Extended-form Case Study

Revolutionising display advertising at Whichit: lessons from a start-up

Published on February 28, 2017   22 min

Other Talks in the Series: Hot Topics

Hello, everybody, my name is Jonathan and I'm the Founder and CEO of Whichit. I will try in the next 15 minutes to share with you my point of view as entrepreneur in the start-up world, how we started, where we're going to, and a bit of experience along the way.
A bit about myself. Originally, I'm from Israel, start-up nation, former I was a Project Manager at IBM and Israeli Air Force. I have a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Management Engineering and MBA from Tel Aviv University and UCLA.
I'm not with myself, I have a great team backing me and working together. The dream team, this is how we like to call ourselves, and it's actually a dream team because in the end of the presentation, I will give you three tips from my side for entrepreneurs, and one of them is the most important is the team. Together with me there is Yarden, he is the CTO, basically, this guy know how to code everything, it is very important in start-ups, especially tech, that 50% of the entrepreneurs side will be techie, and Yarden has filled this point. Angela from Manchester, UK, she is our Head of Sales, and Galit Gan, who is also my wife, she's the Creative Director.
So what is Whichit? Whichit is directive content platform for publishers and for marketers to do three simple things. First of all, generate more engagement rate, second, open a new revenue stream, and third, gain actionable insight. Users, once they engage with Whichit, which are quiz, polls, trivia, etcetera, doing it will generate phenomenal engagement rate. We're talking about 20%, 40%, 90% engagement. Once they engage with the content, they getting engage card, the Whichit engage card. In high level, the Whichit engage card divided to two main parts. First of all and the most important is the user feedback. Well done, 5% agree with you, you are opinion leader, 90% agree with you, you are part of the crowd, that's amazing, etcetera, etcetera. It's very important the user recognition in the social media, this is why Instagram is Instagram, Snapchat is Snapchat, etcetera. The second part of the engagement, this is the most important, this where the power of Whichit, the engage card delivered to the end user, a commercial offer bespoke based on what he or she chose.
In the background, this is a machine learning, that profiles users in real time based on their preferences. Basically, what we're doing, as a result that user giving their preferences, we are building profiles of preferences without knowing who are they, which means we are not using cookies, we don't know the actual person, we don't know his name, we don't know his gender, we don't know his age group, etcetera, but we do know his preferences, and this is what the most important, and this is also where is the innovate of Whichit. We are not using the basic tools of the marketing, or the advertising approach, we are acting a different approach, which means we are not looking on their users, but we are looking at their shadows, the shadow of their preferences.
So how it's all started? Obviously, from Israel around three years ago, end of 2013, I started myself, I sat at home and I started to build all the plans and I want to do this, and I want to do that, and I as entrepreneur, that's very enthusiasm with this idea, I start to built everything by myself to see that it's valid or not valid, to make sure that my idea is going to be something big in the future and I'm not going to spend my time for nothing. And I have used my friends, and I used my friends of my friends, and I used my network, and my contact in my family, everyone that knew something about something, I went there and asked them, get their feedback and what they think. Friends from the army, and friends from school, and friends of friends helped me to build the MVP and the website, and my wife's friend was the model for the website. Everything like MacGyver, doing everything by yourself, everything with the mishmash, not using any traditional tools, trying to spend as less money as you can, and this is how I built the MVP, the minimum value product and the concept. And I had something, that I was able to go to my investors or previous investors and also to the audience to get their feedback, show them some kind of a product that is working and see what they think.
In the beginning of 2014, we won the Sirius program by the UKTI. This program gave us the entry to one of the biggest market worldwide, which is the UK, obviously, by now we understood what is Whichit and you can understand that UK is a good entrance to Europe and market by itself. This program gave us the visa, it gave us a grant, gave us an office in London for one year and also Accelerator Academy, which is one of the top five accelerators in the UK. Basically, this program was acceleration to take Whichit, a start-up from just idea and just MVP putting it in the middle of one of the biggest market. Our target market which is publishers, which is advertisers, marketers and give us the boost in the beginning.

Revolutionising display advertising at Whichit: lessons from a start-up

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