Digital 40 Over 40 2017: James Cooper, Head of Creative, betaworks

James Cooper
James Cooper 
Head of Creative, betaworks

You may not have heard of betaworks, but you know the companies it’s helped create: Dots, producer of the addictive mobile game of the same name, or Giphy, the searchable database of GIFs that helps punctuate many an email or tweet.

It turns out one of the guys behind these products is advertising veteran James Cooper. Cooper is a multi-award-winning creative who has brought his talents to product development.

Betaworks was founded in 2008 as a startup studio that bills itself as "a company that builds essential products." In addition to Dots and Giphy, some past greatest hits include, the URL shortener, and Poncho, a weather bot. It was also an early investor in Tumblr; the company’s $50,000 check provided a 125-fold return.

Cooper joined betaworks in 2013 after holding creative director positions at Ogilvy London, Anomaly New York and JWT New York, among other top agencies. A few years ago, Cooper had a yen to leave advertising and try product development. While the road has been a bit bumpy, Cooper has focused his energies on creating products that people will genuinely love. So he’s happy to see that Dots, Giphy and Poncho give consumers joy. That thread runs throughout Cooper’s work, including a Band-Aid app aimed at kids that brought the Muppet characters to life.

Cooper’s other passion is table tennis. He created a print magazine called "Celebrity Ping Pong" in which he interviewed celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Judah Friedlander during a game. Cooper also launched a ping pong fashion brand called Thompson Punke in 2012, and is ranked in the U.S. at table tennis.

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