoo’s listings businesses. And, Hickson most recently was vice president of business development at Boku, a mobile payments site,¬†and previously served as general manager of Yahoo Travel.
With the personnel changes, Yen Lee, UpTake co-founder and president, will leave some of the day to day operations of the business, such as consumer acquisition and monetization, up to Hickson, while Lee says he will focus on “deepening partnerships and strategic acquisitions.”
Lee, formerly general manager of travel at Yahoo, says UpTake is on track to be profitable by the Summer and wouldn’t have brought in senior talent such as Kao and Hickson unless the company would be in the black.
In November, UpTake acquired RealTravel, and Lee said UpTake would be vetting additional acquisitions “if I can find something that makes sense.”
Hinting at his acquisition aims, Lee says UpTake has no holdings outside North America, and no mobile or social sites.
Kao, who helped globalize Yahoo Answers, will handle UpTake’s further investments in the consumer experience, Lee says, hinting that there is much work to do.
“We want to simplify your experience,” Lee says. “We want to provide answers, not information. When you are asking where to stay in New York, you are not looking for a list of 30 hotels,” Lee says.
With Kao now in her post as vice president of product, UpTake co-founder Gene McKenna, who was vice president of product, will run search in the back end, Lee says.
Meanwhile, Fradin, UpTake’s newest board member, has focused on “turbo-charging how to scale a company” and “is great at starting and selling companies,” Lee says.
Might he be positioning UpTake for a sale?
“It never hurts to get one of the best at it,” Lee says. “He is world class at that.”