A Quick Chat with…Co-Founder Doug Hurd

Doug Hurd

Doug is the co-founder and VP of Business development at clypd and leads the organization’s growth by building long-term strategic partnerships. Doug leads by example with extensive experience striking deals with customers and partners that help fuel the company’s growth. Previously Doug was Director of Business Development at PayPal Mobile where he was responsible for executing strategic partnerships to accelerate PayPal’s off-line mobile payment initiative by expanding the penetration of PayPal’s mobile products across devices, platforms and POS solutions.

We let our Norwegian Intern for the summer, Vegard Sunde, ask him some questions about clypd, previous experience and challenges developing the clypd platform.

1)      How did you come up with the idea of making a marketplace for addressable television?

Advertising is in our DNA and the idea came when we asked ourselves how we could leverage this DNA and apply it to an entirely new space with a much larger market opportunity. We saw the opportunity in TV.  From a technology perspective the challenge was not necessarily what needs to be built, but the greater challenge was finding the right supply partners to build the solution for.

2)      How do you use your experience from the mobile world when doing this in the television world?

At Where, Inc. we built a similar solution for mobile. To do so, we leveraged everything we knew from on-line, and then invented new technology when we could not replicate what already existed. For example, cookies do not exist in mobile, but things like geofencing and location based targeting did, so we leveraged those technologies to make an advertising marketplace work for mobile. Today we are leveraging advertising technology that we know works well on-line and in mobile, applying them to TV, and then inventining new technologies that we can’t replicate from on-line and mobile.

3)      What do you think the biggest opportunities are?

Well, lots of people have told us that what we are chasing is an uncapped market – meaning the upside is limitless. If things really take off, the market potential is massive. We have seen companies that have done similar things in the online space, and there is tremendous traction with video advertising right now. Tremor recently went public, YuMe is about to the the same, Videology is positioning to go public, and just this week Adap.TV had a massive exit to AOL.

4)      What do you consider the biggest challenges?

The market opportunity in TV is huge, but there is intense complexity that comes along with it that we embrace because it creates barriers to entry. Unlike the online world, television isn’t very defined and straight forward from an advertising technology standpoint. There are far fewer standards and the integrations take longer and are much more difficult. From a technical point of view, we are developing an expertise in different types of integrations, and we have a talented team to do just that. In order to get to the integration, we also need to secure the supply side. This is a huge challenge – you can’t strike deals with companies like Comcast, DirectTV, or Time Warner overnight. The sales cycles are very long and create a huge business development challenge that cannot be taken lightly.

5)      For other entrepreneurs starting an advertising technology company, what is the most important piece of advice you can give them as they build out their company?

I guess my advice if you are looking into the ad tech space; be careful to what problem in the ecosystem you are trying to solve –  try to find a spot in the ecosystem that solves a real problem that is not already being done by 10 other companies. It is an incredibly crowded (and incestuous) market so identify the right problem to solve and then build the best solution you can with the absolute best team you can create – it’s going to take the absolute best to emerge from the crowded space. We feel very comfortable we’ve landed in a good place as the marketplace for TV.  We are connecting digital demand dollars with premium supply from TV. As the neutral platform in the middle we create value for both sides providing the gateway to two worlds that have not been able to work together – until now.

6)      Other companies have tried (most unsuccessfully) to do for television what clypd is doing now. Why do you believe that clypd can succeed?

Probably the biggest reason is the team. We put together one helluva team that has proven that they can execute. We launched our product way ahead of schedule, we did it in less than three months, and we did it with more features than we originally planned. We are now live with a major TV provider with many millions of subscribers.  On the sales and business development side, we have incredible folks working for us in Boston and New York and we have a talented group of advisors with tremendous backgrounds that has helped us with introductions and advice every step of the way. The second reason is market timing. It is incredibly difficult to time the market – a lot of companies with a lot of smart people have failed in the past mostly because the timing was not quite right. Based on the traction we’ve seen so far, we believe we are just lucky enough to have timed things perfectly.  Now we need to capitalize on that and execute flawlessly.

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