Milemarker Names Kyle Van Pelt CEO
Advisory technology startup Milemarker has appointed former Onramp investment board member and Skins executive Kyle Van Pelt as its CEO, with the firm’s co-founder and outgoing CEO Judd McRill as managing partner. Van Pelt’s appointment date is at the beginning of the month, WealthManagement.com Learned in exclusive interviews with both.
McRill said the year-old company is growing revenue by 30% to 40% in the quarter, despite not disclosing how many firms it worked with, or any of its clients, with Milemarker. The workforce has grown from four employees in early 2021 to 14 employees today.
McRill said Van Pelt’s experience with overseeing technology integration for advisors, gleaned from his experiences at SkySense, SS&C Advent and Risklys, made him the ideal leader for startups.
“We need the best leaders in our field who know the pain of integration,” he said. Judd McRill, a former Carson Group executive, founded the firm early last year with Kim McRill, his wife Paul Kent Grave, chief marketing officer; and Mark Smith, Chief Technology Officer.
Milemarker is an integration company as a service that provides custom integration into the technologies used by insurance companies, independent broker/dealers and RIAs. The firm helps its clients collect and pool their own data, so they can use it in their technology stack in a way that vendor-built integrations won’t address.
Van Pelt said, “Nobody is going to build 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 different ways to integrate their software with another piece of software. That’s not a good use of resources.” “But if you allow the client to control that experience, they can build what they want.”
He added that Van Pelt’s experience with integration at Risklys from 2015 to 2017 provides an important foundation for his new role. Over an 18-month period at Risklys, Van Pelt helped execute some 30 integrations, which became known as the “heat of integration” at the firm.
That period of riskleagues “really highlighted the challenge that I think Milemarker is now solving,” he said. “This industry tries to integrate everything horizontally,” which means vendors provide data flows by trying to integrate with each other. What’s missing, he said, is “vertical integration,” which emphasizes integration between the layers of a firm’s own technology stack.
One of Van Pelt’s top objectives will be to grow the company, which includes hiring new technologists, sales and marketing personnel.
The firm targets some of the same customers that Invent.us, which also offers custom integration and data pooling, tries to serve. A year ago, Judd McRill suggested that the two companies might collaborate in the future, but that hasn’t happened yet, he said. Salesforce also provides wealth management firms with apps integration through its App Exchange.
Milemarker is profitable, McRill said, and will remain self-funded with no immediate plans to raise outside funding.
Van Pelt said he would apply two lessons he learned from his period as Onramp Invest board member: focusing on one specific problem at a time and building “incredible discussions.”
“OnRamp could have gone in different directions. I don’t think many people know it,” he said. “They could have gone in many directions, but they were really focused on serving advisors in the crypto space.”
Likewise, he said that Milemarker’s data warehousing and technical capabilities “could pull you in other directions.” Instead, the firm is focused on bringing its expertise to the wealth management industry.
While serving on board at Honramp, Van Pelt also saw the opportunities created by “inspiring people to care about something”. It’s a problem that needs to be solved.” In other words, generating enthusiasm at the right time is just as important, if not more, than creating enthusiasm.
“If we’re able to tell our story in a really powerful way, we’re going to be able to create a ton of momentum,” he said.
He declined to comment further on the recent leadership changes at Onramp, noting that his resignation from the startup’s board was related to his new leadership role.
“I am trying to limit my external commitments,” he said, adding that the details behind the leadership change at Onramp were best addressed by the remaining members of the firm.
The continued and rapid consolidation of the broker/dealer market represents an exceptional opportunity for Milemarker. According to McRill, each sale represents a potential technology consolidation opportunity as firms are not becoming more efficient or integrating, giving Milemarker an opportunity to overhaul archaic technical systems and workflows.
He stepped back from his leadership role because Van Pelt “can take the company ahead of me,” McRill said. “I’m Not Romantic About Being CEO. Neither Is Kyle” [Van Pelt], But we know we need the right leadership.”
McRill said he was more comfortable leading the companies than he was in construction companies. Judd and Kim McRill formed the marketing firm Mineral Interactive in 2015. It was acquired by Carson Group in 2018.
“It’s not that I don’t believe in myself or anything like that,” McRill said. “I want to see it done. I want Kyle [Van Pelt] And a whole team of the right people to make this thing as amazing as possible for our customers.”