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Klout Founder Joe Fernandez Steps Down

Fernandez will join Lithium's board as part of the transition.


Klout co-founder and CEO Joe Fernandez has stepped down from his role leading the social media influence startup that’s now owned by Lithium Technologies.

Fernandez is off to pursue other startup ideas, according to a Lithium spokesperson, who confirmed that Fernandez had his last day earlier this week.

Klout will still exist as a standalone service, but the technology has also been fully integrated into Lithium’s social and customer service software. Klout’s employees have also been dispersed and now work within existing Lithium teams.

Fernandez stepping away from Klout comes a little more than a year after Lithium first announced it had acquired the company. The deal, an all-stock arrangement, was valued at $164 million at the time of the acquisition, according to a source. It was also during that time that Klout was trying to shake off the public perception that its algorithm, which ranks how influential someone is on social media, was nothing more than a vanity.

Lithium obviously found it to be valuable, in part because the company’s customer service software works better if brands know who their most influential users are on social media. Lithium helps brands build social communities on their own websites, and some brands have even recruited social media “superfans” to help them handle customer service requests online.

In this vein, Klout’s algorithm intended to identify influential users and its award program which lets brands offer gifts to these people in hopes of free advertising, fit nicely into Lithium’s business.

As part of the transition, Fernandez will join Lithium’s board of directors, replacing former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Chi-hua Chien who joined the board when Klout was acquired last March.

Additional reporting by Carmel DeAmicis.

This article originally appeared on

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