Mark Goldston is currently the Chairman and CEO of Goldston Ventures in Los Angeles, California, which is a firm primarily focused on venture capital and emerging growth company investing and providing strategic advisory services to a range of companies. Prior to creating Goldston Ventures, Mark was the CEO of major public and private companies from 1986-2013, took two startups to eventual highly successful IPOs, acquired more than 20 companies and raised billions of dollars in debt and equity capital. He is the majority owner, General Partner and patented inventor of Athletic Propulsion Labs, LLC, an athletic footwear and apparel company based in Los Angeles and co-founded in 2009 by Mark and his twin sons Adam and Ryan Goldston. Athletic Propulsion Labs footwear features revolutionary technology covered by multiple utility patents designed to increase jumping ability for basketball players (and was “Banned by the NBA” in 2010) and increase stride speed in running. In 2014, the company invented the luxury performance segment of the athletic footwear market. The APL brand is sold online at the company’s website, is carried by some of the most prestigious luxury product retailers in the world and opened its first global APL flagship retail store in The Grove in Los Angeles in November 2019. Mark is the Co-Founder and patented inventor of the PO2 Posture and Breathing Enhancement system, the Co-Founder of BrainTrust Partners, a strategic advisory firm and he is also a Founding Member of the National Football League Los Angeles Chargers Chairman’s Advisory Board.
He is an accomplished public speaker and has given keynote addresses to major organizations such as Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Association For Corporate Growth, major university Commencement Speeches at The Ohio State University, The University of Southern California (USC), etc. Mark wrote a highly acclaimed business book, which was published by the MacMillan Free Press entitled, “The Turnaround Prescription,” which is a blueprint on how to reposition troubled companies. Mark Goldston is one of the world’s most prolific inventors with more than 80 U.S. and Foreign Patents covering such inventions as lighted shoes, inflatable pump shoes, spring-loaded performance technology, energy return systems, plug-in technology modules, internet search, targeted internet advertising and ad serving, mobile media platforms for video, digital music storage and copyright protection, etc.
He spent from 1999-2013 as the first and only Chairman, President and CEO of United Online, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNTD). Responsible for roughly $900+ million in revenue and $125+ million of Ebitda in this publicly traded (Nasdaq: UNTD) global internet consumer products and services conglomerate. He took NetZero public in September 1999, six months after joining NetZero as the 25th employee and first Chairman and CEO of a raw startup Internet Service Provider and raised $184 million in a $1.6 billion valuation IPO. NetZero rose 82% on the first day of trading reaching a $3 billion valuation. He was responsible for creating the ground-breaking “NetZero at the Half” sponsorship of the NBA on NBC, the famous “Defenders of the Free World” TV campaign and created the Sprint Cup Series NetZero NASCAR sponsorship of Car #0. During his nearly 15-year tenure from 1999 to 2013, revenues rose almost 450-fold from $2 million to approximately $900 million annually. During the 1999-2013 period as Chairman and CEO, the company generated cumulative EBITDA in excess of $1.8 billion and paid out $368 million in cash dividends to public shareholders (the first internet company to declare a cash dividend) and acquired 15 companies including Juno, Classmates, MyPoints, Stayfriends, FTD, Interflora, etc. United Online reported 9 consecutive years and 36 consecutive quarters of record adjusted EBITDA from 2001-2010, one of the most impressive financial performance records in the tech sector.
One year after creating United Online in September 2001 through the merger of NetZero and Juno, the Wall Street Journal named United Online the #1 performing stock on the Nasdaq in 2002. During his United Online tenure Mark was named “International Entrepreneur of the Year” by UMKC in 2004 and “The Most Admired Public CEO in Los Angeles” as selected by his peers in the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2009. He departed United Online in November 2013 when he executed the tax-free spinoff of FTD Companies and created two independent public companies in United Online and FTD.
Prior to joining NetZero in 1999, Mark spent over 20 years in the field of consumer marketing and has created, marketed and introduced numerous products during that period with combined sales in the billions of dollars. He began his career at Johnson & Johnson in the McNeil Division on New Products and the Tylenol brands; he then went to Clairol and Chesebrough-Ponds working on and creating some of the world’s top haircare and fragrance brands. He was formerly the youngest Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing for Fragrance and Skincare in the history of Revlon in the early 1980’s at the age of 28 years old and conducted a legendary marketing and financial turnaround of the Revlon fragrance and skincare divisions and introduced one of the first mass-market anti-aging skincare lines.
