Klout’s new COO hire and the state of the tech industry

When it comes to startups, the next six months are “make it or break it time,” one influential tech investor told me on Friday at the Aspen Ideas Festival. His view:  “We’ve been in an upswing with lots of innovation, and now we’ll see companies either make it or go under.”

It’s a sentiment I’ve been hearing a lot recently, and you can see its effects playing out as various buzzed-about startups try to position themselves for the leap to the next level. On Monday, Klout is announcing what it hopes will be a power move: It has hired its first COO, former Tellme executive and White House fellow Emil Michael.

"There’s a class of startups growing into real companies really quickly that need this senior help," Klout founder Joe Fernandez told me. 

Launched four years ago in an office right below Twitter’s, Klout now has 70 employees and new digs to accommodate its growing staff. Its next challenge: Turn its social networking “influence measurement” service from a controversial novelty into a profitable business.

"That’s what Emil brings to the table," Fernandez says of his new hire. -Laurie