Shazam's James Pearson departs for photo-sharing app Membit

Membit is an AR photo-sharing app that allows "pictures to be placed and viewed in the exact location they were captured."

(Image via Membit's Facebook page).
(Image via Membit's Facebook page).

NEW YORK: James Pearson stepped down from Shazam last Friday to join Membit, an early stage app combining photo-sharing and augmented reality technology.

Membit brought on Pearson as chief communications officer in an advisory capacity, a newly created position. He is overseeing two staffers and reporting to CEO Jay Van Buren. Membit has a headcount of 22.

Pearson said he will be involved in growing awareness for Membit in the venture capital community and the public at large. He will also develop PR strategy and work with the London and New York offices on business content deals with partners, such as major media outlets.

"It’s a big deal for us, because [Pearson] has seen a lot of apps come and go and is at a level where he can pretty much work with anyone he wants to," said Van Buren, via email. "The fact that he sees our vision and sees the potential of Membit really means something for us. We think Membit makes the world into a read-write medium."

Van Buren explained that the app launched on Thanksgiving but the company is in soft-launch mode, so it has not begun any "real promotion."

"We’ve not done any serious advertising, and we’re waiting to get some of our new partnerships to a point where we can talk about them, [as well as getting] a couple key features into the app, [such as] friending, branded channels, push notifications, and ‘Membit vision,’" he said.

Membit’s website describes the platform as a "geolocative photo-sharing app that allows pictures to be placed and viewed in the exact location they were captured" and touts its patented Human Positioning System.

"The best description I’ve heard of the company is, ‘It’s Pokémon Go for selfies,’" Pearson said.

Membit Demo Video from Membit on Vimeo.

Prior to joining Membit, Pearson served as VP of global comms at Shazam since August 2015.

In a letter to employees, Shazam CEO Rich Riley wished Pearson well and credited him with coordinating the company’s global press process and corporate launches, including Shazam for Brands. In a letter to employees, Riley said Pearson eliminated an annual PR retainer of $700,000-plus and downsized a team of 20 vendors to three internal staffers.

"We can confirm that James Pearson is no longer with the company, and we wish him all the best," a Shazam spokesperson said, via email.

Previously, Pearson was EVP of corporate comms at music-streaming site Grooveshark, which shut down in 2015 after settling a $17 billion lawsuit with major record companies.

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