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Andrew Breen

Andrew Breen

Joined Stern 2014

Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Tisch Hall
40 West Fourth Street, 900
New York, NY 10012

E-mail abreen@stern.nyu.edu

Biography

Andrew Breen is the principal of Assert Digital Ventures where he acquires & invests in small, cash flow positive digital businesses with growth potential. Using his years of digital product experience, Andrew has grown ADV’s acquisitions significantly to date. In addition, Andrew advises leading companies from startups, investors to Fortune 1000 companies on digital products and transformation. Known for his deep knowledge of the Lean framework, Andrew has significantly restructured the digital products, processes and culture of a range of companies. He is also a professor at both NYU’s Stern School of Business as well as Courant Institute (Computer Science).

He was most recently SVP of Digital for Argo Group (NYSE: ARGO), a multi-billion dollar commercial underwriter where he led the company’s transition to a digital business and oversaw Argo Ventures, their early stage investment fund. His teams leveraged machine learning toward the goal of becoming the fastest and smartest risk assessor. The digital squads implemented a user-centric, hypothesis-driven, iterative test and learn approach on products that amplified Argo’s businesses from zero digital revenue to over $500 million in under three years. The venture fund invested in 10 FinTech startups.

Andrew has 25 years experience developing and growing products and services for companies of all sizes in the mobile, enterprise, e-commerce, finance, media and education sectors. His repeated success as an entrepreneur, technologist, product owner, investor and business development leader is the result of a unique combination of deep technical knowledge, broad interdisciplinary skills, team leadership, and negotiation capabilities.

Formerly, as VP of Product in American Express’s Enterprise Digital business unit, he led a cross functional digital team creating and delivering next generation digital products focused on new customer experiences. His teams built natural language (NLU) AI messaging and predictive algorithmic solutions across mobile and web properties to driving loyalty and satisfaction as well as a 5% increase in top-line revenue.

In 2014, Andrew was appointed as adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business to develop and teach a graduate level course in technology product management and innovation. Based on his methodology for building digital products and transforming organizations of any size, students learn how to leverage small teams to iteratively build technology products that deliver outcomes for their users. The course is now a core class for Stern’s Tech MBA launched in 2018. In 2019, Andrew was also appointed as adjunct professor at NYU’s Courant Institute teaching a graduate computer science course showing technologists how to use Lean experimentation to turn inventions into businesses.

Previously, Andrew built and grew several tech startups through successful launch, expansion and exits including ThinAirApps (sold to Palm), Interactive Imaginations (sold to form 24/7 Media), EarthWeb (sold to become Internet.com), and Medialets (sold to WPP). As Director of Palm’s Services Product Group, he led the formation and strategic direction of Palm’s wireless data services business. In 2007, he was the lead industry advisor to Harbinger Capital on their $100m investment in Openwave where he engaged the Board and management to reduce product lines, sell non-core businesses, restructure costs, and return over $200m to shareholders. Over his career, he’s been an advisor to Northwestern Mutual, Skype, Credit Suisse and multiple tech startups and investment funds.

Andrew is a regular speaker at technology industry conferences on product development, innovation and organizational design. He is co-author of the 2017 book, Strategy and Communication for Innovation (Springer) addressing the organizational and cultural issues around realizing innovation at scale. In 2020, the next volume in the Springer series includes his chapter on the criticality of vision setting in modern, digital organizations.

Andrew has a dual Information and Decision Systems (concentration in computer science) and Industrial Management (business) degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Research Interests

  • technology
  • product management
  • digital growth & distribution

Courses Taught

  • Technology Product Management

Academic Background

BS, Information & Decision Systems and Business
Carnegie-Mellon University

Areas of Expertise

Marketing

  • New Product Development
  • Product Design & Strategy
  • Product Design & Strategy