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Ex-Wal-Mart COO John Rittenhouse joins Sophia


Ambient ecommerce start-up Sophia, the UK technology company that saw the largest round of angel investment in Northern Irish history, has added ex-Wal-Mart chief operating officer John Rittenhouse to its board of directors. 

Rittenhouse, 57, has experience in retail, supply chain and technology. Prior to founding the private equity and advisory firm Cavallino Capital in 2007, he served as chief logistics and operating officer at Wal-Mart and was instrumental in the design and start-up of Wal-Mart.com.
 
He has also held senior vice president roles at Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) and Michaels Stores Inc, as well as general manager supply chain at Target Stores, among others.
  
Developed by a team of AI experts, Sophia’s flagship product Ambiance launched earlier this year. The software minimises consumer “blindness” to online advertising through sophisticated content analytics that bring together both sides of the ecommerce equation – consumers can automatically discover products that are highly relevant to their interests online, and brands and retailers increase sales.
 
Rittenhouse says: “When I was introduced to Sophia and the Ambiance platform, I was very impressed with what I saw. Ambiance has enormous potential, especially for the rapidly growing mobile market and I genuinely believe it will transform the online advertising space. The ability for retailers and brands to showcase their entire catalogue – rather than just a handful of hero products – in a highly relevant way, marks a huge step change. I’m excited to be on board as this phenomenally innovative product takes flight.”
 
Dr David Patterson, chief executive of Sophia, says: “We’ve been fortunate to be able to fill our leadership team with heavyweights from a wide and varied range of industries – most recently appointing former Saatchi CEO Lee Daley to our Board to provide an expert brand and consumer perspective, and now John Rittenhouse. John’s experience is extensive and his enthusiasm contagious. His appointment puts us in a great position as we enter the next phase of our growth.”
 
Ambiance has already been installed by more than 100 online publishers and attracts millions of page views every month. To enable further growth, Sophia hopes to commence second round financing within the year.

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