Atomic Playpen Founders Part Ways; Venjohn Stays CEO

Troy Venjohn, who will now serve as Atomic Playpen’s sole CEO, said co-founder Michael Kretsinger left to pursue “a number of potential opportunities” outside of the agency. Kretsinger, meanwhile, declined to disclose his reason for leaving or future plans.

Growing Minneapolis-based digital agency Atomic Playpen no longer has co-CEOs.

Troy Venjohn told Twin Cities Business on Monday that Atomic Playpen’s owners and investors bought out the shares of Michael Kretsinger, with whom Venjohn founded the company 13 years ago.

Venjohn, the agency’s majority shareholder, declined to name the other members of the investor group or the price paid to purchase Kretsinger’s stake.

Kretsinger, reached by phone on Tuesday, confirmed his departure from Atomic Playpen and said that he is not currently employed. He declined to disclose any information regarding his exit, deferring all questions to Venjohn.

Venjohn, who now serves as the company’s sole CEO and managing partner, told Twin Cities Business that Kretsinger is “pursuing a number of potential opportunities” outside of Atomic Playpen but declined to elaborate on Kretsinger’s future plans or reasons for leaving.

Atomic Playpen said in a press release that its leadership restructuring coincides with a shift toward solving enterprise-level business challenges. Rather than focusing solely on a company’s website design, for example, the agency aims to work with senior-level executives to identify larger revenue opportunities and companywide initiatives and integrate digital initiatives to help meet those goals.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to drive revenue for corporations with the vision to embrace technology,” Venjohn said in a statement. “To accomplish this, their agency partner must understand not only how to build brands and websites, but also be able to advise on the enterprise tools and strategies that can act as a multiplier to a marketing budget. We are uniquely positioned to service these needs.”

Atomic Playpen currently has about 35 employees, and the company said that it is “in the process of building and shifting its sales team to service clients more effectively.”

Venjohn told Twin Cities Business that August marked the company’s “best month in our 13-year history.” The agency added three employees this week and plans to add another six during the next several months, he added. It is also on track to grow annual revenue by roughly 20 percent to reach $5.5 million this year.

“There is a great interest right now in agencies that understand their clients’ brands and business objectives but also know how to engage customers using the data and the latest digital marketing tools,” he said.

The agency’s clients include Pentair, Best Buy, Polaris, General Mills, the Mayo Clinic, and many others, according to its website. Atomic Playpen is among Minnesota’s 20 largest Web development and design firms based on revenue from Web projects.