Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Latest Startup

Yes, I've decided to start a new company. This one is called Position2, an online performance marketing company that utilizes search engine marketing and online ad networks to generate leads for clients. Why the move to a company like this? There are many reasons. I wanted a company that could be involved in the internet and search revolution, but could have revenue and profit early. Many companies provides cool features and functions, but amorphous benefits. I wanted to have a company where the benefit was crystal clear and completely measurable. Also, I wanted the flexibility to raise enough money to offer people a living wage, but not raise so much that we would have to overpromise and potentially not deliver. We have enough money for a couple years even if there is little improvement in sales - something that is highly unlikely.

Finally, I wanted to be involved in the Indian revolution. There are very few times in life where you can be part of a country's rapid advancement. India is on a 20 year race to prosperity. We can tap the fundamental economics to provide services to an underserved segment of the market - rapid growing companies - my favorite kind.

With Position2, mid-size growing businesses can get the kind of online marketing capabilities that only large companies can access. They get keyword generation, bid optimization, ad creative, landing page optimization and sales analytics that the larger firms provide but at an approachable price. Larger SEM agencies have high minimums to justify the cost of a US based team and the level of data customization necessary for Fortune 500 customers. In our case, we can work with firms that spend as little at $10k/month in search engine ad spend - sometimes less based on the underlying offering. Because the firms do not have a long decision cycle, we can move quickly and offer innovative pricing. Rather than the typical percentage of ad fee, we can do revenue share, bountys and even gross profit share. These types of deals are more fun to do, because all the incentives are aligned.

As a business junkie, I get to play with multiple business models and learn about a variety of industries while serving their underlying need - acquiring and tracking new customers. This makes the whole thing fun.

In putting this arrangement together, we have a number of super successful angels who have invested. We also have an Indian VC, Erasmic Ventures, who has been instrumental in getting our Indian operations off the ground and operational in a short amount of time. There's less of the typical reporting needs and more of the "roll up your sleeves" involvement.

In the US, we have a team of knowledge experts who have written books in the field and have deep experience in advertisign agencies. In India, we have a great deal of agency and on-line advertising experience. We have assembled this together with advanced tools and processes to provide results-driven customer acquisition.

One of the things I enjoy the most is the ability to construct real win-win deals. Everyone is incented and all of us benefit when we perform. We become invested in the clients business, enabling us to be as passionate about a client's product as they are.

There obviously will be a lot more.