lee-essner

Lee Essner

Chief Strategy Officer

Lee is an experienced executive, entrepreneur, and start-up advisor, with 30+ years of executive-level management and corporate transactional experience. He has established a reputation as a high performance and high integrity leader, who has successfully helped take three companies from their earliest stages of development to an eventual sale or liquidity event, including Jukin Media, WeddingChannel, and AccessDNA, where in each case he served as either a Founder or an early member of the management team.

Lee is currently Chief Strategy Officer of Trusted Media Brands, Inc. following its acquisition of Jukin Media, Inc. in August 2021, where he most recently served as Co-CEO (and a member of its Board of Directors) and where, over the course of 8 years, he helped build one of the largest media and entertainment networks and licensing companies in the world based on user-generated, social video, and viral video content. Lee joined Jukin Media in mid-2013 when the company had less than 20 employees, and helped grow the business significantly over that period, increasing revenue (and profitability) over 35x and growing the team to over 250 people, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, New Delhi, and Singapore, all while raising less than $6mm of investor capital.

Prior to joining Jukin Media, Lee served as (i) Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Idealab!, the startup incubator founded by Bill Gross; (ii) Founder and CEO of AccessDNA, which was acquired by Informed Medical Decisions in 2011 (prior to its acquisition by a group of Private Equity firms in 2019); and (iii) as an early employee and senior executive at Wedding Channel, which was acquired by The Knot, Inc. in 2006 (prior to its acquisition by WeddingWire and a group of Private Equity firms in 2018). Lee began his career as Corporate Attorney focused on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, spending the bulk of his 7.5 years at Sadden Arps, one of the largest corporate law firms in the world.