He then moved to Faberge as the Executive Vice-President of Marketing and Sales and later became the youngest President of a Fortune 500 consumer products company division when he was promoted to President of Faberge at the age of 31 years old. During his tenure, Faberge became a leader in the health and beauty products industry; increased its revenue and profitability dramatically; launched several successful new products and spearheaded the company’s acquisition of Elizabeth Arden for $725 million from Eli Lilly in 1987.
After Faberge he became the first Chief Marketing Officer of Reebok and was responsible for creating and introducing one of the most successful athletic footwear products of all time: The Reebok Pump in 1989, while also developing and patenting the Reebok Energy Return System as a named inventor and introducing a host of other technologies such as Hexalite, Energaire, etc. Mark Goldston was named to the “American Management Dream Team” as the “Top Marketer in the USA” by Business Month magazine while at Reebok due to his work on the creation of “The Pump”, “Energy Return” and “Hexalite”.
He joined Odyssey Partners, L.P. the New York City based Private Equity firm and the first hedge fund in the USA and was responsible for helping manage and turn around the firm’s troubled LBO assets in their portfolio from 1989-1991. He and his group spearheaded the turnaround of 6 separate private companies and resulted in several of those companies going public.
Mark then became the President of L.A. Gear from 1991-1994 and supervised a massive restructuring and turnaround effort, which ended in the firm reporting its first profit in over 3 years during the quarter in which he left the firm. He created the lighted sneaker phenomenon while at L.A. Gear (and is the named inventor on numerous U.S. and foreign patents for lighted shoes) and the children’s line of L.A. Lights footwear is among the most successful product lines in the history of the athletic footwear industry.
Mark formed The Goldston Group in 1994, a Los Angeles based strategic advisory/turnaround firm, which helped reposition several companies in which he would take an equity stake and the role as a turnaround advisor or adjunct CEO. One of his clients was Apollo Advisors, the Private Equity firm who installed Mark in Converse, the athletic footwear company, during 1995-1996 to spearhead the turnaround of that severely troubled company as a strategic advisor to the Board and CEO. He helped create and introduce the famous Converse All-Star 2000 performance basketball line and his repositioning of Converse and the record sell-through of the All-Star 2000 shoes helped to triple the Converse stock price in 1996.
Later in 1996, he became the President and CEO of Einstein Noah Bagel Corporation, where he helped build a startup retail bagel chain into a successful IPO in August 1996. Under Mark Goldston’s leadership, Einstein Noah Bagel Corp. opened a store almost every day and became the largest bagel chain in the USA by August of 1997 with over 500 bagel stores under the Einstein Brothers and Noah’s New York Bagels brand names. He created the two Einstein Brothers characters, Melvyn and Elmo, the menu offerings, the coffee brand, the store design and throughput layouts that are still in use across the chain today. In July 1997, Restaurant News Magazine named Einstein/Noah Bagel Corp. the fastest growing restaurant chain in America. In December 1997 he returned to the Chairman and CEO role at The Goldston Group.
Mark has received numerous professional and humanitarian honors and awards including: The Commencement Speaker at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business MBA Graduation in May 2015, the “Most Admired Public CEO In Los Angeles” Award by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2009, the May 2009 Commencement Speaker at the USC Marshall School, the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business “Alumni Merit Award” in 2008, one of the “Top 64 Most Distinguished Alumni” of The Ohio State University, the “Walt Disney Man of the Year Award” by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization in 2007, the “Vince Lombardi Hall of Fame Award For Humanitarian Efforts” by the Boy Scouts of America; the prestigious 2005 “Schaffner Award” from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business, the “2004 International Entrepreneur of the Year” by UMKC Henry Bloch School of Business; The first ever recipient of The Ohio State University “Young Professional Achievement Award” in 1993; the 1994 Commencement Speaker at The Ohio State University; “The Top Marketer in the USA” and a member of the “American Management Dream Team” by Business Month Magazine in 1989, “Top Executives Under 40” by Crain’s New York Business in 1988 and numerous other acknowledgments by Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, the USA Today and other major periodicals. He is a Life Member of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business Dean’s Global Advisory Board and The Ohio State University Fisher School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board since 1992, the USC Marshall School Board of Leaders and is a member of the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Board of Governors in Los Angeles. He was a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) from 1992-2005 and has been a member of the World President’s Organization (WPO) since 2006.
He received an undergraduate B.S.B.A (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) degree from Ohio State with a dual major in Marketing and Finance and received his MM (MBA) from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management with a dual major in Marketing and Finance.