Welcome
Business & Practice

Noom Nabs Former Kickstarter Legal Chief as General Counsel (1)

Nov. 30, 2020, 9:51 PM; Updated: Dec. 1, 2020, 4:08 PM

Noom Inc., a digital health and weight loss platform, announced Monday its addition of three executives, including former Kickstarter PBC general counsel Michal Rosenn, who will serve as its top lawyer.

Rosenn, who also handled government affairs and public policy work at Kickstarter, is joined at Noom by Michael Noonan and Emma Frane, each of whom were hired by the New York-based company as chief financial officer and vice president of communications, respectively.

“Millions of users are discovering Noom’s groundbreaking platform that helps them make healthier choices for a healthier lifestyle,” Rosen said a statement touting her hire. “I am delighted to be part of this exceptional company and to advance the legal and public policy framework that underlies our mission.”

Rosenn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about her new role at privately held Noom, which has grown increasingly popular among those looking to avoid weight gain while coping with coronavirus lockdown orders.

The Harvard Law School graduate and former litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison spent the past three years as general counsel for Expa LLC, a startup studio for entrepreneurs founded by Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Garrett Camp.

Prior to joining Expa in 2017, Rosenn spent five years in-house at Kickstarter, where she was promoted to general counsel in 2015, the same year the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company became a public benefit corporation.

The crowdfunding platform, which has helped startups like Brooklinen Inc. and Peloton Interactive Inc. get off the ground, is on its third legal chief this year.

Kickstarter GC Shuffle

Kickstarter currently has a job posting on its website for its general counsel position.

In May, Kickstarter hired Nicole Benincasa, a former senior counsel for global safety at Uber, to succeed Christopher Mitchell as its top in-house lawyer.

Benincasa left Kickstarter in October, according to her LinkedIn profile, and was replaced as acting general counsel by Jaclyn VanderMeer.

VanderMeer is a former senior product counsel at SoftBank Group Corp.-backed real estate brokerage Urban Compass Inc. who has also worked as a legal and compliance manager at FitBit Inc. She joined Kickstarter in September as senior counsel for product, privacy, and commercial before becoming interim legal chief.

Neither VanderMeer, Benincasa, nor Mitchell responded to requests for comment. A Kickstarter spokeswoman confirmed Benincasa’s departure and VanderMeer’s new role but declined to discuss the legal leadership switch.

Earlier this year, Kickstarter became the first technology company to see its white-collar workers unionize when they voted to join the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

Richard Lanigan, a New York labor lawyer serving as president of the OPEIU, didn’t respond to a request for comment about Kickstarter’s general counsel changes or the outside law firm retained by the company to advise on the unionization process.

An OPEIU spokeswoman told Bloomberg Law the New York-based labor union didn’t have any information to add about Kickstarter’s legal management changes but confirmed its negotiating its first collective bargaining agreement with the company.

Weight Loss Battles

Rosenn joins a company grappling with a $100 million proposed class action case that alleges Noom duped customers into buying auto-renewal subscriptions for its weight loss programs.

Noom, represented by lawyers from Cooley, filed a motion to dismiss the class action claims in September, calling them a “far-fetched narrative of deceit” that relied upon “hyperbole and conjecture.”

Noom operates a smartphone application that uses artificial intelligence and human coaches to help users shed weight and stay healthy, according to Bloomberg News. That report noted the company has received financial backing from venture capital firms, tennis superstar Serena Williams, and WhatsApp Inc. co-founder Jan Koum.

Rosenn is Noom’s first general counsel since Sonwha Lee served in the role from 2015 to 2016. Lee, now an associate general counsel at Flexi-Van Leasing LLC, was one of several executives hired over the years by Noom, which was co-founded in 2006 by current CEO Saeju Jeong.

Jeong, who grew up in South Korea, has watched Noom raise nearly $115 million from investors as the health and fitness app seeks to expand its operations.

Noom, formerly known as WorkSmart Labs Inc., last year dropped false advertising claims against rival WW International Inc., which owns the Weight Watchers brand.

Weight Watchers and other weight loss specialists like GOLO LLC—a Newark, Del.-based health and wellness company behind the “Go Lose Weight, Go Look Great, Go Love Life” television advertisements—have also hired in-house legal talent this year.

GOLO hired former Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath intellectual property partner Keith Walter Jr. as general counsel in April, while New York-based Weight Watchers recruited David Sclar in August to be its health care compliance and privacy officer. Sclar was most recently chief privacy officer and vice president of business affairs and legal at Rally Health Inc., a digital health unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc.

(Clarifies Kickstarter's legal transition in second snapshot line and 11th paragraph. This story was originally published Nov. 30. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

To read more articles log in.