Scott Ferber, Chairman and CEO of TidalTV is no rookie in online advertising. Scott founded Advertising.com in 1998, and sold it to AOL in 2004 for nearly half a billion dollars. Today, Scott’s passion for applying complex mathematics and statistical engineering to media and advertising continues at TidalTV, a video advertising, optimization, and yield management solutions provider designed to meet the demands and challenges of today’s branded advertiser.
TidalTV is aiding in Scott Ferber’s mission to help brands and publishers target the right ad, to the right person, at the right time, by guaranteeing delivery of a brand’s message across video platforms. This passion and mission has earned Scott numerous awards including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000, CEO of the Year by Blue Chip Venture Company, and the American Business Award’s “Stevie” for Best Executive in 2005.
TidalTV aims to help brands connect with the right person, at the right time. The company bio states that TidalTV’s proprietary technology leverages the power of data and mathematics. Can you explain in simple terms how this works?
Simply stated we use data from 3rd party providers to identify audiences (non-personally identifiable, of course) and real-time ad decisioning (the proprietary math and technology we have created) to ensure that we serve the right video ad to the right person in the right content at the right time. The result is improved efficiency and effectiveness of advertisers’ media dollars, and increased yield for publishers.
Many of our younger readers believe they must start their own company at the age of 24. Prior to being the CEO of Advertising.com, and later Chairman & CEO of TidalTV you held roles with Fortune 500 companies such as Proctor & Gamble. Can you explain the advantages to working for a Fortune 500 company before going out on your own?
Not to say that it is a must, I know plenty of people that started their own companies without working at a Fortune 500 company – Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Bill Gates of Microsoft are great examples. For me, large multi-national corporations serve as an excellent starting point for a career because you are exposed to the fundamentals for building and operating a successful business. They also enable you to meet a host of brilliant people with diverse skill-sets. These encounters help to build your human network, and very often resurface further down your career path.
TidalTV is a venture capital backed company. Can you give our readers looking for venture capital backing some advice on how to do so?
It is quite simple in concept, and much more difficult in practice. I have 4 key guidelines:
You need a great idea that serves an industry need, and you must be able to clearly articulate what you are trying to achieve to an audience that is not necessarily in the space you are endeavoring.
You need a clear path to profitability and a detailed plan for exactly how your investors’ money will be spent.
Transparency and honesty – Trust is critical to gaining the respect and confidence from an investor, and it starts with the very first interaction.
Over communicate – If you get support from an investor, don’t let the board meeting be the first time they are learning about an issue, shift in strategy, etc.
You are obviously a very accomplished entrepreneur, and CEO. Can you tell us about what you believe is your greatest accomplishment thus far?
I see a company’s greatest asset as their human capital. My ability to attract and keep some of the best minds in media is easily my greatest accomplishment. I have done this through building a culture entrenched with transparency, empowerment, and clarity into key goals and objectives.
Can you tell us a little about the experience of selling Advertising.com to AOL?
It was my brother’s and my first company so it really has influenced me in every aspect of how I run and manage TidalTV. Life changing sums it up best. Not just because of the monetary success it provided to investors and employees, but because of what it signified to all of us that contributed and sacrificed in order to build a great company. Personally, it was very fulfilling, I learned a lot about business and people. And make no mistake, the process of selling a company is very challenging, lots of ups and downs, and requires a great deal of commitment and endurance.
What do you believe makes TidalTV unique in the advertising industry?
We are solving an eco-system issue, which means it provides benefits for multiple constituents:
Advertisers: Our approach enables a lower cost to reach their target audience, resulting in increased efficiencies and better performance.
Agencies: They’re looking for deeper insights, analytics, overall accountability and simplicity. We provide them with tools designed to more effectively execute against their clients’ media strategies.
Publishers: We can extract more value from the same inventory via audience segmentation and yield management technologies.
Since the inception of TidalTV, we have been focused on applying math, science and technology that is scalable and agnostic. So I would have to say our vision to deliver a video (and beyond) advertising solution for a multi-screen world makes us unique.